What the heck is lifestyle photography, anyway?

"Lifestyle photography is a genre of photography that mainly aims to capture portraits of people in situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday. The primary goal is to tell stories about people's lives or to inspire people in different times."

I got that straight from wikipedia. I don't think it helps.

How about this- Lifestyle photography is a style of photography that can be summed up as "plandid". Planned candids. So, telling a story, or showcasing a personality in an artistic way. Not staged, it's spontaneous and free flowing.

A lady sitting in a velvet chair in the middle of a field of grass isn't lifestyle (I kind of want to do this though!). It's more like in-home photos of your kids playing, a newborn swaddled and laying on a bed, her parents cooing over her and her big brother's hand touching her head. It's photos taken while cooking a meal, kids playing at a beach- their parents hugging in the foreground, or a family walking in a field.

motherhood photos of a son and his mom
a crying toddler is comforted by his mother
mom and her son in a field at sunset in nampa idaho
a mom comforts her fussing toddler in family photos
a mom and her two sons laugh and walk on a country road
lifestyle photo session of a mom and her kids
documentary style photos of a woman and her son touching noses
young boy plays in a field at sunset near lake lowell idaho
a mom lays on her back with her son to her chest in nampa idaho
a mom smiles at the camera while laying on her back while hugging her son who is laughing and looking at her

Why is this cool again?

This style of photography really lets the personalities shine. The way mom holds her toddler's hand to cross the park or pics of brothers chasing each other- these unscripted moments can take small tidbits of our everyday lives and make them into immortalized memories. "Authentic" seems to be a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. To the point where I'm not sure what it means anymore. But really that is what I try to get when shooting- truthful expression.

It's said that photographers should have consistent editing, a similar style in their photos. Maybe that's true, and looks great on a social media feed. But I want to photograph you, your family, where you are now, and hand you (email you) photos that LOOK LIKE YOU AND NO ONE ELSE.

a son licks his moms head after she asks him to kiss her while she laughs
a mom kisses her sons head while he lays on her chest in a field at sunset in nampa idaho

Photos of your Life

So please, put roller skates on for your family session. Color on your driveway with sidewalk chalk. Clomp around in the river for your family photos, wear glitter eyeliner and a flower crown for your portraits. Make spaghetti with your grandma's recipe and read your kids' favorite bedtime story while I click my camera. Have a mud fight, bring your dog, wear your pajamas.

Because these are the memories, these are the things you'll look back and remember. These things you love, your passions, the mundane parts of your day that make up your life. This season you're in won't last forever, and even when you think it's boring or you don't look like you think you should, documenting it is like making a time capsule. Photos are memories made still.

Maybe this shouldn't be called lifestyle photography.

I think it should be called Life Photography.

a woman laughs and hugs her son at sunset near lake lowell idaho
a boys feet seen kicking up dirt into an irrigation ditch during a lifestyle family portrait session
mom looks straight ahead of her while her son looks down at rocks to throw into water
documentary style of a woman kneeling while her sons play near some water, throwing rocks in at sunset
a mom looks at camera during lifestyle photos her sons beside her
Silhouette  of a boy looking into a field in nampa idaho at sunset in february
a boy is lifted up by his mother as she kisses the side of his head during a family photograph session