Natural Lifestyle Photography Cheat Sheet
Your guide to creating more natural lifestyle photography moments
So, what is Lifestyle photography?
This term tends to get loosely used by many photographers and can have a different meaning depending on the photographer you choose. Lifestyle photography typically refers to everyday moments that we aim to capture as naturally as possible.
When done right, this genre of photography can capture everyday moments and turn them into something magical that we can look back on for years to come!
It creates a feeling of nostalgia; there is something perfect in the imperfection of a real-life moment, wouldn’t you agree?
That said, to truly create more natural photos, a photographer needs to spend hours with a family to document those moments. And this is not always possible.
So we have a few tips to help you get more natural lifestyle photography in a one-hour photoshoot.
1. Different types of Lifestyle photography
2. Naturally Posed lifestyle photography
3. Photo Prompting
1. Different types of lifestyle photography
We package lifestyle photography events such as newborn photography, a cake smash, or birthday photoshoots together to make lifestyle photography more manageable.
Although these aren’t the true sense of lifestyle moments, they give you a snippet of an amazingly memorable life moment! These photos are controlled and tend to be more posed and set up. You can go all out and set up with décor and balloons and props, pose as a family in a studio or outdoor and direct the family on how to stand or sit etc.
For some great ideas on lifestyle poses, why not check out this post from the South African ≫!
Some of the more popular lifestyle photography shoots we do at Renphotos are:
1. Couple/ engagement lifestyle photography is popular as a gift for a loved one. It is a great way to get romantic, intimate shots for you to remember as a couple together.
I would suggest getting more natural lifestyle shots as these tend to come out better than posed photos, but the choice is yours.
2. Maternity lifestyle photography such as the ones in the album above is trendy and a great way to remember this beautiful time in your life. They can all create beautiful memories, from the little details to more dramatic ways to show off your bump.
3. Newborn lifestyle photography can be posed photos with props, which takes a long time to set up and needs to be done within 7 to 10 days of a baby being born.
It requires a lot of time and patience, but by the end of it, you will have a lovely record of your baby in the first few days of their life in the cutest wraps and positions possible!
You can also opt to do this a little later and get more natural photos as a family and baby, but then generally, doing photos in wraps and all curled up is not possible. This is completely fine if this is the look you want!
4. Cake Smash and Bubble Bath or Milk Bath photography is a great photoshoot to celebrate baby milestones and normally happens for the first birthday. These are creative ways to get babies to engage with the camera, so it’s best to do something they enjoy already.
If they love getting their hands dirty, then go for a cake smash, or if they love their bath, opt for a bubble bath photography session. Of course, you can do more natural photos if neither of these appeals to you. The sky is the limit!
5. Family Lifestyle photography is getting the family together, large or small, outdoor, indoor or in-studio and getting those shots you want of different family combinations.
This photography style can range from very posed to amazingly natural, and the look and feel will depend on your photographer and what you have communicated with them.
If you want a more natural look, I would suggest checking that the photographer will do this for you and look at their portfolio or ask them to see similar work beforehand.
6. Birthday and Milestone Lifestyle photography are all those moments in life we love to celebrate, and a photo shoot is a great way to do just that!
So bring out the balloons, cake and champagne to create some moments you can look back on and proudly remember that time in your life.
2. Naturally posed lifestyle photography
There are some advantages to being able to pose your subjects. You can control the light and background and make sure you can present your subject in the most flattering way possible. However, posed photos can lose some of the magic that a more natural photo can have.
So, how do we get some of that magic back? Here are some of our tips for doing just that.
1. Get your subjects to do something they love as a family anyway. This can help get them to loosen up and have more fun, and as a result, you can get genuine smiles and laughter. Some good examples are board games or throwing and kicking a ball around.
2. Use props that can help create more natural actions. Some good examples are bubbles for kids to blow or that parents can blow for children to catch. Or a book that parents can read to children.
3. Get someone to stand behind the photographer and play peekaboo for small children! Or pull funny faces to make the subject laugh or smile more naturally.
4. Get everyone to race towards the photographer – this produces a natural, fun photo either of just kids or the whole family
5. Go on a treasure hunt – this can be simply looking at bugs or flowers in the garden, or an actual treasure hunt when you hide things for kids to find, or parents to help them find – it’s a great one to do at easter with an easter egg hunt.
6. Seasonal natural poses, such as hanging baubles on a Christmas tree, can also create great family moments.
7. Use photo-prompting to get a more natural look from your subjects – more on that below.
3. Photo-prompting for more natural lifestyle photography
Prompting is a way to get your subjects to loosen up and act more naturally in front of the camera. At Renphotos, I go out of my way to make my subjects feel more comfortable in front of the camera, and here is one of the ways I do just that!
You can use many different prompts depending on the lifestyle shoot, so here are three examples, each for couples and children photoshoots.
Photo prompting for a couples lifestyle photoshoot.
A couples lifestyle photography shoot is usually more romantic and intimate, so I use some prompts to get those close-up moments.
1. Get one of the couples to whisper something in the other ear – I normally say I don’t want to know what it is, but they must make them laugh – this inevitable brings giggles from both of them and gets a natural look.
2. Make him stand behind her and give her a bear hug – once in position, ask her to try and get away from him – this also often brings a playful laugh.
3. Ask one of them to kiss the favourite part of the other face, and vice versa. It usually produces a more tender moment between a couple.
Photo prompting for children during the family lifestyle photography shoot.
Kids can be infinitely harder to get to act naturally in front of the camera, so here are some of the photo prompts I sometimes use to get those cheeky giggles.
1. Get parents to tickle the kids while standing with them. This often gets a funny giggle from both parents and kids. If they aren’t ticklish, you can try picking them up and turning them over, swinging them around or turning in circles.
2. Play Simon Says – this is an excellent game for kids and can produce all sorts of actions and great expressions. You can also use the Simon Says rule to get them to do something you want them to like sin says kiss mum on the cheek, Simon says hug dad etc.
3. Use fill in the blank questions – get everyone to sit together, and then ask them questions they need to fill in the blank, such as who eats the most, farts the loudest or who is the naughtiest! These always bring some giggles and get the family to look at each other, making great images.
On that note, Kathryn from the Becoming You Blog has some great tips on how to prepare for a lifestyle photoshoot ≫!
And that’s it! Getting a more natural look in lifestyle photography can be difficult and takes a professional to get it right. Still, it’s not impossible and using these tips and tricks can help achieve the look and feel you want to create the everyday moments you can look back on!
So remember, before you book your photographer be sure that you are on the same page as to what you want from your photoshoot and the feel you want your photos to have. Check out our Lifestyle Photography Blog ≫ for more tips and examples of lifestyle photoshoots we have done. We run specials throughout the year, such as for Mothers Day ≫ and Birthdays ≫!