How to get “Real Life” in Lifestyle Photography

March 24, 2011

in Photography Creative Team, Photography Tips, Photography Tutorials, Susan Keller

Post image for How to get “Real Life” in Lifestyle Photography

Slice of Life. Photojournalism. Lifestyle Photography. What exactly is it? I daresay, it’s different things to different people. But to me? Within my own family, it’s quite elementary: lifestyle photography is simply taking pictures of my family doing what they do.

real life photography - photo journalism

It’s not setting up a shot.

real life photography - photo journalism

It’s not asking anyone to look at me.

real life photography - photo journalism

It’s not asking anyone to look away from me (smirk).

real life photography - photo journalism

It’s not POSING anyone in any way, shape, form.

real life photography - photo journalism

It’s not tidy-ing the surroundings first. In fact, it embraces the details …

real life photography - photo journalism

It’s simply, only, documenting a moment happening (for real!!) with a photograph. That’s it.

When I’m taking pictures for clients, I’m aspiring to the same level of authenticity as my own family pictures. The difference being, that since I don’t live with my clients, I don’t have the luxury of waiting indefinitely for the moments to unfurl as they may. A “lifestyle” session may last for a day or even just a couple hours. However, I do still have similar personal standards for lifestyle photography with my clients: no POSING, no “styling” (I realize this standard of mine would make some photographers gasp in shock & horror), no asking that anyone look at me and smile …

real life photography - photo journalism

real life photography - photo journalism

real life photography - photo journalism

You see, photojournalistic type photos are really truly NOT about me or my vision

real life photography - photo journalism

real life photography - photo journalism

real life photography - photo journalism

… lifestyle images are ALL about the person/people being photographed. I’m far more interested in my clients being completely aware of each other and not so aware of me

real life photography - photo journalism

Because, at the end of the day, my ultimate goal is that my clients recognize themselves & their history, their story, their love, in the images we capture together.

 

About Susan

I totally love a great roadtrip adventure with my dudes, or a cozy afternoon curled up with a good book. “Reality” tv totally sucks me in. I prefer my chocolate to be semi-sweet and my Diet Coke to have a squirt of root beer in it. Photography makes my heart sing and waterskiing leaves me sore & limping but deeply satisfied.

Susan is an Orange County Baby, Child & Family Photographer. Find her on her blog, Short on Words, and  Facebook for tips, specials and client sneak peeks.

 

 

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Sierra March 11, 2015

I love lifestyle pictures, I feel it really captures who the people truely are. I want to learn how to take these types of pictures with my kids.

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Gerty February 15, 2012

I love those captured moments!

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Gerty February 15, 2012

I think I’m a lifestyle photographer.

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Jaime Bristow September 14, 2011

I love the photo of the mama feeding her babe (view through a cracked door). Gave me tears.

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Karen April 15, 2011

Excellent article & exactly what I hope to accomplish with my own photography! Thanks for your insight – gorgeous pictures!

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Michael March 29, 2011

Awesome article, and the sample images are simply perfect. Thanks for sharing!!

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Jenny March 26, 2011

I wish I could get this type of photography done but, alas, it’s hard!

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Melanie March 26, 2011

Great post!

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Keri bryant March 25, 2011

Brilliant. I ADORE this type of photography and I have had you on my blog list for months, Susan. I love your work. These are great examples. thank you@!

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Mimi March 25, 2011

Love this article! This is the type of photographer I would like to become. Unfortunately I think a lot of people have been brainwashed to like that posed look =) I think that is why i like sports photography. THere is no posing anyone and they are not interested in what you are doing with your camera. I always learn so much from your articles.

Thank you!

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Katherine March 25, 2011

What an awesome tutorial! It’s so so true. It’s not just about ‘okay, smile’ it’s looking for things to frame within life.

Loveed it :)

K xx

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Shannon March 25, 2011

Thank you for this. I sometimes feel like I am crazy because these “real” moments are the ones that I hold dear to my heart. I would much rather have a spontaneous smile than a posed one. I love your photos. I want to be like you when I grow up! 😉

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Lisa March 25, 2011

Thanks Susan for sharing your ideas and photos. Your photos are so inspiring!! I am just realizing that lifestyle photos are the moments I like best in capturing.

