All About your Lifestyle Session: What is a Lifestyle Session
A lot of people use the term ‘lifestyle session’ to describe a any kind of non-studio portraiture, when but when you ask the question ‘what is a lifestyle session’ what you probably want to know is what your experience, as the client, is like. A lifestyle session is more than just the esthetics of a candid image, a lifestyle session is a whole approach.
Let me walk you through what it will be like, as a client, to be a part of a lifestyle session and you’ll start to understand if this is the best way to tell your unique story!
Maternity lifestyle sessions
Maternity lifestyle sessions are about capturing how you feel as a parent-to-be. We can tell any story that you want to tell and we use your reflections during pregnancy to help plan. Maternity lifestyle can involve your partner, other kids, pets or it can be a quiet moment by yourself. There’s no need for flower crowns or maternity gowns, but if you want to rock those you absolutely can.
Maternity sessions should reflect what you want to show in your story. Some clients want a chill at home maternity session where they’re cuddling with their partner and soaking in the quiet before the chaos. Others like to head outdoors and spend time where they feel comfortable; beaches and water are always amazing options. Others like to keep it chill and honour the journey their body is going through and opt for a simple in-home session in a variety of outfits or undergarments, and celebrate their body.
Whatever story you want to tell with your maternity photos, we’ll help create the script for you. We send out a pre-session questionnaire that will help us understand your vision for the session. Once we have a shared vision and determine our location, the session will involve gentle guidance and prompts to help evoke emotion instead of asking you to just “look and smile” – it’s all about capturing the authentic you, not the cookie-cutter poses! We’ll give you ideas on how to stand, where to sit, what to do with your hands, but instead of asking for cheesy smiles, we give you things to do or to think about or to talk about and that’s where your natural personality will shine through and foster the creation of unique images.
Newborn lifestyle sessions
Newborn lifestyle sessions primarily take place indoors and this is for a few reasons. First and foremost – temperature control! Outdoor can be windy, too cold, too hot or too sunny for your little one! From our experience, true newborns are not happy campers outside! Second, being outside of your home and outside of your personal spaces removes a level of intimacy from your photos as you have less around you to interact with. There’s no rocking chair, no crib, no bed for cuddles – it’s a very different vibe and leads slightly to more traditional portraiture rather than a fully immersive lifestyle session.
Newborn sessions are always lead by the baby – they are the boss of things! When they need to be changed, we stop and change them. When they need to eat, we stop and feed them (and we can continue taking photos while feeding if you wish to have those memories too!). The newborn will always be the boss and I’m cool with that!
Sessions start by exploring the household; we’ll look for areas of awesome light as well as comfy, cozy areas to gather. We’ll systematically move through the home and use various rooms and elements such as couches, rocking chairs and beds to capture memories. We’ll give you ideas of how to stand, where to sit or what to do and then provide you with prompts to help evoke natural emotion, movement and experiences. We’ll ask you to snuggle your baby, whisper sweet wishes to them, snuggle with your spouse and have family hug time. We’ll get you laughing, reminiscing and wishing beautiful wishes for the future all while framing and capturing the moments as they happen.
Newborn sessions often include images of:
- Bath time
- Skin-to-skin time
- Details (fingers, toes, etc.)
Just like with any other lifestyle session, a questionnaire will go out to you as a part of your new client welcome package and that questionnaire will include all the necessary information for us to be able to plan a session that meets your needs and comfort level.
Young Family lifestyle sessions
Everyone has a different idea of what a ‘young’ family is, but as both a mom and a photographer, I feel like a young family is one where the kid(s) are not yet school aged (so generally under 5). It’s important to distinguish whether you’re working with an “older” family or a “younger” family because it helps plan the session and ensure that appropriate expectations are in place. From my experience as a mom and a photographer, children younger than school-age are beautifully chaotic – they do what they feel like doing and trying to evoke emotion from them is next to impossible; rather, you need to set them up to experience that emotional naturally.
Sessions typically take place both in home and outdoors although like with newborn photos, being in your home allows you to relate to your personal surroundings more and can foster experiences where candid imagery thrives. As with other sessions, we provide gentle instruction and a few tips here and there – especially for the parents – to ensure that everyone is in the right mindset to enjoy their experience and create real memories, rather than “looking at the camera and smiling”. Prompts don’t work as well for the littls, though, so instead of asking them questions that they wouldn’t necessarily know how to answer, we keep things age appropriate and play-based. When working both indoors and outdoors, it’s best to start indoors and finish with the outdoor adventure.
Your session may include:
- Eating (or smashing?) birthday cake
- Bath time fun (appropriate, of course!)
- Outdoor water fun
- Going to the beach
- Playing in the lake
- Playing with stuffies
- Having a tea party
- Jumping on the bed
- Hanging with the family pets
- Piggy back rides
- Enjoying music
- Splashing in puddles
- Showing off favourite toys
We always want to make sure that we have a shared vision for your session, so we’ll send out a questionnaire as a part of your welcome package to help us understand more about your family and how we can capture your memories.
School-aged family lifestyle sessions
School-aged children, unlike younger children, have a greater ability to understand and appreciate the variety of prompts that we use to evoke natural emotion. They enjoy our (possible lame) jokes and really get into the idea of what the session is all about. Older kiddos can handle a completely outdoor session; since they have the ability to connect with our prompts, they can immerse themselves deeply with those around them and rely less on their surroundings for inspiration. Although, with that being said, we will want to include play and adventure into our session regardless but we can also appreciate the fact that the older kiddos can have moments of quiet and sincerity to create a broader variety in your photos.
For older children, junior high or highschool, we make sure prompts for them are age appropriate so they don’t feel like they’re having “kids pictures” taken. It’s all about knowing your audience!
Your session can include:
- Going to your favourite park
- Baking treats
- Going for ice cream
- Playing hide-and-seek
- Exploring a new neighbourhood
- Playing games
- Sprinklers and slide-and-slides
- Hanging with the family pets
- Enjoying music
Like all other sessions, we want you to feel comfortable knowing that we have a shared vision. We’ll talk about what your goals of the session are, any unique circumstances that may require navigation and plan something that reflects the memories you’re striving to capture.
If you’ve ever wondered ‘what is a lifestyle session’, I’m happy that you finally know the answer! Lifestyle sessions are not for everyone, but they are perfect for those who are focused on capturing moments, emotions and the fleeting memories that are otherwise lost to time. Lifestyle sessions are for folks who feel deeply, love fiercely and have a passion for finding the beauty in every day moments.