Karyn Olsson Photography | What is Lifestyle Photography?

What is Lifestyle Photography?

July 18, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

What Is Lifestyle Photography?

It was just another day of sitting at my computer replying to emails when my calendar reminder popped up. It was time for me to send out an email to a client for their upcoming family session. This is usually just a standard email that is already drafted and just requires a little tweaking before I hit send.  However, today was a different day.  As I went through the email changing the details, I stopped and stared at the word “lifestyle photography”.  I regularly call myself a lifestyle photographer, and I make sure that my clients want lifestyle type images.  In the photography world we all know that when someone says “lifestyle”, that it isn’t traditional portraiture. In fact, it is probable that no one in the image is actually looking at the camera.   Wikipedia states that lifestyle photography is: a kind of photography  that mainly aims to capture portrait/people in situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday. The primary goal is to tell stories about people's lives or to inspire people in different times.

I like Wikipedia's definition. I do feel that I try my best to capture and tell each family's story, but I feel that the above definition still needs to be more specific. What I feel is artistic may not be artistic to the next photographer.  We all have our own styles. So I guess the real title of this blog post should be, "What is lifestyle photography to me"? The words that instantly come to my mind are: authentic, raw, natural, real, connected, meaningful, and playful. How do I get authentic, raw, natural, real, connected, meaningful, and playful to unfold in front of my camera?  Ninety-nine percent of the time my clients do not just show up and know how to take lifestyle pictures. In fact, as soon as my camera comes out, everyone seems to stiffen up and not know what to do.  But, I am a lifestyle photographer and not a documentary photographer, so now what?

Some lifestyle photographers do not believe in posing their clients for lifestyle type photos.  I am not that photographer.  I do start my clients in a pose and snap the stereotypical holiday card of everyone smiling and looking directly at me. It is after the traditional portrait that I encourage them to interact with one another.  Sometimes I have them play a game, and sometimes it is a simple prompt. Usually after a few silly moments, everyone has loosened up and then magic happens.  I want my clients to be themselves and I want to capture their special family bond, but I am always there to help the magic along if need be. 

If you are looking for a lifestyle family session, please contact me HERE.


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