Lifestyle photography is without doubt my favourite genre of photography - one where you can capture an everyday moment or scene beautifully, and freeze that moment in time.
On the whole, this is how I capture my family every single day, rather than waiting for milestone moments like birthdays or the one-a-year family photos (which I love too, but in a different way!)
But of course, lifestyle photography has it’s challenges too, so here’s my five top tips for getting better child and family lifestyle photos.
#1 : Be Prepared! Get your camera ready
It’s always a good idea to be as prepared as you can be with your camera settings BEFORE you start shooting, so that you are able to take photos quickly.
If you are normally shooting indoors, start by attaching a lens with a shorter focal length lens to the camera - I use my Sigma 35mm f/1.4 most of the time (because I love it so!) although I’ll occasionally switch to the Canon 50mm F1.4 depending on my mood :-)
For outdoors, I prefer a longer length lens (although again this can change) but I love me a bit of background blur, and the longer focal length helps with this.
I’m a big believer in shooting in manual mode most of the time, so I have my camera left on that setting.
The first setting I usually choose is my Aperture, because that one setting usually gives me the most creative control. I’ll then set my shutter speed, based on what I’m capturing and how much movement there is, and finally the ISO, based on where I’m shooting (indoors or outdoors) and how much light there is available.
And I do all of this BEFORE I even lift the camera to my eye!
This helps ensure that when I do start metering for exposure, I already have my settings in the ballpark, and I only need to change one of them.
A quick tip for you - I always try to leave my camera with some of the settings pre-arranged for indoor shoots, and leave it in a place where I can get to it easily. It helps for those times when you just have a moment to grab your camera and take a shot!
#2 : Find the best light
Light can make or break your lifestyle image, and can even help turn it from a boring snapshot of an everyday moment into something much more artistic and engaging, so DO pay close attention to the light.
If you are planning an activity (for example, shots of your child painting) then be sure to set this up in a room that has plenty of natural light coming in, and set up the paint pots etc where you want your child to sit so that they have great light on them.
If outdoors, I recommend taking a moment to scout out the best location BEFORE you start shooting, and then just set yourself there for a while. In other words, DON”T run after your children - let them come to you!
This blog with 4 Tips for Keeping Up When Shooting In Manual Mode has some more tips that can help with this, and keeping up with changing your settings, so do give it a read!
#3 : Change your Shooting Angle
You can keep your everyday lifestyle images more fund and engaging by taking your images from different or unusual perspectives.
Try moving around your subject in a circle and see if you can take an image all around them at the same level, then try shooting from above, and then from below, or with you lying on your tummy!
It’s a great way to get more interesting angles in your images, and you never know which one might give you that wow shot!
#4 : Tidy up the frame
Not every single image benefits from a little tidy up, but as a general rule, have a quick look through your viewfinder and cast your eye around for anything that is in the frame that is detracting from the image (like a brightly coloured object in the background, or your handbag lying on the floor) or even just things that aren’t adding to it.
Even in lifestyle photography YOU as the photographer are responsible for everything in the frame, so always make sure that everything in there is adding (or at least not detracting) from the image.
Clear them up, move them out of the way, or change your shooting angle to tidy up the frame.
Of course, if the mess is ADDING to the story (for example, the chaos of Christmas morning, the general untidiness of a bedroom) then by all means, leave it in!
#5 : Look for connections
Capturing connections is one of the most fun elements of lifestyle photography, so keep an eye for times when you have a “moment” between two or more people, and try to capture it.
Of course, you can move this along if need be! Even just getting people to look at one another can help you get that connection.
Don’t forget to get yourself my free manual settings cheat sheet if you haven’t already - this will definitely help you make sure you get your settings right!
I’d love to see some of your images if you feel up to sharing! You can come along and say hi in my FREE Facebook Group, the Live Snap Love Lounge, and leave your image there. Most Thursdays we have a “picture share” so if you can wait until then, it’s the perfect place to post it AND get inspiration from others on the same journey as you!