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What is a Lifestyle Photographer?

 27th Oct 2020

There are so many different genres of photography. I love dabbling in a bit of everything myself particularly landscape, portraits and street photography.

Lifestyle photography as a form of documentation has always played a key role in photography history. 

I know that lifestyle photography will resonate with a lot of you which is why this blog is so important. I want to help you explore your creativity and discover new styles of photography. 

What is a lifestyle photographer?

A lifestyle photographer aims to shoot candid portraits of people.

People in real life situations but in a creative and well executed way. A good lifestyle photographer tells stories about people’s lives and gives viewers the opportunity to relive history through their images.


Here is a great example from Cambodia. A snapshot of a real life situation that tells a story. 

What do you feel when you look at this photo? What do you imagine is happening?

The lifestyle approach can be applied to all person focused photography but many photographers feel that it suits family photography the best. 

Whilst unstaged images of families are much more realistic than cold staged portraits, I love using lifestyle photography out and about. You can really use your artistic expression to capture stories to share.

Tips for brilliant lifestyle photography

If you’re a regular here you’ll know that I am a massive advocate of practice, practice and more practice. 

Specifically for lifestyle photography though, these are the big tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be authentic

    You want to genuinely capture unexpected moments. Don’t plan your subjects or pose them. Let it happen!
  2. Do plan in other ways

    Technical planning is always beneficial because it means less faffing when you’re in the moment. Check the light, get your settings right so you’re good to go.

    If you’re photographing a family then spend some time on personal planning, get to know them. Encourage them to do something they love or would naturally be doing in that moment.
  3. Pay attention to details

    Don’t forget the details! Is a girl painting her grandmother’s nails? Don’t just get their faces, include the intimate details of the hand holding, the painting, the emotion in that moment.
  4. Get involved (but also blend in)

    Whether you’re capturing some local kids playing football or freezing an interaction between a market merchant and customer - ask questions, find out their story so it can influence how you take the photo. At the same time don’t be obvious! Illicit engagement without taking over.
  5. Tell a story

    Don’t think in shots, think like a storyteller. What feelings will people experience when they look at the image? Will they be interested in more than just that moment?
  6. Shoot from the hip

    This is a great little exercise. It helps you be really discreet and can get you some unexpected perspectives!
  7. Change your perspective

    We know from tip 6, that is one way to do it! What I mean here is use your feet. Don’t wait for your moment to shift when you can shift yourself and get the perspective you want. Don’t be afraid of trying all sorts of angles!


Remember to trust your instincts, be aware of your surroundings and have your camera ready. 

I guarantee you will get some amazing experience and come home with some fantastic stories!

When you understand your camera and are ready to get more creative it’s time to invest in Seven Building Blocks of Photography.

This course is designed to give you the tools to:

  • Think like a Photographer
  • Use and predict light
  • Find compositions that work
  • Instinctively know which focal length lens you need
  • Know which Camera Settings to use
  • Take home images you're proud to have taken
  • Gain confidence as a photographer

Take the next step in your photography journey!