10 Tips For Lifestyle Family Photography

Guest blog post by Jackie Boldt


life style family photography

#1 – Talk to the parents

This is vital when it comes to a lifestyle session.  They may have a plan, or they may want you to come in and photograph whatever they happen to be doing during that time.  Before you start shooting, you need to make sure you are on board with what the parents are looking for from the shoot.

life style family photography

#2 – Be ready for anything

This can mean naked children, silly expressions, pouting, crying, and gymnastics.  You may think the parents would not want those types of photos.  However, if they are booking you for a lifestyle photo shoot, those are exactly the types of photos they want!

life style family photography

#3 – Don’t forget the details

Whether it’s a child’s bare feet, a birthday cake, room décor, a special toy, they are all important aspects of the session.  It shouldn’t be the focus, though, unless it is what the parent is going for.  Not every client has a perfectly decorated house, but every child will have some special details to photograph.


#4 – It’s OK if it’s not completely sharp

Most of the time with a lifestyle family photo shoot, you are working indoors with limited light.  If you are capturing an action shot of a girl running around with balloons in her diaper, it may be OK if the photo is a little blurry.  Getting a shutter speed high enough to freeze that movement may be difficult, unless you introduce an alternative light source.

life style family photography

#5 – Keep the camera clicking

Things can transition very quickly with lifestyle sessions.  Always, always have the camera ready and keep snapping.  You may catch your best moments that your eye is too slow to see, but your camera isn’t!


#6 – Anticipate lighting changes

You may not to be able to control the lighting when kids are on the go.  One minute you’ll be photographing with flat lighting, the next you are moving to a backlit situation.  Then you may have a mix of ambient and natural lighting.  The important thing is to stay on your toes, know your camera and its settings, and anticipate the lighting.

life style family photography

#7 – Get close and intimate

Don’t be afraid to get up close and intimate.  Your wide-angle lens should be your friend, and if you don’t have one, it is a necessity before delving into the lifestyle photography world.

life style family photography

#8 – Don’t dismiss the “throwaways”

You are telling a story, the whole story.  You will want to err on the side of presenting more to the client vs. less.  They hired you to showcase the ones that may not be perfect at first glance.  Expect to edit anywhere from 50-75 images from a lifestyle session, making sure you are showing images encompassing the entirety of the shoot.


#9 – It’s OK to take posed shots

True lifestyle photography is less about posed and more about allowing life to happen naturally.  However, there is a time and place for a posed family shot here and there.  Most clients do want a clean photo of the family or children looking at the camera.

life style family photography

#10 – And always remember, there are no rules

Lifestyle shoots are based on what the parents want and what you can capture during the time you are there.  You still want to maintain the basic rules of lighting, composition, etc, but there is so much more flexibility and creativity allowed with lifestyle photography.


To enjoy true lifestyle photography, you need to be able to let go of control of the session and be on your toes the entire time.  It’s about quickly, but accurately, capturing timeless moments for the family just the way they are.

life style family photography

Author Bio:

My name is, Jackie Boldt, and I am a Lifestyle Child and Family Photographer located in St. Paul, MN.  I have always shot with a lifestyle approach, even before lifestyle photography was popular!  My favorite types of sessions are when things are completely chaotic and crazy, because those yield the best photographs. I keep chaos in my own life by juggling my photography business with being a stay-at-home-mom to 3.  I somehow find time to write on my new informational website for photographers called The Photographer’s Dream House with tips and tricks for photographers on how to build their businesses.  Thanks for reading!








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