The Anatomy of a Lifestyle Portrait Session
As a Portrait Photographer, there are times when clients seek beyond the ordinary posing, and come to be with something more candid. This style of portraiture would be considered a "Lifestyle" Portrait Session. The way the imagery is shot is a bit more photojournalist, that is to say, unprompted and unrehearsed.
These types of sessions lend themselves to normally be shot at the client's home, where they are most comfortable and relaxed.
My favorite lenses for these sessions, are the ones that allow me to shoot my subjects from a distance. This allows me to not intrude on the magic of the moment. A wide angle lens would also come handy when a bit more of the background is needed. Natural light is your best friend, as it is way less distracting then a strobe in someone's face, especially when you're trying to get them "in the moment". Shooting in wide apertures, is a must when shooting indoors. There are some great lenses out there, that can provide all the amenities desired to capture your client at their best indoors. They usually carry a pretty price tag, but as you probably already know, rentals are great options when on a budget! A DSLR that can perform well in low light, is desired (higher ISO range without all the noise). And of course, if need-be there are great programs that can add beautiful light to your images. However, the goal is to be a great photographer, and master your equipment FIRST!
Find a location indoors where the light coming from outside is pretty, and then explore all the little things that matter. Expression and storytelling are key. Make your subject feel comfortable. When shooting a child, play with them for a short while to get them to be themselves, they'll love you! That is what is most important, be genuine with your subjects, and get to know them...this is how you capture their true selves.
Avoid having your backgrounds look too sharp, this will distract the viewer from the subject in your photographs. Like I mentioned before, shoot wide open, and make sure you are metering for the brightest part of the subject...like their cheek (never an eye). I always shoot in Manual Mode, and make sure that I update my settings as I change rooms within the home. This is very important, because the light is ever changing...you don't want to get to your studio after your shoot, and find under or over exposed images that are unusable.
For more Tips & Tricks, stay tuned! If you have any questions regarding this article, or need advice, feel free to leave me a comment and I'd be more than happy to help.