Lifestyle photography is a term that gets thrown around a lot. There have been a lot of interpretations for the genre, so therefore it seems that there is an over abundant amount of photographers that claim their work as within the lifestyle realm. Which I think is fantastic. To me, lifestyle photography is similar to a photojournalism approach where the picture taker is trying to get the whole story with one shot in very realistic terms. In other words, keeping it very real. No poses. No fake smiles. And sometimes the subjects aren't even looking at the camera. Whoa-gasp! But it is all in fun and it should be effortless.
Lifestyle photography is a piece of art. It is a treasure for future generations as they get a glimpse of the real past. Many times it shows the real emotion behind a moment and it sets the scene for future realizations about family and friends. So today, if you haven't figured it out already, we're going to talk about lifestyle photography. I want to give you some tips so that you can go out and capture real moments. I promise you, it is fun, easy, and will forever touch a piece of your soul. Getting to know someone through the camera lens is a genuine privilege, but then being able to give away the art- a true treasure.
1. Focus on the Subject.
When you focus on the subject on hand first in a picture then all else will come naturally. Look for the best lighting possible, and observe the activities that are going on around you. If you are taking pictures of dancers what feature is moving the most? What small moments touch your heart? Do you sigh at hand holding or clapping? Do you linger over footsteps moving in soft carpeting? Focus on the concentration it takes to remember steps, or the lightheartedness of being completely free to dance any way the subject wants. Just focus on the subject and you'll be off to a good start.
2. Don't set up the shot.
I know. It goes against everything you have learned about taking pictures of other people, but lifestyle photography is all about capturing a moment in real time. Pictures that are posed are fantastic, but they don't belong in this realm of photography. Let things happen naturally and be there to make sure you get the best possible capture of emotion.
3. Remember the details.
Capturing the details is essential. Make sure to focus on the head that is turned away in hesitation because of fear. Or little fingers grasping something with excitement. Capture the round belly snuggled in pajamas or highlight the fullness of a toddlers cheeks, toes, or fingers. Details make the picture pop. And not every picture needs a smile.
4. Don't Tidy up the scene.
Document things as they are. The angry bird in the corner of the couch- leave it. The canister of playdoh left on the kitchen table half drying- don't even think of touching it. Simply take a picture of what you see. Get a sense of the whole picture without interfering. Also, a good rule of thumb is to back it up. Get the whole scene and don't always focus tight on the face or portrait.
5. Take your time.
It is hard to set up a time limit with lifestyle photography. You don't live with your client or subject, so to really get a sense of who they are you must take your time. And let your client know that this kind of photography can take a couple hours up to even an entire day. To keep lifestyle photography authentic you must let pictures unfurl as they may.
Lifestyle photography is all about them. It is all about the subject you are capturing and it has nothing to do with you. As a real moment professional or picture taker your job is to only observe and enjoy the real moments occurring in their hearts. For it is their story you are trying to capture. It is their cherished every day activities and it is their history, love, and family dynamic that they get to recognize through your art that is the real treasure. It makes lifestyle photography truly priceless.
Have fun capturing those real moments!
Alita- of Alita Jewel's Treasures