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Lifestyle family photography vs traditional family photography

You're dreaming of beautiful pictures that capture your family. But you might be surprised that there are two major types of photography: traditional family photography, and lifestyle family photography.

What photographers mean by traditional family photography?

Traditional family portraits are captured either in a studio or on location (like a park). The photographer will put your family into different poses and have you smile and look at the camera for the photo. The photos will be variations of the family posed together smiling at the camera.

Because they are more styled and posed, they are slightly more formal.

Traditional family portrait pose. Pittsburgh family photographer LeeAnn K Photography
Traditional family portraits - as you can see the families are facing the camera and are posed. They are slightly more formal

So, what is lifestyle family photography?

While every photographer has a different definition, in it's essence, lifestyle photography is about capturing real moments.

Lifestyle family portraits weave together a visual story of that particular time in a family's life. These portraits have deep sentimental value because they immortalize snippets of reality.

Lifestyle family portraits are often taken in the home but can be taken at a favorite family hangout. They're very flexible - these fun family portraits can also be taken at a studio, or outdoors, where natural lighting is plentiful.

Lifestyle family photography can capture a family's life how they interact, connect, and love one another.

In my lifestyle photography, I will lightly pose family members and have them interact with one another using prompts. For example, I might pose a family in a comfortable seated position and say "uh oh, I think mom is gonna tickle you."

Lifestyle family photography vs traditional family photography

So how is it different from traditional family photography? Very little posing, looking at each other instead of looking at the camera, wearing their favorite clothing... you get it. It just captures your family.

Here's a chart summarizing the difference between family portraits and lifestyle family portraits:

Chart summarizing Traditional family portraits verse lifestyle family portraits. LeeAnn K Photography

Which kind of family photography is right for you?

Each style of photography is great it just depends on what type of photos you feel drawn to the most. Knowing what kinds of images you like the most will help you decide what type of photography you want and which photographer best fits your needs.

Ultimately you get to decide what type of images you want to pass on to your children one day. If you want a mix of both traditional and lifestyle some lifestyle photographers will take a few posed images if you ask. The key is to communicate with your photographer, so you know exactly what to expect for the session.

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Hey friend!


I'm LeeAnn a Pittsburgh-based personal brand photographer helping womxn and queer-owned businesses create memorable brands with unique captivating photography.  

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