Lifestyle photography was born out of a longing for authentic, meaningful pictures. A longing to escape the pretty pictures that commonly appear on commercial clothing stores with their overly stylized scenes and their unreality.
The scenes that are too perfect, the scenes that are full of what most would say “fakeness”. What if, instead, we captured scenes that were honest?
They could be honest in their imperfections, honest in what isn’t front and center, honest in showcasing why we love photography in the first place.
To attain these goals as a lifestyle photographer or a freelance photographer in this niche , you would need to know inside knowledge of this niche.
Thankfully, we have created a lot of handy lifestyle photography tips for you, containing all that knowledge! Read on to learn more about them.
What is Lifestyle Photography?
Lifestyle photography is an artistic approach to photographing your subject in a manner that reveals their true personality, rather than strictly focusing on technical perfection.
However, technicality is still present. Photographers usually capture these images with simple composition techniques.
Lifestyle portraits are not your typical ‘posed’ shots. This type of photography focuses on bringing out the natural expression of the person in front of the camera. The photographer adjusts with their subject in their surroundings to fit the setting.
He/she makes adjustments based on light and surroundings, which allows for unique photos that will stand out from the traditional headshots.
Types Of Lifestyle Photography
Lifestyle photography is well known for its diverse types of imagery that aim towards the capture of the personal. If you want to understand the popular types of lifestyle photography and how you can define them, here is a list.
Newborn Lifestyle Photography
More and more people are choosing to start their families at a later age. As a result, there has been a sharp rise in the number of babies born each year.
Those who choose to wait until later in life to start a family, whether by choice or circumstance, often want to capture every moment possible as their baby grows and develops.
Photography by Michal Bar Haim
Imagine the smell of baby powder, the sensation of the smooth skin of a little hand in yours, or that beautiful moment when a newborn opens her eyes for the first time. It’s beautiful to be part of. Moments like these can never be replicated.
Newborn photography is all about capturing those magical moments. Moments so fleeting they seem to only exist at the instance they were photographed, making this photography niche quite special.
Lifestyle Family Photography
Some of the most important people in our lives, and those who we care for and love the most, are those who make up our family!
Photograph by Jonathan Borba
Family photography can be an extremely rewarding branch of photography. It’s far more satisfying being paid to capture the intimate moments of people’s loved ones rather than just shooting strangers. Although shooting family photo sessions can be equally as challenging as undertaking any other type of shoot.
It’s about fulfilling that seemingly impossible task of preserving a few moments of time for generations to come.
As with newborns, family life is a passing moment. Parents realize that their children grow up quite quickly.
That’s why they want to give the entire family special moments to remember for years to come. For this purpose, choosing a professional photographer is crucial.
Lifestyle Product Photography
Traditional Product Photography is done in a studio setting where you see very few shadows and inexpensive props that don’t give the client a real feel for how the product fits into their home.
It tends to be heavily photoshopped or airbrushed, which is hard to achieve through spontaneous photography.
Photograph by engin akyurt
Enter the new solution – Lifestyle product photography. It is perfect when the look of your product is important in conveying its story or purpose. It aims to represent how products become part of life through various ways of living.
This niche is definitely an art form. The biggest challenge is to strike a balance between artistic and realistic. There are many lifestyle product photographers who manage to achieve the perfect balance between these two worlds. They know how to stage the product to create real emotions in the minds of viewers.
Hence, lifestyle product photography has become such a popular niche because people like to see real-life usage of products in their own homes. After all, there’s nothing more powerful than telling a story through product photos.
Indoor Lifestyle Photography
Indoor living photography has been extremely popular for a long time now.
Homeowners and businesses alike have been having portraits done of their living spaces to show off their homes.
But it doesn’t always have to correlate with stylish decor. It could be people doing an indoor activity or just sitting at home.
It could be the photography of interior spaces, homely objects, pets – anything to deliver the concept of home. In home lifestyle photography’s main focus is to achieve that emotional atmosphere.
