Why You Should Choose A Photojournalistic Style for your Family Portraits


Unless your one of those people who plan way ahead of time, It is probably about mid summer when you start to think about getting family photographs done for the fall. You scour the internet, instagram, facebook and look for recommendations. For family photographs you really find two very different styles. One is the photographer with the studio set up with all the bells and whistles. This photographer has prime lighting equipment, props and sometimes even wardrobe choices. This photographer may also be willing to meet you at a beautiful park or nearby landscaped location. The other option is the photographer that carries all of their equipment in a back-pack ready for any spur of the moment idea. This photographer cares less about pulling your chin forward, twisting your body this way and placing your hand here and more about authentic playfulness and emotion. There is no right or wrong choice. Both photographers are of equal value, it merely depends on the type of image you are looking for. If you have taken a moment to look at my work, I am sure you are able to guess which type of photographer I am. Most of my website is dedicated to Weddings and Elopements, however I do still do plenty of lifestyle family photos. In case you haven't caught on, I am the latter of the two photographers. I will give you 4 reasons why I choose a lifestyle approach.

1.) Remembering Exactly How it was Ten Years Ago is Important

When I announced I was starting a photography business I had a dear friend of mine ask me what would set me apart. I actually really loved that she had asked me that question, because I already had my answer for it and couldn't wait to talk about it. My answer was in a form of a question. I asked her, what is more important to you? Photographs taken by a professional on a nice background all smiling, or the photograph she had hanging of her father working in the garden? She looked at me and instantly responded with the one of her father. I told her that is the type of photographer I am going to be. Instead of capturing my clients "picture perfect", I capture them "imperfectly perfect". The reason she loved the photograph of her father gardening is because it is a piece of tangible legacy. This is how my friend remembered her father. Gardening was who he was. She has similar images etched in her brain of him doing this every summer. These are the photographs I too cherish. My favorite photograph of my son Hudson is not in his Easter outfit smiling at my camera, it is of him with a dirty face on out back deck with one of his cars in his hand. The second photo far better represents that moment in time than the one of him in his Easter outfit.


2.)Location Matters & A Lifestyle Photographer Gets That.

The photograph above is of one of my favorite families I photograph every year, the Gryzbowskis. This year they chose to do an “In home” lifestyle session at Mikes mothers house and included all the grand kids. Grandparents matter and we rarely get professional photographs with them, let alone at their home. Most kids remember going to their grandparent’s house. They remember the smell, the odd ball décor and the games they played at family reunions.These photographs are not only beautiful, but they remind us of these smells, odd décor and fun that was had growing up. Homes grow important to us as we grow in them. It isn’t until we leave our homes we realize how much they mean to us. Having photographs in a location that is meaningful will be far more appreciated years later.

3.) Less Stressing & More Playing

Kids want to play and parents are able to let them. I get clients all the time emailing me about how worried they are that their kids won’t cooperate. My reply is that, they probably won’t, especially if they are under the age of five and that is totally okay. I feel like with any new client who hasn’t worked with me before, I leave them with a slightly puzzled look on their face. As I am leaving, they generally apologize profusely for their kid’s behavior and mention they will be happy if I at least got a few. I try to tell my clients over and over I am not looking for perfect children. I am not after getting them to look at me and stand straight. I usually have to remind parents over and over to just let their kids be how they are. After delivery of their photos, I usually hear things like “I had no idea what you were photographing, now I get it”, or something to that effect. If you are booking a lifestyle photographer to capture your family, you do not need to stress. In fact, please don’t. The more relaxed you are and just go with the flow, the better your images. Don’t try to fit your session into a cookie cutter box.

4.) True Mannerisms to Help Us Remember

With a lifestyle family session, you get real emotions. This may not always be smiling & that is okay. By letting your kids play, sisters bug sisters and sisters get mad and that is when you get photographs like the above. As parents, we would like to think we will remember every mannerism our children have ever had. Unfortunately, time is a cruel thing, and we forget. Now that my oldest son is almost four, I am already relying on photographs much more than I thought I would to remember these things. The photos I look at are ones from my phone most. The ones where I was able to capture a quick moment in our day to day lives. When booking a family lifestyle session, this of it that way. Think of it as an outsider coming in to capture the day to day beauty of your family in a professional light.

... and don't worry a good lifestyle photographer knows you probably want a few "formal" ones as well. Guess what, we can do that too.