The photos featured in this blog are from a lifestyle maternity and family photoshoot set in my clients' home. The mom coordinated the shoot with me and had some specific requests. She wanted to get her entire family (2 boys, husband and their 2 dogs) together for some Lifestyle photos in their home and she wanted a silhouette shot of her bump. It was not her priority to get everyone smiling at the camera because she felt that might make things uncomfortable and she really wanted to keep it casual for her kids. As a photographer I am happy that Lifestyle photography is gaining popularity because it allows for a lot more creativity and for capturing moments + emotion. I also know that people can get nervous when being photographed (even kids), so while it's nice to get pictures of people smiling//that might not be realistic if your children or spouse "aren't into it".
So what do you do for a Lifestyle photoshoot? Well first of all, the priority is to interact with each other (not to look at the camera). It doesn't mean you can't look at the camera but my own rule is to not look unless I'm showing genuine emotion or 100% confident in looking at the camera. If my smile feels fake or frozen I stop smiling and look at my husband or kids and interact with them. This is what I direct my clients to do because I find people can't hold poses or smiles very long without looking stiff or uncomfortable. Movement and interaction with other people creates natural expressions and body language.
That all being said, I should also clarify that Lifestyle is not completely candid like Documentary photography. It does require posing and direction from the photographer to the subjects to set up and light the "scene" for the image(s). And then of course participation from the subjects to interact with one another. This is where a lot of people get hung up. What do I do? They might think they need to follow the photographer's exact orders or they will fail. But really, there is no failing (you are the actor playing yourself, the subject). The best stuff usually comes from a combination of my direction and the subject improvising and just being theirselves. So the truth of the matter is just not to take yourself too seriously so that you can get relaxed enough to take natural photos. At first it might feel funny or fake, like “acting” to pretend the camera is not there...but in order to GET emotion you have to be open to GIVING it first. And the ball needs to get rolling somewhere! I can give you general guidance and direction on how to interact, but ultimately the more it's "you" the more you'll be in your element. It's best to start choosing some kind of interaction or location that is natural for you and your family members, like sitting on the couch with your dog. Then be how you want to look in your head and you will become that.
Of course that can be easier said than done when people are stressed or just don't know how they want to look or be. That's ok just do your best! It might sound silly but a good way to understand how you want to look in photos is for you to start taking selfies (not to share with anyone but yourself) and reviewing them regularly to find what you like or don't like. It will also help you to understand how you look day-to-day in different light... which is a very good starting point in order to get more photos that you like of yourself! This is something I've done for myself and it has worked for me. I also suggest wearing clothing that does not reveal anything you want to hide because it will show in the photos. Sometimes this can be difficult to identify because we don't see ourselves from all the angles other people do, so you actually have to study yourself in the mirror in different lighting. I like discussing wardrobe choices with my clients and will happily talk you through options and/or provide feedback. Lastly, I want to empower you to be yourself during our photoshoot so please share anything you think you want to do or that will make you comfortable. This is a joint effort to make some art together and let’s fully embrace it and plan our session!
Here is some inspiration from a recent maternity in-home family session. Enjoy!