How to Plan a Lifestyle Shoot

By Michelle Ecker on August 17th, 2018
How to plan a lifestyle shoot

If you’re a portrait photographer, you will very likely find yourself booking family photo shoots from time to time. Especially if you’re a locally established artist with your own studio, family shoots are great source of reliable income because very often, first time clients become repeat ones.

For example, if a newlywed couple books an engagement shoot with you and it goes incredibly well, they will very likely circle back and book you in the future for newborn or group portrait shoots if they decide to start a family. If you’re looking to improve your family photo shoot techniques, we have a few helpful tips with browsing for some inspiration:

Consider a Lifestyle Session

Although studio shoots have a very clean, traditional look to them, lifestyle shoots have the capacity to be incredibly personal and moving. A family lifestyle photo shoot is much more relaxed and intimate.

They are most often shot on location in the family’s home or some other significant place where the family spends a lot of time (for example, maybe the mother owns a restaurant so the family would like to be photographed there). The photos themselves are generally candid in favor of posed, capturing active moments instead as the group goes about normal day-to-day scenarios with one another.

Take an Interactive Online Portrait Photography Course

To use the previous example, let’s say the mother owns a restaurant and the family spends a lot of time there. During a lifestyle shoot, you might meet them at the restaurant on a given weekday and carefully capture those meaningful moments- maybe the father is helping his son with homework in a booth in the back, maybe mom take a quick break from cooking to braid her daughter’s hair, etc..

With shoots like this, although the images you’re taking are candid, it’s important for them to be extremely intentional. Keep an eye out for the relationship subtleties you’re trying to capture and work accordingly to paint a picture of this family dynamic in a way that does justice to their connections. Many lifestyle photographers make an effort to spend a little time chatting with the family before the shoot begins in order to get a good read for these things before getting started.


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