Seven Tips for Executing a Successful Lifestyle Family Session

Lifestyle photography, especially with families, has surged in popularity. Many new photographers mistakenly believe that lifestyle photography involves just observing and capturing candid moments. However, successful lifestyle photographers know that these moments are often carefully crafted. Here are seven tips to help you execute a successful lifestyle family session.

candid moments crafted within a family photogrpahy session.

7 tips to help you execute a successful lifestyle family session

Get to Know the Family and Be Relatable

Creating genuine connection in lifestyle photography is crucial. This connection not only occurs between the subjects but also between the viewer and the photograph. When viewers feel something from a photo, it’s because something real was felt during the shoot. Take the time to get to know your subjects. Use client questionnaires to gather detailed information about each family member. During the session, engage in open conversation to make them feel comfortable. When families feel at ease, their authentic interactions translate into more meaningful photos.

lifestyle family session with family of 5 at sunset.

Establish a Session Flow

A well-structured session flow is essential for managing a lifestyle family session. With multiple family members to direct, having a plan guarantees that you capture the necessary shots while leaving room for creative freedom. Start with your essential shots, then guide the family into more natural, connected moments. Have a few go-to poses to set the stage, then guide interactions to create authentic connections. This approach helps maintain control and keeps the session enjoyable for everyone.

Know Your Light and Location

Light is a powerful element in photography, capable of evoking strong emotions and drawing viewers into an image. Schedule your sessions for optimal lighting, either in the morning or evening, and choose locations that offer variety and beauty. Ensure the location is suitable for the family’s needs, providing space for children to play and explore. Be mindful of how the environment complements your photos and always consider the impact of light on the emotional tone of your images.

large family session at sunset embracing the chaos.

Choose Moments Over Perfection

Lifestyle photography allows you to prioritize emotion and connection over perfect poses. Aim to capture what you feel, not just what you see. Think about the emotions you want to convey and direct your subjects accordingly. For instance, if you want to capture joy, encourage playful interactions like tickling. If you seek to portray love and protection, guide parents to hold and whisper to their children. Embrace creative techniques like intentional cropping or selective focus to emphasize the emotions you want to highlight.

Use Movement and Activities

Incorporating movement can help relax your subjects and add authenticity to your photos. Encourage families to walk, dance, or play together. Activities like tag, exploring the environment, or splashing in water can create genuine interactions and dynamic images. Movement not only brings a natural feel to the session but also helps subjects feel more comfortable and engaged.

example of a lifestyle family session at sunset with mom dad and daughter.

Embrace the Chaos

Chaos often leads to the most memorable and authentic photos. After capturing your essential shots, allow the family to interact naturally. Direct them into good light and then encourage playful or silly behavior. Some of the best images come from these seemingly chaotic moments. As photographers, our goal is not to present a picture-perfect family but to show them the beauty and perfection in their authentic, everyday interactions.

Don’t Forget the Details

The details of a moment can hold immense beauty and emotional depth. Pay attention to the small gestures and interactions, like a father’s protective embrace or a child’s hand reaching for their mother. When setting up a pose, take the time to capture these intimate details. They often tell the story of the session in a way that broader shots cannot.

BTS of Elena S Blair conducting a lifestyle family session

Putting it all together

Executing a successful lifestyle family session requires a blend of preparation, connection, and creativity. By getting to know your subjects, establishing a session flow, understanding light and location, prioritizing moments over perfection, incorporating movement, embracing chaos, and focusing on details, you can create meaningful and authentic photographs. Remember, lifestyle photography is about capturing the essence of a family and the genuine connections that define them. With these tips, you’ll be well-equipped to create beautiful, lasting memories for your clients.

Looking for more family photography education and support? Check out 8 family poses that always work!

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