What Is The Difference Between Family and Lifestyle Photography?

June 4, 2024
What Is The Difference Between Family And Lifestyle Photography

If you’ve looked into hiring a professional photographer, you’ve probably noticed some offer “family photography” services whist others specialise in “lifestyle photography.” On the surface, they may seem pretty similar – photographers taking pictures of people. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find these two genres are quite different in several key ways.

Let’s understand the difference between what family and lifestyle photographers do. The distinctions lie in the overall atmosphere, stylistic approach, and even the very purpose behind the photography.

The Staged vs. Candid Approach

Family photography is generally more structured and traditional. The name gives it away – it’s about systematically capturing family members together through portraits, group shots, etc. There’s a fair bit of posing and direction from the photographer to get those classic looks.

Lifestyle photography, on the other hand, is way more loose and candid. This does not include perfectly posed looks. Instead, during this photography, the photographer blends into the background and discretely documents real moments as they naturally unfold. Capturing authentic emotions, interactions, and the general energy of a scene or event.

Setting the Scene

The settings are also quite different. With family shoots, the location doesn’t matter as much. You can do it anywhere – at home, in the park, in the studio. Whatever the convenient backdrop for those family portraits. For photographers like Ravi Sidhu, a reputed lifestyle photographer in London, the environment and surroundings are crucial to telling the full story.

If he’s covering something like a music festival, fashion show, or brand launch, the setting itself is a huge part of the visual story he is trying to capture and portray. The cameras are just as focused on the atmosphere, little environmental details, and behind-the-scenes happenings as they are on the main subjects and actions.

That’s a big distinction – lifestyle photography is all about immersing viewers in that environment and giving them a true sense of being there through the imagery. Not just posing people for portraits.

Capturing the Candid Moments

Speaking of the actual subjects, these are also approached quite differently. With family photography, you’re aiming to capture those classic smiles, families lovingly embracing, kids being adorably playful, etc. All the vintage, picture-perfect moments.

For lifestyle shooters, more interest is on the unguarded, “in-between” instances that reveal something more authentic and candid about the subjects. The zoned-out musician backstage, two models sharing an inside joke, the chaos of a production team prepping a show. Those are the grittier, more resonant scenes.

Authentic Storytelling vs Portraits

In the end, it comes down to traditional portraiture and capturing people at their most polished, vs a more journalistic, “fly-on-the-wall” approach to documenting genuine mannerisms, relationships, and atmospheres in a powerful, immersive way.

Hopefully, this gives you a clearer idea of what separates these two genres of photography. Contact Ravi Sidhu if you are looking for a lifestyle photographer in London to capture an upcoming event, brand experience, or any environment in a truly authentic way.


London based freelance photographer covering fashion, music, art, lifestyle and events globally.
Follow Me! @REDNivars

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