This niche isn’t limited to homeliness either. Eating in restaurants, working in an office are all examples of indoor lifestyles.
Capturing these moments elegantly is what indoor living photography is about, in a nutshell.
Outdoor Lifestyle Photography
The great outdoors is all about experiences. It’s about meeting people, celebrating diversity, environmental awareness, learning something new, and connecting with nature.
These are the exact themes that are represented in outdoor life photography.
Outdoor photographers spend hours mastering these shots. This is because they want to capture moments to share with friends and family, set the mood for an upcoming presentation or meeting, or simply deliver it as a product to a client.
Whether it be hiking, swimming, boating, camping, or just people talking to each other in an open environment – good outdoor lifestyle photos embellish the vitality of these moments within the image. The goal of the photo is not only to tell a unique story but also to connect the subjects with the outdoors in a way that will leave viewers feeling inspired.
Maternity Lifestyle Photography
Maternity photography is a very personal type of photography that will be cherished for generations.
It begins several months prior to the mother’s due date, typically during the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
The woman’s belly gradually grows, and there are many changes in her skin tone, hair texture, and overall appearance.
Capturing this special time is the essence of maternity photography. Whether it be the first, second, third, or any number of children, it’s always an opportunity to celebrate the arrival of a precious soul into the world.
These sessions can take place in the home, backyard, a park near the house, a beach down the road, a botanical garden in town, etc.
The location is completely up to the preference and comfortability of the client.
Lifestyle Wedding Photography
Wedding photography is a type of photography that focuses on documenting wedding-related events and activities, as well as capturing the wedding itself.
Portrait photography of other sorts, such as a pre-wedding engagement session, may also be included.
Photographers may also offer narrative-style photography to memorialize the numerous operations and traditions that occur throughout the wedding days.
It is a highly curated art. Shooting a wedding is an exciting experience, but the work it takes to find, book, and shoot them can be exhausting.
Capturing everlasting bonds like a marriage doesn’t only mean meeting deadlines and getting decent photos but also a professional attitude.
Each wedding is unique in its own way, requiring different skills to capture the emotion of the day. Pro wedding photographers have certain styles they adopt while photographing a different wedding.
A wedding is a journey littered with beautiful memories.
Lifestyle wedding photography aims to present this journey with the beauty it holds, with added charm.
12 Lifestyle Photography Tips
It’s common for new lifestyle photographers to get overwhelmed by the technical aspects of their equipment, although this is something that improves with time.
They then spend more time worrying about the quality of the images being produced rather than actually improving their photography skills.
These are definitely areas to work on, but there are many simple things you can do in order to improve your workflow and the overall quality of your lifestyle photos.
Here are twelve quick lifestyle photography tips that can help you capture better moments in life easier and faster.
1. Have a Plan
Everything we do in life requires some kind of planning, especially professional work. Planning is essential to the business of a lifestyle photographer.
Planning ensures consistency, inspires creativity, and allows us to save time and energy for future photoshoots.
It won’t be any fun if you run out of time, inspiration, or ideas halfway through the session. It’ll be even worse and a bit embarrassing if you’ve spent all your hard-earned cash kits that you can’t fully leverage at the critical moment.
Preparing ahead for these scenarios will make for a neat commercial lifestyle photography session.
Write the plan down, create notes, and discuss the plan with your team (if you’re working in one) to suggest improvements.
You’ll be surprised by how efficient your photography process becomes.
2. Camera Setting (ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed)
While there are no particular camera settings to use when shooting professional lifestyle photography, the following tips will help you get started.
In an ideal situation, you’d select the lowest ISO setting available.
However, if you’re shooting in low light or on a foggy day, you may need to increase your ISO to safeguard that your image is properly exposed.
Increase your ISO to brighten a photograph, but do so at the expense of adding more noise to your image and lowering the quality of the final product.
Some cameras are better at handling higher ISO levels than others. However, around ISO 800 to 1600, most cameras start to show visible noise.
To get the best results, you’ll have to experiment.
