Being a Toronto Lifestyle Photographer, one of the most popular questions I get asked is “What is lifestyle photography?”  I figure it’s about time to shed some light on what lifestyle photography so you can better understand this unique yet timeless approach to photography and see if it’s a good fit for your family.

This section is our extended FAQ collection and contains 20+ of the most popular questions people ask when booking a lifestyle photographer.

What is Lifestyle Photography

If you really want to simplify it, lifestyle photography is a type of candid photography (although truthfully it’s so, so much more than just candid photos).  Lifestyle photography aims to capture people in real-life situations with genuine emotion and in a matter that is a combination of photojournalism and fine-art. The goal of lifestyle photography is to capture a story; uninterrupted and with the utmost care.

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What types of Sessions do you Book?

Many clients will book lifestyle sessions for:

Family sessions, maternity sessions, newborn sessions and confidence sessions (aka a modern approach to boudoir photography)

While those types of sessions are totally awesome; lifestyle photography can have a place in your life beyond your yearly family portrait.  Lifestyle photography is there for the adventures in life, such as:

Decorating the Christmas tree, bringing home a new pet, going apple picking, going pumpking picking (and even carving that pumpkin!), learning how to ride a bike, learing how to skate, going on a farm adventure, going on a hike and so much more!

If you’re shooting candids, we can still do posed pictures, right?

While it’s normal for us to extend the olive branch to you and work in one posed photo (the obligatory “let’s do this for grandma” shot) if you truly desire it, lifestyle photography is not about shot-lists, structure or strict rules.  It’s about fun, it’s about natural behaviours, natural emotions and unpredictable outcomes.  About 99-100% of the photos from each session are truly candid in nature, except for that obligatory “for grandma” shot we mentioned earlier.

If you’re looking for posed photos with more structure, you may find your needs are better met with a traditional portrait photographer.

But doesn’t candid photography mean you might catch me at a weird angle?  Or an angle that may not be my “best” angle?

Yeppers, it sure does!  Lifestyle photography means we’re going to capture you from a variety of angles.

Let’s get serious for a moment, though.  We all have that one “magic angle”.  You know what I’m talking about; that angle we turn to when we look in the mirror.  That “Oh yeah, I look awesome if I stand exactly like this” pose we all do each and every morning (myself included).  The thing about the magic angle is that it’s not reproducible in real life.  Unless you’re hiring a portrait photographer who does strict posing where you are only ever in that one particular angle, there’s a good chance that during a lifestyle session you will be captured from a variety of angles.

But you know what?  It’s okay, because you’re awesome just the way you are.  Lifestyle sessions are about capturing emotion and those fleeting moments in life that you wish you could hold on to forever.  It’s about taking some intangible and turning it into a tangible product.  You are loved for who you are, right now, at any angle you’re seen at.

This is the time, though, where I have to mention that lifestyle photography isn’t right for everyone.  If you’re truly not comfortable being photographed from a variety of angles, you may not find that lifestyle photography is a good fit for your needs.

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Is Lifestyle Photography right for me?

I know we touched on this a wee bit above, but let’s elaborate.  If you’re the type of person who wants to capture the raw, natural emotions of life; those fleeting moments that you wish you could hold on to forever, then lifestyle photography might be a great fit for you.  Our lifestyle clients are relaxed, fun-loving and understand that candid photography, unlike posed photography, is a true representation of who you are, what you look like and what you are feeling at that very moment.  Lifestyle photography isn’t for everyone and that’s okay!  While we’d love to photograph you, we want to photograph people who we know will be relaxed and care-free in front of our lens in order for us to provide you with the best possible experience.

What type of editing do you do on the photos?

Our editing style is that of an earthy, warm and colourful look. We also love black and white images. You will receive a variety of colour and black and white images.

Where our editing stops; however, is in terms of what we call “magazine style” editing. We do not lighten wrinkles, we do not slim down love-handles and we don’t retouch skin. Lifestyle photography is a genuine snapshot in time; it’s of you as you appear right now.

But I’m really self-conscious, can you “Photoshop” my skin/body a little bit?

We’re all self-conscious about something; even I am! It’s normal to feel that way. That’s important to remember, however, is that you are loved. You are loved for who you are at this very moment just the way you are.

For those concerned about skin, we recommend considering having your makeup professionally applied before the session as this may help you feel extra confident. For those who have concerns of body image, we suggest to wear an outfit that makes you feel truly wonderful from all angles, that is comfortable and that you can move in. Making things look great in camera (instead of in post-production) is the #1 way to help address any issues of self-consciousness.

If you still feel like this may not be the best way to address your concerns, lifestyle photography may not be the best fit for you as you may find more comfort in the controlled environment of a studio.  As we mentioned above, our editing process does not involve skin correction or body contouring as this is contrary to one of the goals of lifestyle photography.

Where are you based?

We are based out of Toronto.

Where do you travel to?

We photograph families that are within about 60 or so minutes of Toronto. For those who live beyond this radius a custom travel quote can be given but we are certainly happy to travel!

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What should I bring to the session?

If there is something you want to bring to the session, especially for the kids (like a stuffy or their favourite toy) that you feel will help keep everyone calm and happy then by all means bring it! There is no need, however, to bring props for posing with that you wouldn’t otherwise use in the session.  If you do have a bag of things with you on the day of the session, it’s best to leave it in the car so that you’re not carrying it during the session as it will end up in photos.

Who can I bring to the session?

Lifestyle sessions are intimate sessions. For any type of family lifestyle session we recommend that only the immediate family be present; the ones who you live with every day; the main characters in your story.

While there are a few ways to incorporate extended family members into your story, it does require some additional planning as well as communication in regards to expectations. If you’d like to incorporate extended family members into your session please contact us and let us know prior to booking as special arrangements may need to be made.

Do you have an assistant?

Lifestyle photography does not require an assistant; in fact, it’s important that the amount of people present at the session is as minimal as possible.

How many photos will we get?

We include all of the usable photos from your session.  We don’t hold any images hostage.

Each 2-hour session yields between 60-80 edited photos of your story. While this number can vary slightly based on specific occurrences during your session, it’s a pretty accurate average.

Of course we remove the images that are blurry or not technically up to par since no one wants to see those; this is called culling and is a normal process that all photographers go through.

When do I receive my photos?

Photo editing can take, on average, between 2-3 weeks based on seasonal workload.  When the editing is complete you will receive a link to an online gallery where you can immediately download your photos.

How far in advance should we book?

We suggest booking 2-3 months in advance although it’s always possible that there may be last minute availability. Saturdays typically fully booked with weddings with the majority of lifestyle sessions occurring on weekdays or Sundays.

How do we book?

If you’d interested in booking a lifestyle session with us simply email [email protected] and let us know which type of session you’d like to be book and what your ideal time-frame would be. From there we can compare calendars and set a date.

A $200 non-refundable retainer is required to hold your date with the remaining balance due 48 hours prior to the session.

Why do you require a retainer?

Requiring a retainer separates those who are serious about their photo sessions from those who don’t have their full heart in it.  While we understand that some people are hesitant to provide retainers, please remember that once we receive your retainer we start working for you.  We start planning your sessions, consulting with you, location scouting and reserve our own child care for when we’ll be out photographing your session.  Providing a retainer is a sign of good faith that our relationship will be strong, professional and reliable.

We cannot make any exceptions in regards to booking without a retainer.

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How do reschedules and cancellations work?

Please see our studio policies regarding rescheduling and cancellation.

What should we wear?

Choosing outfits is often the most difficult part of planning a session. We recommend to avoid shirts with logos and to consider keeping mom and dad in neutrals or solid colours and choosing a pattern for the kids.  Avoid wearing decorative scarfs as they can have a tendency to hide your jawline and add unnecessary bulk. For those who are scheduling a summer session, be aware that certain colours or fabrics of clothing may accentuate perspiration so plan accordingly.  (If you’re the type of person who frequently perspires in the summer, consider a spring or fall session instead.)

If you don’t consider yourself particularly trendy, check out some of the latest images that are up on the Gap, H&M, American Eagle or Anthropology website for inspiration.

Our friends at Paper Deer Photo also have lovely Pinterest boards that are perfect for inspiration:

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What if it rains?

Please see our studio policies regarding rain.

I don’t want my images posted online, is that possible?

We understand and appreciate the desire for privacy which is why we choose not to use any names in our blog post or social media postings. Should you choose to tag yourself in our posts you’re more than welcome to.

We also want to ensure that our clients understand that in order for us to obtain future commissions from future clients, we must have a portfolio of work to show. The same way you looked at our portfolio to choose us, future clients will do the same. The more work we show, the more clients we attract organically – that means clients who find us without us having to pay for advertising.

The fee listed in our packages is a fee that is based on us being granted permission to use the images. If you wish your images to remain off-line and out of our portfolio, please contact us so we can discuss options.

How do you make the albums?

Using the online gallery of images, the client can select and share with us the images they want in their album. Once we receive the images we will begin the design of the album based on your photos and send it for print. If you wish to proof your album before it goes to print, a proofing fee of $99 per proofing session will apply.

From our experience, almost every single client who has ever proofed an album in the past has opted not to change anything about it.  This is why we send the album for print without proofing, unless requested by the client, as it saves the client time and money.

Can I get the un-edited/raw files too?

We have worked hard over the years to establish our style; this includes how we edit our images. For that reason and many more, we choose to only sell completed images; this means images that have already had the edits applied.  We do not sell unedited images and we do not sell RAW files.

Can I post my images online?

Of course!  We are always delighted to see that clients love their images enough to want to share them online. When doing so, please attribute a photo credit to Ten.2.Ten Photography. We also ask you to kindly refrain from applying any Instagram filters, re-editing or cropping the images.

Can you photograph my baptism, family reunion, first communion, etc?

Lifestyle photography is a little bit different than event photography in that not only the type of story told is different but the type of equipment needed is also different. If you have an event that you need photographed, we can provide a custom quote for you.