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Leesha March 25, 2011

I love the homework shot!
He looks like he is concentrating sooo hard.
You captured it perfectly. :)

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melissa stover March 24, 2011

i love doing this too. i love that you said that it isn’t about you or your vision but about them.

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Donna March 24, 2011

99% of the photos I take are lifestlye. Those are my favorite moments. Real time.
Thanks for sharing this article Susan. I am a fan of your work.

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Susan Keller March 24, 2011

Thanks, All :-)

Cathy – yes! It’s Pipe’s. We love that place!! And it was last weekend. And while the weather wasn’t bad per se, I’m guessing the surf wasn’t “all that” because there were only a few surfers out.

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Cathy March 24, 2011

That first one looks lid Pipes Cafe…*heavy sigh*. We cancelled our reservations for San Elijo this week because the forecast looked like it would not be good surf or weather. It’s a 17 hour trek from the south Oregon coast…really missing it tho.

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Dawn March 24, 2011

I.LOVE.THIS. I love just capturing ” spontaniety” in a picture! Just life as it is…….normal and unrehearsed . Your photos are awesome!

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Kara March 24, 2011

Finally. Thank you. Someone who is like me.

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Robyn Stone March 24, 2011

RT @livinglocurto: RT @iHeartFaces: How to get "Real Life" in Lifestyle Photography http://bit.ly/hnRPXh

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Karina Lange March 24, 2011

This is what we love to do too…no poses, no “say cheese”-images, but simply capture families just enjoying each other, reflecting the spirit of that very family 😉
I love your work !!!!!
Feel free to check out our website: http://amadeusstudios.com

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Angie March 24, 2011

This beautiful @iheartfaces article explains exactly what I love most about Lifestyle Photography: http://bit.ly/hCCTfL #photography

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laura March 24, 2011

WOW! thanks for this ah-hah moment. reading this has just flipped a serious switch in my head.

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Judith I March 24, 2011

Thank you so much Susan. you took the words right out of my mouth and I just loved the tutorial.

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Sara @ Mom Endeavors March 24, 2011

Fantastic post! Your pictures are fantastic!

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little daisy March 24, 2011

Wow! I just love the photos! They’re sure look alive. I only took photograph for fun but I love this Lifestyle Photography more that the posing one. You sure gave very useful tips. Thanks!

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Carol Strawn March 24, 2011

Thanks, Susan! Very good explanation as to why we want to be more like documentors than posers….nice…I needed to hear this! :) Does that mean I need to throw away my “posing guides?” ha!

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Texasholly March 24, 2011

RT @AddaPinch: RT @livinglocurto: RT @iHeartFaces: How to get "Real Life" in Lifestyle Photography http://bit.ly/hnRPXh

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Leah Z March 24, 2011

Oh wow! This helped a lot! Thank you.

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Kelly March 24, 2011

I love incorporating life style photography into regular portrait sessions as well. Just keep your eye open for moments between locations or poses. Those are often the best shots.

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Rachel March 24, 2011

I love this.

I nodded and felt like shouting ‘YES” While reading this!

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Amy Locurto March 24, 2011

RT @iheartfaces: How to get "Real Life" in Lifestyle Photography http://bit.ly/hnRPXh

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Becky @ Farmgirl Paints March 24, 2011

i think this is THE most challenging thing to do. when i whip out my camera everyone freezes. they put on plastic smiles and forget what they were doing. it’s really a challenge to get the every day. those are always the best!

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Jen P March 24, 2011

I’ve always wanted to do “lifestyle” photography, professionally. I truly hate posed photos, most people look stiff and uncomfortable in them. Your photos are wonderful and inspiring.

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angie {the arthur clan} March 24, 2011

You explain perfectly what I love most about Lifestyle Photography. This was so lovely Susan!

-Angie
co-founder of I Heart Faces

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Life with Kaishon March 24, 2011

This is such a great post Susan! Your lifestyle shoots are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing with all of us!

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Lisa McCully March 24, 2011

Beautiful images! I have been aiming for these kind of photos, I have a three year old granddaughter and I love catching her in her world.

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Emily L March 24, 2011

Thank you for this tutorial. I love lifestyle photography and you’ve encouraged me that it can be done on a professional level. Thanks!

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