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What is lifestyle photography?
It’s the art of capturing families and people enjoying themselves as naturally as possible, kicking back, relaxing and interacting. It balances the art of documentary photography and portraiture, as the shot always has to be set up, but the action and emotion displayed within the image should be as authentic as possible.
Lifestyle Photography – The Real World through A Lens
Lifestyle photography is often displayed as a set of images that create a narrative through the clearly visible emotions.
Believability is key to these situations. If a shot looks staged or contrived it’s actually less attractive than people looking bored or unhappy. Think about how much you’re turned off by marketing images and stock photography when you perceive the image to be simply too choreographed.
So by now you’ve worked out that it’s all about getting that natural look. Like when a baby smiles, a husband looks at his wife with true tenderness, or a child laughs whilst running carefree through a field chasing the family dog.
Why is this so important? Because people genuinely connect with others on a subconscious level when they see a smile, a sad face or whimsical stare looking out across a natural landscape – but only when it comes from a real place inside the subject.
It’s as natural as laughter. A joke can either make you laugh or it won’t. And the problem is that everyone knows when you’re faking it. But the truth is that if something is funny you can’t help but laugh.
You connect with the joke on an emotional level and your response is something that comes from the soul. It’s the same with great lifestyle photography. Try too hard to bottle an emotion and you’ll get found out.
How do you get this effect when you’re under pressure to get the shot and trying to grab a particular moment in time? Well like with everything in life; the more force you apply the less likely it is to happen.
A loose approach generally works best in these situations. You have to let the subject of the photography relax and fall into the moment. And this isn’t always easy…
To get there, the right balance of subtle direction and letting it go has to be achieved. And of course, there are no hard and fast rules in this situation. You have to let the feeling and emotions flow.
Nothing causes a creative block like telling people, especially children that they can’t do something or they need to sit or stand still. Like everyone out there, they’ll always tend to want to do the opposite
Want an example? One of the best ways to see how lifestyle imagery has changed over the past decade is by casting your eye over the Christmas campaigns that are simply everywhere at the right time of year.
In the past you could expect schmaltzy images that proffered an unrealistic façade placed on the truth of Christmas day and family occasions.
Kids jumping in the air like they’d been on the trampoline. A saccharine mother holding a tray full of cocktails as father navigates the carving of the turkey. And of course, grandma and grandpa sitting on the sofa looking like they’d just heard the funniest joke ever told in the universe.
Now photographers like to muck it in a little more. Telling a much more complex story of Christmas, the mixed emotions that come with most people’s families and the relationships between the individuals.
Sometimes mum relaxing out of sight of the family in the kitchen with a cup of tea and her new book is a way more honest and sincere image. Because it’s something everyone has seen at Christmas.
It’s the tactility and presence of sensuality within an image that makes us connect.
Because when we see an image that really resonates within us, it brings up our own emotional responses. That image of mum makes us think of our own mothers and those tender moments of Christmas past.
As an experienced and accomplished photographer, lifestyle photography gives me a chance to go beyond simply capturing clear images.
With the ability now to capture hundreds of shots through digital cameras this gives me the opportunity to take a single fantastic image out of hundreds.
Like the saying always goes – a picture speaks a thousand words. So why not look at my portfolio and gallery to find out how you feel about my results?