Willow Tree Images | Potsdam, NY Family, Newborn, Maternity & Senior Photography | Lifestyle vs. Posed Photography

lifestyle photography by Willow Tree Images, Potsdam, NY; Professional photography in St. Lawrence County, NY

What exactly is “lifestyle” photography, anyway? 

Many people have heard the term used but only have a vague idea of what it actually means.  In the simplest of terms, it’s the "opposite" of posed portrait photography.  If posed portraiture and lifestyle photography were on two ends of a spectrum, the first would be a structured session with backdrops, props, studio lighting, and formal posing.  On the other end of the spectrum, lifestyle photography would be, perhaps, a series of black and white photographs of a family hanging out at home on a Sunday morning: the kids running around with messy hair and footed pajamas, Dad flipping pancakes, Mom giving the baby a bath, etc.

A more artistic alternative to formal studio portraiture, lifestyle photography aims to capture subjects in their natural surroundings, doing things they’d normally be found doing.  It's an un-forced, un-scripted approach whereby the subject, setting, and background elements are woven together to tell a visual story; for this reason lifestyle photography is also commonly referred to as storytelling photography.  

I often describe lifestyle photography as being more of an organic approach to photography, because the images aren’t affected by any "artificial" influences.  The posing is very minimal, and images are shot without the use of props, backdrops, or studio lighting.  The subjects are aware of the camera, so the images aren’t truly candid, but they do have a more natural, documentary feel.  Many photographers - myself included - use lifestyle photography in their own lives as a method of documenting everyday moments in unique and artistic ways

While lifestyle and posed portrait photography are different, they aren’t an either/or option that you’ll be forced to choose from; most of my client work usually ends up being a blend of both styles.  Studio sessions can be arranged to have a lifestyle feel, and both outdoor and in-home photos can be formally posed.  When you book your session, one of the very first things we will discuss is where on the portrait-lifestyle spectrum you’d like your session to fall.  (And if you have no idea, that’s okay too!) :)