Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lifestyle Photography — Not just a pretty picture

As an on-location, natural light photographer I learn to work around a lot of things such as weather, lighting, confined spaces and personalities to capture great images. Not every subject may feel comfortable having his or her photos taken. That is why lifestyle photography is a great method of creating not only fun images, but memorable ones, too.

Have you ever tried taking a photograph of a family member that is less than enthusiastic about having their picture taken? Sure, we have all been there before. What can truly be a game changer is when the person being photographed has a distraction...something that takes their mind off of the task at hand — to capture of picture of them. Think about this as you approach your next photography session. Get your subject talking and telling you about themselves, the love of their life, their favorite activities and watch their expressions and demeanor change.

Sometimes talking just isn’t enough and it takes mixing things up to truly relax your subject(s) and get them into their comfort zone. No, this doesn't require yoga, meditation, or a glass of wine (although that has been known to help ;). You just have to work with your surroundings and bring along a few props to break the ice.

So what makes a good icebreaker? Simply think back to when you were a child and the things you loved to do that were carefree and fun, and let your creativity and imagination flow. Do, however, keep in mind that you don’t want to get the people dirty or too messy for their portraits unless you have mutually decided ahead of time that they are more interested in a lifestyle portrait than in having any formal posed ones. If they want the posed ones, too, then shoot those first.

You know how most people save the “silly shot” for last? That crazy fun one with tongues sticking out, bunny ear fingers behind someone’s head and other outrageous behaviors. Well, ask them to do that first. Break the ice and loosen them up. Bring out the real personality in a subject and it will most likely continue through the remainder of your shoot. In the example above, I brought along some bubbles for the family to play with while sitting on an outdoor swing. Granted, these may not be the selected best shots from the shoot, but it got to show a spirited side of the family having fun together and brought out a very lighthearted playful side.

Try this technique at your next photo session to bring the fun of lifestyle photography into your portrait experience. You may just discover more natural smiles, a more relaxed setting where both you AND the people being photographed are enjoying the photo shoot. Discover lifestyle photography — photos that tell a story and create memories.

Be sure to visit for more photography tips and inspiration. In my next Discover Lifestyle Photography post, I will discuss how to work with your surroundings to break up the monotony. In the meantime, pick up your camera and go beyond the pretty picture — capture true memories!

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