Do you know what a lifestyle session is? It's ok if you don't. It's not what one might commonly thinking of when you decide to hire a photographer for family portraits.
A lifestyle session is like a slice of life, a candid session in which the photographer and camera are observers and less directors. Perfectly posed family photos where everyone is (hopefully) smiling at the camera are wonderful, but there is something magical about the authenticity found in a lifestyle session.
When the girls were born we hired our friend and photographer, Kim, to shoot a lifestyle newborn session for us. I wanted to capture the beauty and chaos of our new life as a family, rather than have perfectly manicured portraits of our children wrapped in muslin and placed in a basket. Not the authentic experience I was looking for. We still took all the standard portraits with our children but they were done in an authentic way. One my favorite images from the session is from when we had to change Hadley's diaper mid-session, and her little hand is reaching out from the changing table like "help me. these people have no clue what they're doing!" While we certainly don't look perfect in the image (our ceiling is half painted and ...Stephen should have taken off that sweatshirt) It's real. It's authentic. It captures a stage in our lives, a page in our stories.
The beauty of lifestyle session is that...they can be anything! The photographer is a fly on the wall (who still gently directs you), but you can have your photographer capture any moment of your life!
Now, even though a lifestyle session is candid and authentic does not mean it can't be styled and intentional. Below are 5 helpful tips for planning an awesome lifestyle session:
- Natural light! Lifestyle sessions still use the natural light coming in from windows and doors in your house. You don't need your entire house to be spick and span for your shoot. Just choose a space or two in your home that get lots of natural light and get those areas looking 'picture perfect'.
- Still dress the family! Lifestyle sessions are typically much more casual than a traditional photo session, but it's still important to look intentional in your wardrobe. Take advantage of my complimentary wardrobe consultation before a shoot to keep the family cohesive and comfortable!
- Have a plan! Lifestyle sessions are candid but you should still have a plan in mind. Think of activities your family likes to do together. Making breakfast? Playing board games at the coffee table? Baking cookies? Tickle fights?If you pick an activity your family loves to do together, the photos will be so much more special!
- Relax! Lifestyle sessions are longer so you can get comfortable in front of the camera! Once you forget the camera is around and let loose and be yourself. Don't forget that the best images in a lifestyle sessions are the ones that aren't "perfect". These sessions are not just about the photos, but the experience as well.
- Generations! Think beyond your household and invite grandma and grandpa to be a part of the session. There is something so special about having generations together. The images will be treasured for years to come by all members of the family.
Today was a rainy day, so I set up an impromptu lifestyle session in my living room with my two girls. Here is a look at how I took a small corner of my otherwise messy home, set up a loose play scenario (tea party with their toys), and let myself be an observer rather than a director. The result is a ordinary moment turned into an extraordinary one. Want to get more information on lifestyle sessions? Want to book a lifestyle session? send me a hello today!