What Is Lifestyle Family Photography? | Louisiana Family Photographer

When I began photographing families, mostly friends over the years, I always thought, "I hate "posing" people" and I wasn't sure how best to do that anyway. Looking back at those sessions, it's clear to me now that what I call lifestyle family photography is exactly what I have done all along! I just didn't know what to call it then. Now that I know exactly what it is that I do, I'd like to tell you, too. 

Guidance, not posing

When I think of the word "pose" in regard to family photography, I think of strategically positioning family members in perfect triangles, telling them not to move and to look at me while I shoot the image. I don't do that. I call it guidance, and it's more like me telling everyone where to stand, get really close to each other, look at each other, kiss, hug, touch, tickle, talk...etc. I usually touch people to help them to know what it is I want them to do. I do strategically place people where I want them in a way that will encourage connection, but it is also loosely interpreted. Each family will make the positioning unique because they bring different personalities in to the frame, and they interact and connect differently with each other. I also like to get everyone up and moving and walking to add more fun. I have found this really with young children enjoy their family session because they are allowed to move around and no one will tell them to hold still!

lifestyle family portraits, family sitting near hay bale, Louisiana family photography
Louisiana family photography, large family hugging

Connection vs perfection

I am not looking to photograph a perfect portrait of everyone looking and smiling at the camera. We may get a shot like that, but it's really not my goal. I don't feel anything when I see those types of images, and that's not what I like to show. My goal is to create connected images where family are hugging, laughing, touching, and playing to bring out the uniqueness in each relationship. The laughter and joy of siblings playing, the unconditional love in parents' embrace with their children, the protective hug of a husband and father corralling his family; THAT is what makes me feel something. 

baby brother and big brother hugging, louisiana family photography

Never say "cheese" again

I will NEVER ask a child to smile. When you see my images of smiling kids, you will know that they were actually having fun. And even if your kid has a moody or more serious personality, I want to show that in their portraits, not pretend that they were something they're not. I am totally okay with beautiful portraits of intense stares from kids, because sometimes kids, and all of us, are intense. No two people have the same personalities, and that's what makes us unique and special. 

daddy kissing little girl, Louisiana family photography
little girl hugging her mother, Louisiana family photography

Dynamic lighting

I like to shoot in all different lighting situations. Traditional family photography is generally created with even front light, which is indeed flattering; however, I love to shoot with backlight and more dramatic styles of light as well. They bring more emotion to portraits. I keep locations in mind that will provide for various lighting situations so that we can get all of these types of light in our session. 

daddy and baby boy, Louisiana family photography

All in the details

Without a doubt, we will get plenty of images with the whole family, but I also include zoomed-in shots of little details that show that connection I'm after. Particularly little hands in mommy's hair, whisps of curls, and unique traits really make my heart beat. Each child deserves his or her own solo portrait, and my favorite way to do this is in the arms of their parents. That's where young kids want to be, and I think it's so sweet!

little girl with long hair, Louisiana family photography
mommy's arms hugging little boy, Louisiana family photography

I hope I have given you a bit more information about how and why I make lifestyle family portraits. I really like to shoot with the intention that you will look at these images and not only see what you looked like, but also feel what it was like to kiss your husband, hug and tickle your precious bays, hear their laughter, and remember what all those things did for you. They filled your cup and made your heart beat. In years to come, you might not remember, but your portraits will.