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Lifestyle image with a young beautiful woman

What is Lifestyle Photography?

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Hearing the word “lifestyle photography,” generally, people assume that it is all about capturing peoples’ portraits and akin things, but this genre is so vast. In more accurate words, lifestyle photography is the art of exploring and capturing everyday life with the eye of a lens.

Lifestyle Photography

Capturing and documenting real-life events in the form of stills is called Lifestyle photography. The aim is to document natural events artistically as it happens, not to create fake sessions. Lifestyle photography tells the stories of people via images, just the way things happened at the very moment.

Though it is there from the era of Black and White photography, the inclination towards capturing natural events is embraced more than ever now. You can easily find thousands of Instagram and social media lifestyle photography influencers with millions of followers.

Difference between lifestyle photography and portrait photography

Lifestyle photography is a blend of multiple disciples of photography itself, including portrait photography. Mainly it features families or individuals portraits engaged in some activities, seemingly unaware of the camera, intending to capture real-life events. With that, it captures everyday life, people in real situations, and real-life events in candid and aesthetic manners. The main focus of lifestyle photography is to inspire and interpret the stories about people’s lives.

In portrait photography, the focus is to tell a story about a particular subject that may or may not be engaged in an activity and aware of the camera. Portraits are more like the life is paused for the subject and will resume when the camera disappears.


If you are a beginner exploring this genre, you will often come across this term.

To capture an everyday event, the photographer sometimes has to plan a situation. A planned candid photo is known as plandid (planned+candid), where the photo has to be an ordinary situation but still visually appealing. You can often find this type of photo in wedding photoshoots, birthday shoots, couple shoots, et cetera.

The difference between lifestyle photography and candid portraits resides in the photographer’s involvement in the scene.

Man doing tricks with his skateboard

Tips for better Lifestyle Photography:


1. Authenticity

Sometimes it is much easier to work with plandids as a lifestyle photographer, but the essence of this genre is capturing the real thing as it happens. Instead of planting events, go for authenticity as much as possible for truly unique work. Keep things natural and close to reality, and the outcome will automatically become authentic.

One way to ensure authenticity understands the difference between portraits and lifestyle photography. Portraits can be posed, artificially lighted, with added props, shot in the studio, but you cannot incorporate any of these things when shooting lifestyle photography.

2. Plan Ahead

This point might sound conflicting to the last tip and some upcoming tips, but actually, it isn’t. Just like any good professional photographer, you also need to prepare for your shoot ahead of time. You can give tips or guide your subjects like places where pictures should be taken or what dress would look best. You also need to analyze the shooting location to picture how you can get the best outcomes and which gear you need.

Again, planning doesn’t mean orchestrating results. Once you start shooting, go with the flow and capture everything as it happens.

3. A little “Direct”

The comfort level of your client with you is the key to getting the best of Lifestyle photography. If you are hired for the assignment and meet the clients’ 2nd or 3rd time on the shoot, can you expect them to act all-natural around you when you are shooting them continuously? Can you indulge in your shoot when your subjects forget that you have a camera in your hand? The subject feeling awkward at first is completely natural.

To make clients comfortable, initiate conversations. Ask them about their interests, expectations from the shoot, etc., and give them confidence and “directions” to be themselves. You can also guide them about the actions casually, but these “what to do” suggestions shouldn’t be a script.

4. Welcome what you are given

Embrace everything on your shooting location. Those are the things and moments that will make your shoot look real. Things around you that can be considered a mess if you are shooting in any other niche can be the factors that will get you perfect results.

Pretty woman shopping

5. Shoot Continuously

Do not put down your camera! Please do not do this for a while, or you might end up missing the moment which your client could savor for his whole life.

Lifestyle photography is all about shooting life, and life is never static. Even if your client doesn’t realize this, every moment is special to shoot in lifestyle photography. Keep moving with your subjects so you can capture the best of their natural behaviors.

6. “Repeat the actions, please”

Asking your subject to repeat their action after you missed it in the first place will make it look staged, which is opposite to lifestyle photography. Never do this.

Try capturing the moment before and after the main events or when you think something will happen. You will be able to capture something unexpected.

7. Tell the tales

Lifestyle photography is not about capturing family photos. Rather it’s to capture the family’s story. Your job will end after delivering the results, but the family will live those moments repeatedly whenever they look at those photos. A family invites you to live with them. In return, they want palpable memories of those moments.

You will have to master the art of photography storytelling. Please find out how one image relates to another, then bring them together through your photography style. Make conveying emotions and feelings your top priority. Keep the whole scene and little details in your mind and your frame.

One way to capture a story is to give your shoot a narrative structure like novels but dividing the shoot into the beginning, middle, and ending.

8. It has to be unscripted but planned

Lifestyle photography is a combination of unscripted and planned events or unplanned and scripted events. It is not a shoot, but the photographer should get to know the people they are photographing. The more you make your subjects comfortable, the more natural your photoshoot will be.

Knowing what your subjects like or dislike, where they hang out for the weekend or go to their local coffee shop. The answer to such questions will make your photoshoot feel natural. Remember, you have to capture their ‘real life.

9. Bring the right equipment

Like any other niche, lightning, the steadiness of the camera plays an important role in lifestyle photography. No matter what your shooting location is, you won’t find the same lightning situation everywhere. To overcome any situation, you need to keep the right equipment with you.

Plan about your equipment. Ask your client about the time and location of the shooting and analyze the location a day or two before deciding what the right equipment is for you.

We also recommend you keep an extra camera with you. A 28-70mm lens will allow you to zoom in or go wide. For the second camera, a 35mm lens will be perfect for the second camera to capture wide shots. If you don’t want to carry a second camera, keep a zoom lens with you.

Nice woman doing gymnastics

10. Go for details

Not everything is about a full-frame or wide shot. Sometimes small details speak louder than a complete picture. Natural portraits also capture a series of images about small and unnoticeable details to get the best results. A zoom lens can come in handy to zoom in to details.

Also, do not shy away from close-up shots. You can also use composition techniques in post-production to bring attention to something specific that might go unnoticed generally. Many stories can be told just by looking at details. Just be active and pay attention.

11. Make everyone comfortable

Even if a person is comfortable with a camera, it is not easy to act naturally if someone is constantly filming you. Most people find it difficult to be open in front of the camera and strangers. Being a photographer, you must make them feel easy in your presence.

Talk to your subjects about the type of photos you want to capture and how to get them. This will make them feel comfortable, and they will deliver natural scenes. This will give you your desired images without spoiling the purpose of lifestyle photography.


Lifestyle photography is much more than a portrait session. Lifestyle photographers will have to go beyond the obvious shots to capture required images. Clients trust them with some of the most important events of their lives. Following the tips mentioned prior, you can master the art of delivering the desired and best results to each client.

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