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What is family lifestyle photography?

Maybe you’re thinking about booking a family lifestyle shoot but you’re not exactly sure what it is or how it works. I’ve put together this short blog to explain a bit more about it and help you decide if it’s the right type of photo session for you and your family…

What is family lifestyle photography?

Family lifestyle photography is a style of photography that aims to capture people naturally and authentically, often using creative techniques to tell a story through pictures. Usually, a session focuses on an everyday part of family life at home. It could be a bath time routine, playing in the garden or baking together, for example. The two main ways that family lifestyle photography differs from studio sessions are, A) they take place in clients homes or an outdoor location that is meaningful to them, and B) movement is not confined to standing in front of backdrops or lights, therefor the photographer can move around the family and take pictures of them and whatever they are doing which can make for more authentic and dynamic photos.

What happens during a typical lifestyle session with me?

My style is natural, relaxed and family led. Which means that I like to take pictures in peoples homes and capture a particular time in their life as it truly looks.

A week or so before the photoshoot I like to have a chat with the client over the phone. This allows me to find out a bit about their family and what it is in particularly they are hoping to get from the session. A very common question I get asked by people is what should they wear? Muted colours work best when taking photographs, but the most important thing is that they feel comfortable and relaxed in whatever they are wearing. I'm always happy to send a link to my Pinterest board if they are looking for inspiration. For newborns, I recommend a simple plain onesie. I will usually take this off and get some nude or near-nude newborn photos as well if requested.

As well as finding out about the family, I also like to tell them what they can do to prepare for the session. For instance, I usually recommend feeding the baby as much as he or she wants about 15 minutes prior to my arrival. I also advise them that it is best to prepare older children for the session by telling them that a friend is coming to take some photos of them. I also like to reassure them that when it comes to lifestyle sessions with a newborn, I believe that babies are perfect just the way they are. I don't try and make babies sleep or place them in unnatural poses for photos.

When I arrive at the family’s home, I walk around and look for the best lit areas for family and group shots. I often use the sofa or master bedroom for photos. I know what it’s like to have young children so I would never expect my clients to clean the house before I arrive. I can easily tidy up an area that we want to use for photos while I’m there.

For those families who have an older child as well as a newborn, I usually try and get sibling and family photos right at the start because the sibling may lose interest quickly. I have no major expectations of them and will never force them into doing anything they aren't comfortable with. When it comes to babies - I do not do major posing or have any expectation of how the baby should behave. If they are happiest in the arms of their parents for the entire shoot - then that is where they shall stay!

The session can take anywhere between 45 minutes to two hours. This is because it is important to leave enough time to allow for all those little unscheduled things that happen when you have children. I never want the families I work with to feel rushed because aside from taking pictures a big part of my job involves building a rapport with them. I want them to be relaxed and at ease while I am photographing them. They don't need to be anything but themselves. From experience, I know that having children is hard and wonderful all at the same time. My job is not to make this time in peoples lives look perfect; my job is to show them just how beautiful it is, just as it is.

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