What Is Lifestyle Photography?

What Is Lifestyle Photography?

Photography trends pop in and out of the spotlight often, but lately there’s a style of photography that’s been on everyone’s radar: lifestyle photography. So, what exactly is lifestyle photography?

Not to be confused with photojournalism or portrait photography, lifestyle photography features individuals and families with the intention to capture real-life events or milestones in an artistic way.

The best type of lifestyle photography is a planned version of candid (“plandid,” if you will). You want to capture the art of the everyday in someone’s life, but you still want it to be visually appealing.

Here’s everything you need to know for a successful lifestyle photography shoot:

lifestyle photography definition

1. It’s unscripted, but you should still have a plan.

Lifestyle photography truly is a delicate balance between having an exact script and no plan at all. It’s not a staged shoot, but you should get to know the family that you’re photographing. What are their likes and dislikes? What does an average weekend day look like? Do they hang out at home, or do they spend their afternoon at their local coffee shop? Ask about the personalities of the children: are they shy and reserved, or rambunctious and outgoing?

Hopefully, their answers will give you a sense of locations for a shoot. The more comfortable your subjects are, the more natural your photo shoot will be. Again, it should feel like their real life is being captured on film!

understanding lifestyle photography

2. Direct, just a little bit.

Ideally, your subjects immediately forget that you have a camera in your hand so you can shoot with abandon. However, most families may feel awkward at first so they may need a bit more direction than just, “be yourself!”

If you’re photographing a family, try asking the little ones to show you their favorite toys. For parents or adults, try asking some questions about their interests (which, of course, you already learned pre-shoot!), or suggest putting on some music.

exploring lifestyle photography

3. Embrace what you are given.

Maybe there’s spilled juice on the kitchen counter. Maybe one kid won’t stop running up and down the stairs. Maybe one parent can barely muster any energy before the morning coffee kicks in. Embrace the mess, because those moments are what make it real. Your session shouldn’t look like it belongs in a perfectly manicured, staged open house.

lifestyle photography explained

4. Never put your camera down.

I mean, never. Every single moment is one worthy to be captured during a lifestyle shoot. Asking your subject to repeat what they just did is going to look staged and unnatural – the opposite of lifestyle photography. Aim to capture the moments before and after what you think is going to happen.

Also, if you’re constantly shooting, you have the time to continually change your perspective. By doing that, you can capture something really unexpected.

overview of lifestyle photography

5. Bring the right equipment.

For a lifestyle shoot, you may be in multiple locations, or at least different areas of the house, so it’s likely that you’ll run into different lighting scenarios. Because of this, I recommend a lens that will allow you go wide or zoom in, like a 24-70mm. If you have a second camera, you can bring that and use a 35mm lens – perfect for those fast, wide shots.

Have any other tips for great lifestyle photography? Let us know in the comments!