If you use a slow shutter speed, your image will most likely be fuzzy. That’s why a fast shutter speed is recommended, especially if you’re shooting handheld.
Begin by using a shutter speed of 1/125 to 1/200 of a second. The sync speed of any flashlights you use will also affect your shutter speed.
You may need to use a faster shutter speed (such as 1/1000 of a second) if you’re trying to catch a speedy subject (such as a person sprinting or cycling).
The aperture you use will be determined by the lens you’re using and the subject you’re trying to concentrate on. You’ll want to select a fast aperture (ex. f1.2 to 2.8) if you want to achieve a blurry background or a shallow depth of field.
A quick aperture might also help you capture a brighter image if the illumination is an issue, as a fast aperture allows more light to come through the lens.
3. Shoot in Every Location
Location is quite important for any genre of photography, including lifestyle. But sometimes, trying to find the perfect location for your shoot may prove to be quite difficult. Many photographers get discouraged and think that it’s impossible to come up with something unique.
But that’s not true.
Because there is no perfect location.
The concept of lifestyle is essential to make optimal use of each and every location that you get. It doesn’t have to be a gorgeous forest trail to induce nature.
A garden in your backyard or the park nearby can be just as powerful if framed in that manner.
While it’s preferable to go on a good search for an interesting location, sometimes it’s faster and easier to choose something predetermined.
That’s why shoot in every location that is available to you. You may be surprised by what the lens sees, which the eyes do not.
4. Shoot Memories
Have you ever found an old photograph? Perhaps taken by your grandma, passed down through the generations.
It could be an interesting picture of kids eating ice cream on the beach, or perhaps a great photograph of Abraham Lincoln shaking someone’s hand in the 1800s.
Such photographs have special meaning to humans.
As a lifestyle photographer, your job is to be conscious of these memories even before they arrive. Your camera must be on with a steady but ready finger on the shoot button at all times.
This does depend on what kind of photo session you’re going to have. Not all shoots will contain memories. But for niches like wedding photography, maternity photography, family photography – memories are inevitable!
5. Natural Light
In modern photography, we tend to rely more and more on artificial lighting and the tricks we can do with it. However, this doesn’t mean that we should forget the importance of natural light and what we can learn from observing and appreciating it.
Photograph by Mansur Omar
Whether it’s a perfect sunset or the faint golden hour, the contrasting light of the sun makes everything look so darn good. It has a character in every situation.
Always try to incorporate natural light in your lifestyle shots whenever you can. It has the potential to create something truly special. Even if you shoot indoors – open up the windows and start clicking when the sun blazes into the home.
In the right amount, it can create an amazing look for your photo that cannot be replicated by using a flash or any other artificial light source. Natural light can be a photographer’s best friend if you let it.
6. Telling a Story
Vibrant storytelling images are essential for certain niches like lifestyle wedding photography to stand out in the sea of lifestyle photography ideas today.
These images have an undeniable pull on viewers, engaging them and bringing them back time after time to see what you have to share.
Your story doesn’t have to be anything marvelous and altruistic. It can be a simple story of a child tightly gripping a parent’s finger, perhaps whilst walking downstairs. Such an image shows the story of a growing bond that is understandable by all humans worldwide.
7. Using the Environment is Everything
The environment serves as a subject that can create an illusion of space and depth. It can be thought of as the background or the foreground of a particular image; the environment serves as the setting or backdrop for any given photography composition.
You may be shooting wedding shots where there are plenty of subjects to work with. But the viewers already know it’s a wedding, hence what’s so special about this one?
Delicately highlighting the intricacies of the environment (like the bowed strings around the table) whilst also keeping your subjects in the frame would be the target in this scenario.
Thus, the environment offers a range of potential photographic subjects that can provide inspiration and ideas for creative photos.
Focusing on the environment instead of on the object itself is a great way to produce engaging images. The surroundings of your subject may tell a story better than any photo ever could.
8. Don’t Wait for Something to Happen
In lifestyle photography, you attempt to create what’s real life in a piece, but instead of waiting for perfect moments of all kinds, you prepare to create a shooting that reflects this situation.
