What is lifestyle photography?
Unlike documentary photography, which captures historical moments and real people in everyday life, lifestyle images create the appearance of reality — capturing the feel of candid, beautiful moments and real-life events. Whether shooting photos for a family album or a product catalog, lifestyle photographers meticulously plan shoots and put a lot of effort into creating effortless-looking images. “Lifestyle photography is aspirational, but it’s real. Clients always want it to feel like a real moment that wasn’t posed, but it very much is,” says lifestyle and fashion photographer Grace Rivera.
How to make the most of a shoot.
Make sure you understand the assignment. What does the client want from the shoot? Is it clear? Then make a shot list, and have a good idea of the story you want to tell. “I have that information ahead of time so I can prep myself,” says Rivera. “I think of ways to direct the talent. A lot of it is about direction and interacting with the subject.”
Rivera also recommends bringing a bounce, or portable reflector, so you can make use of natural light and reflect it into the scene. It doesn’t hurt to bring a few different lenses either, so you can go wider or tighter as you need. She uses a 35mm wide-angle lens, a 50mm lens, and an 85mm lens for close-up portrait photography. Also, she bumps up her camera’s color temperature to about 6300 K (standard white is 5600 K) to make the scene a little warmer.
Build trust with your models.
Take a lot of pictures.
In a full day of shooting for a brand, Bailie says he might shoot from 800 to 4000 photos. “And there might be twenty photos in there that are really good. Hopefully there’s more.” You often don’t know what will work, so you should be open to surprises. And if your model does something you like, don’t be afraid to ask them to do it again.
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