What is Lifestyle Photography?
Lifestyle Photography. It’s a term that gets tossed around by photographers a lot. But what is lifestyle photography?
All too often, I find that clients know what they are looking for but they don’t always understand the various genres of photography. Understanding what a photographer means when they use industry lingo to describe themselves can help you as a client to find the photographer that is right for you. After all, just like not everyone shops at Rachel Pally for maternity dresses, not everyone is going opt for lifestyle photography. So to help you out, I thought I would list some of the terms photographers often use with a brief description about how the term is used within the photography community. Keep in mind, these are my definitions and they may vary from person to person, but overall, these are the terms I see used often when photographers present themselves.
Traditional posed photography: This is what your mom wanted from Olan Mills. Everyone is precisely posed with straight and tall backs, chins are tilted just so, hands rest on shoulders of the family member in front of you and everyone is certainly looking at the camera with a (often stiff) smile. Think your church directory.
Photojournalism: This is another long standing genre of photography. With photojournalism, the photography does not effect the scene in front of them at all – they are the documentarian. This is the style of photography seen in newspapers. Due to the prevalence of newspapers in traditional print media, people often associate photojournalism with black and white images but photos can be full color as well.
Naturally posed photography: With the shift to more casual trends in life over all emerges the “natural” posing. This is somewhat of an oxymoron since scenes are still carefully orchestrated but the photographer but instead of the traditional stiff photography, the photographer guides you into set ups that feel more organic and casual. Often these galleries will be a mix of everyone looking at the camera and subjects interacting with each other. Think your modern holiday card photo session.
Lifestyle photography: Taking from the world of photojournalism and mixing touches of naturally posed photography comes lifestyle photography. In lifestyle photography the goal is to capture natural and organic moments but unlike photojournalism, subjects are guided and given direction. Often a predetermined activity in an area prearranged is captured in a natural way. The session may be styled and elements in the frame are well thought out, positioning of the subject in relation to each other and the light source are controlled but interactions between subjects is organic and often unscripted. Subtle guidance is offered from the photographer, such as “can you tickle the baby?” or “how about a kiss for mommy?”
Knowing the type of photography you are looking for will aid you greatly in getting what you are wanting out of your portrait session. Obviously a strong photographers will take elements from each of the styles above and create there own perfect mix but most will identify themselves primarily with one style or another. As you may have noticed, I identify myself as a lifestyle photographer. While I do incorporate naturally posed photographs as well, my heart sings when I am able to capture the moments that make up your day to day life, like the way you rock your baby to sleep at nap time or the joy on your child’s face when your husband or you return home from work. Those are my favorite – they are the ones that you want to remember forever – not the forced smiles with gritted teeth that you can almost hear mom threatening everyone to smile. Nope, none of that here. All love & laughter, hugs & cuddles – real moments, real memories…