You can ask your subjects to act a certain kind of way to help bring it to life.
However, that is counter-intuitive, as discussed in the next point.
So, be spontaneous! Don’t want for them to pose or for something compositionally magical to happen. Keep snapping, even the candid and poorly framed images.
Chances are you will be able to dig out certain gold mines amongst these “poor” shots and make it even greater in post-production.
9. Don’t Pose All The Time
Lifestyle portraits offer good options for photographers and models who don’t like that staged image of posed portraits. The genre itself aims to be natural.
Hence, posing is not a good idea.
But with a camera in hand, your subjects will tend to pose for effect. And you will tend to comply with it. Don’t!
Unless your subjects have significant experience with posing and/or modeling, you shouldn’t let them pose all the time.
Even if they are great models, you still shouldn’t let it happen. Posture ruins the essence of lifestyle photography.
The goal is to make it seem as if the subjects in the frame don’t know you’re capturing them yet make the photo appear gorgeous. And for this to happen, don’t pose!
10. Focal Point
One of the easiest ways to improve your composition is with a focal point. The viewer must get clear on why the picture was taken or what purpose it serves.
Without purpose, a viewer would be lost without knowing where and why you have published the photo.
A focal point will ensure that your photo is compositionally meaningful, something that is crucial for lifestyle photography since you’ll be shooting spontaneously.
Using techniques like leading lines, rule of thirds, rule of odds, depth of field, you can insert focal points in the frame. This helps the naturality of your shots to seem planned without seeming artificial.
11. Get Everyone Involved
Involve people! If your job is to just photograph a newborn, don’t limit your subject to the child. Ask the parents, relatives, siblings, or even pets to get involved.
Involving people will result in a wide variety of shots. And variety is always good in photography, both for the end result and for improving your photography sense.
12. Lifestyle Photo Editing
You’re all done with the shots. What do you do? Do you immediately publish?
You edit. Photo editing is a must-do for any niche of photography, especially lifestyle.
Specialized genres like lifestyle jewelry photography can’t simply publish without professional photo editing because these niches have commercial interests like sales, branding, marketing, promotion, etc.
An edited photo ensures that your photo is clean, polished, and balanced. Expert photo editors invest a lot of time in perfecting every minor pixel, every small speck in the photo. This elevates your photography to a different level.
Lifetstyle Photography FAQs
What lens should I use for lifestyle photography?
Macro lens, telephoto lens, and zoom lens are ideal candidates for lifestyle photography.
Which camera is best for a lifestyle photoshoot?
Any standard camera that hovers above the $1000 range is great for lifestyle photoshoots: the higher your budget, the better. However, if you’re planning to shoot in the dawn of the night with minimal lighting, using mirrorless cameras is a good option.
How do you become a lifestyle photographer?
Becoming a lifestyle photographer is a matter of practice, experience, and building networks. The first job is to keep building your portfolio. Then you can branch out your business as a lifestyle photographer through friends, social media, a website, selling photos as stock, etc.
What is considered lifestyle photography?
Lifestyle photography is a genre focused on capturing daily lives in artistic and captivating aspects.
What is the difference between lifestyle photography and portrait photography?
Portrait photography is focused on just capturing the front-face of the subjects. Lifestyle photography doesn’t have any such rule.
Take Beautiful Lifestyle Photos | Final Verdict
Lifestyle photography is one of the most effective styles of photography there is due to how natural it looks. It’s not unusual to see lifestyle shots gracing the pages of prestigious fashion magazines or adorning the walls in beauty salons or restaurants.
We hope that this article containing critical lifestyle photography tips gives you the confidence to take such shots!
About the Author
Amy Grace, a devotee writer of Clipping Path Studio, has long experience in the commercial photography field. Merging competency and skill in her profession, she has nailed the task up to the mark and has helped a lot of entrepreneurs create their brands. Aside from photography, Amy is involved in photo retouching work as well. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram.