There is a lot of buzz around about what is Lifestyle Photography, and I thought writing a post and using a very real lifestyle family maternity session as an example to help answer some questions you might have.
Lifestyle falls somewhere between traditional portrait and documentary
Traditional portrait photography is very posed and often very controlled. The photographer manipulates the light and the subject in order to create the most pleasing image. In documentary photography, the photographer does zero directing and purely photographs what is happening as it happens organically.
I like to think that at my lifestyle sessions we do a little bit of everything. I always make sure to get at least one traditional portrait of everyone looking at the camera and smiling. But with lifestyle, the fun part is what happens next. I get to direct my clients to a location and pose, and then allow them to really be themselves in it. Lifestyle gives them the room to breathe and be themselves without too much direction, but it also gives enough control to know the image will be visually appealing.
It is posed and directed, but not fake
Of course families don’t always walk hand-in-hand through fields of long grass at sunset in their best clothes. It is pretty obvious that I ask them to do that, and I ask them to do in the prettiest light. But just because I tell my families where or how to stand together, does that mean that their interaction is fake? Or that their smiles are not genuine? Absolutely not. All of the emotions I capture through my lens are purely genuine. Through some simple prompts and conversation my families are interacting in a very real way that showcases their natural relationships and personalities.
It can be done anywhere
I am so lucky to have the flexibility to document families wherever they want to be. With lifestyle photography I am not limited to a studio, nor am I limited by the inside of someones home. With lifestyle I can find the best locations, whether they be in your home or out in the neighbourhood, and I can use that location to showcase your family. There are some pros and cons to both in-home and on-location family sessions, but know that no matter where you are, you are still a family.
It takes the focus off the way you look
One of the greatest things about lifestyle photography is that it adds another element to the images. There are portraits that are simply a picture of someone – the way they look, their face, their clothing, maybe their environment. But lifestyle photography adds emotion to an image. When someone looks at an image like the ones below, your focus comes away from the pose and their clothing and you have an emotional reaction to it. It doesn’t just look nice, it makes you feel something.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a market and a place for both traditional and documentary style family photography. I have friends that do both, and their work is absolutely stunning. But lifestyle is where my passion lies. I love that I get to control some elements but then also see how each family expresses themselves a little differently. I love that every session and situation is different and I get to be creative. I love that my own vision and art shines through each photo I deliver. And I mostly love that each family has their own set of images that reflect them as they truly are.
Brittany VanRuymbeke is a lifestyle family and wedding photographer based in Chatham-Kent, Ontario. She specializes in fun, laid-back and emotional family photography. To learn more about, or to book a family maternity session, contact me today!