Sometimes you know you want a session, but you’re unsure whether you would prefer a location session or a lifestyle session. The answer really depends on what you want to get out of the session. In BOTH types of sessions, my main focus is not on getting the ‘perfect everyone smiling at the camera image’. For me, that isn’t necessarily the perfect photo. My passion for photography comes from telling stories, and I follow that passion with both location and lifestyle sessions. This means that in both sessions I do a lot of moving around, and I focus on those little details such as your little one holding your hand, the twirl of the skirt of your daughter spinning around, you and your partner interlocking hands whilst sitting on a rug…your gallery for both style of sessions will have images of the little details and different perspectives, as that’s the story I love to tell. But there are a few differences between Location and Lifestyle sessions which might help you choose which one is right for you. You can also read more about Lifestyle sessions here.
Where do you want your story told?
Is part of your story your home? Are there particular rooms in your house, or routines you have that you want to remember in a beautiful way? Lifestyle sessions are perfect for newborns, but are just as great for families as well – or even maternity or couple sessions. They allow us to preserve the reality of this time in our lives and remember details that we think we’ll remember, but inevitably forget as time moves on and routines change. For example, the cuddles on the couch, the routine of reading stories on your bed, cooking together in the kitchen….even just the details about what those rooms LOOK like. Remembering the kids rooms as they are when they are little, remembering the rug or couch that is so familiar to you, the way you decorated your rooms with details of your family as it is today…these things all change as time moves on so it can be special to have some family memories which include your home as part of your story. The story of lifestyle sessions are told beautifully in photo books, and your memories can be looked at for years to come. Here are some reasons why I love photo books.
Alternatively, is there a place you all love going to as a family and you’d love to have photos taken there, such as the beach or the park? You can view some Location options for your photo shoot here. Do you want to have nature or the outdoors as your backdrop? Perhaps you’re thinking of framing some images and would like some greenery in the background, or the sunset on the beach. Your story as a family can still be told on location, as I’ll still focus on your interactions together.
Natural vs Posed
Although my focus is not on ‘posing’ families – but rather ‘guiding’ them – there is a little more posing that happens with location shoots compared to lifestyle. This comes in part from people being more comfortable in their home, which allows me to guide you into a room or a particular spot – and then just watch what normally happens. For example, you may want to record reading bedtime stories to your little one on their bed. I may guide you all to be there, but then I’ll simply be photographing what is naturally occurring as you read that story. In each room or place in your home, you’re more likely to just do what comes naturally, and I’ll be there to capture it.
With location sessions, there is generally more guidance and ‘posing’ as there is less for you to naturally do. I’ll usually start by guiding you to sit together on a rug. This will usually result in a natural inclination to all smile at the camera – and although I might get some of those images – but then I’ll move around and capture those little interactions that are happening while you’re together, and those little details. If you’re after a few more of the posed images, then location sessions are usually more likely to provide them simply because when placed together on location, the nature of that looks more posed than it does if placed together on your couch or on your bed which is a more natural place for you to be close together.
When kids are involved
When picking your type of session and there are kids involved – you need to consider the best option for them. If they’re stressed or tired or bored, YOU’RE going to be stressed, and that will come across in the images. Lifestyle sessions can be great for young children, as they’re able to come in and out as their mood strikes, and they don’t feel the pressure to have to sit still and quiet. They’re also great for newborns, as you don’t need to worry about leaving your house, and the nature of lifestyle sessions is that it’s telling your story as it is NOW – which may include a little extra clutter and baby items – so there is no need to have the ‘perfect house’.
Location sessions can also be good for young children (and some beautiful images can be created from playing in nature), but you really have to consider your location properly. Your kids will probably want and need time to run off on their own so they can have breaks between photos – so the beach may be challenging for very young children. With the right location choice, your kids can truly have fun during the session – and images can be captured of them having this fun.
Lifestyle sessions can be captured all year – it doesn’t matter whether it’s hot or cold – raining or storming. For this reason they’re particularly popular in winter, as there’s less need to cancel due to weather, but they’re just as great in summer (who wants to be sweating outside in the heat of summer?!).
In contrast, location sessions are much more dependent on the weather, and as such there is more chance they’ll need to be rescheduled (or cut short as is the case with one beach maternity session in freezing conditions).
Light and time of the day
Lifestyle sessions can be captured during any daylight hours (although the best time is usually around 10am or 3pm as there is usually some light coming through the windows instead of directly on top of the house). This may make them more suitable when kids and babies are involved, or work schedules.
Location sessions are much more dependent on the light. The best time for location sessions is the hour before sunset – and sunset obviously gets later as it gets warmer. This means that location sessions are often booked around 4pm in winter, and 5/530pm (or sometimes later) in summer. These times aren’t always conducive to happy children, so sometimes we need to compromise light for happy children, and shoot at less than ideal times of the day. In those situations it’s important to find locations with a lot of shade.
These are just some of the things to consider than might help you make up your mind. In summary:
- help you capture your home as part of your story, including special routines, rooms or items
- are beautiful stories for photo books
- usually produce more ‘fly on the wall’, natural images
- often allow you to feel more comfortable as you’re in a familiar environment
- can be great for little kids as they are also comfortable, and can come in and out with less pressure to stay in one location
- can be captured during any daylight hours (with the best times being 10am and 3pm)
- can be captured during all seasons and weather conditions
- usually involve more guidance and ‘posing’ (although will still result in the little details being captured as well)
- are beautiful for images you want to frame on your wall or around your house
- are a great way to capture a place you love to go
- can be great for kids to play in, but you need to make sure you choose a safe environment
- are best captured in the hour before sunset, or if this is not possible, in a location with a lot of shade
- are more likely to need to be rescheduled or cut short due to weather conditions
Feel free to discuss your options with me. Contact me if you’d like to book a session, or gift a session to someone you love.