Capturing Lifestyle Images with Kids - 5 Tips for Better Images

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I sometimes get asked what ‘lifestyle’ photography really is. To me, lifestyle photography is a perfect blend of documentary photography - or capturing life as it really is - and loose posing.

For example: the image above is 100% documentary. Pantless, winter hat in the scorching heat, and a lollipop. That’s exactly how I found him and happened to grab my camera fast enough to capture this phase of toddler hood.

jessalyn prins photography family and lifestyle photographer

However this image is more lifestyle: this is an everyday childhood moment that I wanted to portray. I found a perfect patch of light, set out an egg carton and some markers and invited him to come color. I stood out of the way and captured what I saw.

I love capturing and documenting their childhood both ways! But honestly, I don’t always have my camera in arms reach so I like to recreate parts of their childhood.

Here are my 5 tips to capturing lifestyle images:

  1. The vision: simply decide what you want to capture. Does it make you crack up every time your baby dumps oatmeal on his head? Or maybe it is the little lullabies your daughter sings to her dolls. Or the way they sit and race their dinky cars over the hardwood floors. Take a few minutes to think through what piece of their childhood you want to capture.

  2. Set the stage: find a nice spot in your home with even lighting. Pick up and move anything that might distract from what you are wanting to capture. Set up the props.
    Have your camera ready! Make sure there is room to take photos, adjust any settings, and have it ready to go.

  3. Invite your subject: invite your child into the little set up you have made. Don’t bribe them, or try and convince them they need to go over there, just nonchalantly invite them as if it isn’t a big deal, and it might just be a grand old time.

  4. Sit back, don’t say anything and capture what you see. This is where you really get those sweet emotions, the realness of the moment, and what I believe is the magic. Just let them be and when they are done, thank them for coming over and playing in that space.
    Remember to move around (as subtley as possible) and get several different angles - on their level, above them, off to the side. It makes a wonderful series of images.