Lifestyle Photography: How to Capture Natural Images Every Time

Lifestyle Photography

Lifestyle photography can be absolutely magical. Let’s think about it for a moment, what other time do couples, children or families have the ability to take a peek into their own beautiful, ever evolving lives? When are they able to see that same beauty others see whenever they are near? The answer is, sadly–not many.

It’s so incredibly satisfying to capture images of our clients that are full of raw emotion and connection, with little details that can speak a thousand words–a touch, a look, even a laugh that though captured on an image is heard unmistakably by anyone who peers at it. Capturing images that tell a story of the people in them is truly an amazing talent. Now we’re here to tell you how easy it is to achieve this often intimidating feat.

Are you ready to be let in on a little secret? Capturing lifestyle images does not have to be awkward or hard! After seeing the question asked many times over again we have realized that capturing lifestyle images has become a popular topic over the past few years. Photographers have asked if it feels awkward–like you are intruding in on a family’s every day routine or their private conversations…because, I mean…how else would they be comfortable enough to laugh in front of the camera right!? You should remove yourself completely from the family’s conversation right!? Wrong! The truth is actually (somewhat) the exact opposite! Now of course nothing is directly posed or staged in lifestyle photography, but it is important to be able to subtly guide the subject or subjects you are photographing into these natural and fun moments.

Let’s face it, clients don’t typically book a photography session and say–Hey this is going to be a lot of fun! They just want some nice pictures out of it and hope their children will stay still long enough for a focused photo, right!? As a lifestyle photographer you have the power to make sure your clients have a great time! You can help guide your clients into sweet and fun moments instead of waiting for them to happen as your clients stand awkwardly on the other side of the camera.

Now here comes the fun part–how can you make “magic” happen during a photo session with clients you probably haven’t met? And how do you get them to feel comfortable and loosen up with a camera (and a photographer!) somewhere in front of them? The answer is actually quite simple, with some interaction and and gentle guidance on your part you can be set up for a rockstar photo session!

We have taken the time to put together three key steps to capturing natural lifestyle images during every session and we’ve even included some fun examples that you can take and put into use during one of your photo sessions. Go ahead, try these out and be sure to check back with us to let us know how the new steps and tricks helped your session!


The Three Key Ingredients to Capturing Natural Lifestyle Images


1. Give assignments. Get rid of the awkward silence and break the ice with one of these fun activities. P.S they also happen to make great in the moment, fun and intimate photos.

Examples of this in use during a photo session:
  • On three, run to mommy and daddy and give them a BIG hug!
  • Sit down, get comfortable and take turns telling everyone your fave part of the day
  • I can’t hear you, (I promise!) turn to your partner and whisper something in their ear, and remember I can not hear, so make it good! 

natural lifestyle images

lifestyle photos


2. Offer Gentle Guidance. Even with your help on livening things up a bit, your clients may be unsure of where to stand or if they should be posing during their session.

Examples of this in use during a photo session:

  • Mix it up! You don’t want everyone in the same order in all of the images. Example, dad always on the left or mom and dad always in the middle, etc.
  • Everyone get super close! It’s easy for families and children to spread apart, make sure they snuggle in close for some sweet images.
  • Where did you go!? Play a game with little ones who are sometimes prone to hiding behind mom or dad during their session. Try to be funny and get excited when they show their face, kids love games, especially peek-a-boo!


3. The Silly Factor, give them fun and silly things to do (or not to do!)

Examples of this in use during a photo session:

  • Make sure you don’t tickle the person beside you…(wait for the giggles–and tickling–to   start!)
  • Everybody has to give someone a kiss and do a twirl or twirl someone else. (This is great for getting families to interact and laugh!)
  • Play Ring-Around-the-Rosie. The second time…try it 3x fast!

lifestyle beach photography

Notice how in these assignments and silly activities we didn’t mention exactly how the clients should be doing these things. This is important. This is where the word guidance comes in…we still don’t want to tell them step by step how to do things, we just want to help give them an outlet to have fun by providing activities and fun things to do. The key is to let your clients take the lead at this point and capture how they interact. After about three minutes your clients will completely open up to you and you will already have some amazing shots of your clients interacting and laughing. The best part is, after your session is finished, your clients will leave having had an amazing time. You bet this will help with your referrals!

Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and start taking some amazing and fun lifestyle portraits!

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