This beautiful family was able to take a last minute opening that I had available, and I am so glad they did. We had so much fun running and playing in the leaves.
I thought I might take the opportunity to talk about exactly what it means to shoot lifestyle photography, which is what I consider most of my sessions. To understand lifestyle photography, it helps to understand a few other types of photography.
One type of photography is classic posed portraiture. These are what you think of when you think of a photographer telling you exactly where to stand, how to hold your chin, elbow, etc. While I believe there is a time and a place for specific posing, this is not the type of photography that inspires me. I do, however, try to capture at least a few of these shots throughout a session.
Another type of photography (one that does inspire me), is documentary photography. In documentary, the photographer doesn’t give guidance at all, but is merely a fly on the wall capturing what happens as it unfolds. I LOVE documentary. I love to capture real life moments and emotions. My birth sessions are documentary, as you can imagine. In that setting, I am dictating nothing, but just capturing the story that is happening in front of me.
The problem with using a PURE documentary approach for family sessions is that if I tried to be a fly on the wall and just capture what was happening, it’s likely, at least at first, that your family would stand around awkwardly, not sure what to do with themselves. Probably after enough time passed, they’d forget about me and start going about life, but unless something particularly engaging were happening it may take hours and hours to get a full gallery of images that showed a variety of things.
So that brings us to lifestyle photography. Lifestyle photography, for me anyway, is a balance between posed and documentary. My goal at lifestyle sessions is to capture images as I would at a documentary session, but to hurry things along a bit, and if possible, make them happen in pretty light. Instead of being a fly on the wall and waiting on your children to play, I’ll suggest they race (on the pretty bridge), play in the leaves, play ring around the roses, or play Simon Says with me. These are things they might do naturally, but probably not in the span of an hour long photo session unless I asked them to.
I want to capture real emotion, but instead of waiting on it to happen organically, I might whisper to your kids to go give you a big hug. I don’t believe that the fact that I asked for it, makes the emotions any less real. It’s a combination of posed and documentary because sometimes I tell you just what to do, sometimes I just suggest an activity and sit back and wait for a moment to happen, and sometimes I act like a documentary photographer and hang back and capture moments that I notice have happened organically without any interference from me.
This is the combination I find that works best for me at my family sessions, and I think it helps clients to feel more relaxed and natural as well. As my friend Emily said recently, “my favorites are the posed candids.”What exactly is Lifestyle Photography?This is the combination I find that works best for me at my family sessions, and I think it helps clients to feel more relaxed and natural as well. As my friend Emily said recently, “my favorites are the posed candids.”