Before digital cameras, only photojournalists captured candid, ordinary scenes for news reporting. Ordinary people had their pictures taken while awkwardly posing in their Sunday best.
Sounds grim. Lifestyle photography emerged with digital film, and people can finally document their lives and stories for future generations. Are you an aspiring lifestyle or hobby photographer? Check out these nine tips for lifestyle photography.
Lifestyle photography differs from other types of photography?
Lifestyle photography is about capturing real people, events, and situations candidly and uniquely. As the story unfolds, it tells and captures the moments as they happen.
Lifestyle photographers often focus on family portraits. Their goal is to capture images that show what life looks like and where people reveal themselves at their best. However, this comes with its challenges. Your subjects are not models but ordinary people who may feel uncomfortable in front of the camera. Excellent lifestyle photography is about making your subjects comfortable, directing them a little to get charming shots, and constantly monitoring their surroundings. If you want to improve your skills, read our nine tips below.
If you’re a beginner, you can learn everything you need to know with Lifestyle Photography 101.
Photographing lifestyles: 9 tips
You might catch a moving or captivating image at the right moment.
How can you always get the best fake images?
Check out the following valuable tips to improve your lifestyle photography.
- Include the environment
We often think of portraits in lifestyle photography, but the setting is just as crucial in providing the whole story. Take some pictures of your work environment to give context to your photography.
These images will add depth to your storytelling and create more visually attractive photos. Your viewers will appreciate the bigger picture, so be bold about taking the wide angles!
- Capture from multiple angles.
When you let your models walk free, things can happen quickly, so the temptation to shoot without blinking and moving a muscle will be vital. You must resist!
Keep moving and exploring angles to find unique and powerful images. However, please avoid unnatural high or low arches, which can make your photos feel biased or emotionally charged. Walk around and shoot from eye level to look for the best angles. Be aware of the background and how the light interacts with your scene.
- Shoot, then keep shooting.
Always have your camera ready because you never know when a magical moment might happen. Don’t wait until the adorable toddler beams at Grandma! Have your finger hovering over the shutter release when they first start interacting and don’t be afraid to capture the before and after moments as well. You develop a sixth sense of memorable moments by constantly being aware of the unfolding scene. Practice and keep going; you’ll be a pro in no time.
- Aim, but don’t pose.
People, incredibly inexperienced in front of the camera may feel awkward or uncomfortable during a lifestyle shoot.
Direct but do not pose the subjects by encouraging them to try fun activities and giving them time to act naturally. If they are self-aware, it will show in the photos. Be friendly, empathetic, and direct; your photos will be better.
- Embrace authenticity
Authenticity is at the heart of lifestyle photography – so don’t cry over figurative (or literal) spilled milk. The loose sock on the floor or the grumpy and tired moments can create the most cherished memories – or they help make the perfect photos shine even more!
Let go of your OCD and embrace authenticity. Keep shooting now and review later; you might find hidden gems you wouldn’t have thought to catch.
- Bring the right equipment.
The right equipment can make your work much more manageable.
A DSLR or mirrorless are excellent choices because they allow you to quickly change lenses and offer the manual controls needed to adjust exposure on the fly. It would be best if you had versatile lenses for different shots, so bringing an 85mm telephoto lens for flattering portraits, a regular 50mm prime lens for an authentic Look, and a zoom lens for everything else would be an excellent place to start.
Develop your signature style and work with your preferences from there for optimal results.
- Focus on natural lighting.
You can’t achieve candid and authentic images if you adjust that LED for the third time in ten minutes.
Focus on the natural and practical light available and consider your shooting position and camera angles. With experience, you learn to use the light to your advantage, but a simple tip is to keep the sun in front of your models, especially if it’s shining brightly.
- Pay attention to the details.
Stay aware of the big picture. Don’t get me wrong, remember the rules of composition and other photographic fundamentals, but taking a few shots of more minor but lovable details can give viewers a real sense of connection.
Focusing on a couple’s hands as they talk while sitting next to each other or on a toddler’s wobbly steps can set a good tone for a cherished story.
- Give your subjects something to do
Don’t tell your subjects to “act natural” and hide behind the camera. To help them feel comfortable, you can suggest something simple, like playing a game, telling a joke, or cooking a meal together.
People will gradually relax as they focus on the activity. You get more genuine emotion this way than by asking them to laugh.
You can also document their natural interactions by giving them simple tasks and gaining better insight into their stories.