Have you ever heard photographers use terms like “Fine Art” & "Lifestyle" and "Day-in-The-Life?” Maybe you’re vaguely familiar, but also not too sure what exactly these terms mean?

Allow me to clear things up! By the end of this blog, you'll be able to identify each photography style and select the one that will best preserve your family's precious moments!

Styles of Photography

Just like you wouldn't wear a tuxedo to a beach party, some styles just work better with certain moods and moments.

First up, let's talk about Portrait Photography. Portrait Photography, also sometimes called traditional or classic photography, is timeless, a little more formal and almost always heavily posed. This style usually has a lot of emphasis on the pose, so you would expect to see more rules than creativity.  Picture your grandma's vintage photo hanging on the wall - that's a perfect example of traditional portrait photography. Generally this is the “holiday card photo.” You can clearly see everyone’s face and everyone is looking at the camera and smiling.

Next, we have Lifestyle Photography. It’s all about capturing spontaneous moments - the giggles, the funny faces, the sudden burst of dancing in the living room.  Usually this is done on-location or in studio, but your photographer might use more casual prompts and poses in order to get laughs and reactions from those being photographed. This style is perfect if your family loves a more casual look to their photos. You might not be able to see everyone’s faces and some people’s faces might look goofy, but that’s the point of candid photography!  It's less about perfection and more about authenticity. My newborn photos are all heavily lifestyle based.

Finally, there's Documentary Photography. This style aims to capture real-life events or milestones or activities in a storytelling manner, often set in personal and outdoor spaces. So if your family loves to hike, camp or picnic, lifestyle shots will catch those special moments. With documentary photography, there is generally no posing or prompting at all. The photographer really is a fly on the wall while your family participates in an activity you all love doing together. I particularly love documentary photography for families with toddlers because it’s so much more fun to do an activity they love than trying to ask them to sit still and smile for a more classic type of photography session. Birth photography definitely falls into documentary photography! It’s capturing one of the biggest days of your life, right? The day you meet your baby!

Now, here's the fun part: deciding on the best style for your family!

This isn't about choosing 'the best' style out there, but rather what's best for your family (and this might change depending on the season of life your family is in).

If your family is a lively bunch that's constantly on the move, candid or lifestyle photography might work best. For families that love tradition and formality, portrait photography could be the way to go.

You don't have to stick to one style. Now that you know the terms photographers use for these types of sessions, feel free to ask your photographer if they do these types of photography and if they’re willing to mix and match.

For example, while my outdoor sessions for maternity and family are mostly shot in lifestyle, I also typically throw in a few "portrait" shots that might be used for a holiday card. Although my newborn is mostly lifestyle, you'll also find some documentary shots in your gallery.