What Is A Lifestyle Photographer?

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You’re looking to have your family photos done and you’re noticing the buzz word “lifestyle photographer”. What exactly is a lifestyle photographer?


There are a few different types of photography when it comes to family photos; Studio, Portrait, Lifestyle and Documentary. The definition for some of those can actually be quite different from photographer to photographer. Some photographers will incorporate more than one during a session while others stick to just one.

Since I am primarily a natural light, outdoor family photographer, I do not do studio portraits. However, during my sessions I tend to incorporate portrait, lifestyle and documentary. So what are each of these?


    Portraits to me, are the images where everyone looks at the camera and smiles. A lot of times these are the images Mom stresses over getting and are the gifts for grandparents. These can be beautiful and they have a purpose. But they usually don’t end up being my favorite from a session.




    Lifestyle photos for me, happen after the portrait of everyone smiling or looking at the camera. They are the images that capture real connection and emotion within the family. To bring out those emotions, I’ll set you up in a portrait pose, capture that image and then I break it apart with direction to take some of my favorite images from a session.






    For me, documentary images at a family session are the in between moments. There is no posing or direction, it is life as it is. Documentary images can happen walking between locations, in between poses, whenever the photographer is not involved and is just watching. These are also some of my favorite images because people tend to be more relaxed and natural. While I capture some documentary images during a family session, my beach sessions are 95% documentary in style.





All photographers have their own style and way they capture a session. When looking for a photographer be sure to find one whose portfolio speaks to you. Look at the images displayed on their site; are those the types of images you want of your family, on your walls? Don’t just go by the words, go by the images displayed too.

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