Lifestyle vs Portrait vs Documentary Photography... what's the difference?

There are a lot of different types of photography out there. People hear different photography industry phrases and buzz words thrown around all the time. I get asked a lot what lifestyle photography vs portrait photography is. And what the heck is documentary photography?

So today I’m here to break it down for you.

Portrait photography
Portrait photography is exactly what it sounds life. People are posed and put into positions for a portrait. Most of the time, the photographer will tell you where to stand, who to stand next to, where to look, hand positioning, leg positioning, etc. You, as the person being photographed, will probably feel awkward because you don’t normally sit/stand that way. It’s totally normal, and you will end up looking great! Most portrait photography is formally posed whether it’s in studio or outside.

Think of it this way… if everyone is looking and smiling at the camera, it’s portrait photography.

Lifestyle Photography
Lifestyle photography is that middle ground between portrait photography and documentary photography (which I’ll get to next). Lifestyle photography isn’t formally posed, but more guided posing. Your photographer should be telling you where to stand and what to do. The photographer will give you prompts such as ‘everyone laugh’ or ‘walk towards me but look at mom’ or ‘throw your child into the air’ or ‘whisper a secret into someone’s ear.’ The entire family might not be looking directly at the camera but at each other instead. There’s more action and movement in lifestyle photography. Good lifestyle photographers will bring out emotion within your family and capture small, special moments rather than posed, smiling at the camera photos.

Lifestyle photography… informally posed with prompts from photographer, not everyone always looking at the camera.

Documentary Photography
Documentary photography is exactly how it sounds. A photographer is hired to document you and your family over a period of time. There is no direction given by the photographer. They are more there as a ‘fly on the wall’ scenario to capture your everyday life or a special event as it is lived. There is zero formal posing going on. Documentary photography typically last hours or a whole day (such as a Day in the Life).

Documentary photography… no posing, documenting life over a long period of time.


So now the big question… which type of photography is right for you?

Whatever you want!

Honestly, it depends solely on your personal tastes and preferences.

Some people only want posed, formal photos which means portrait photography is right up there alley! Others want to see emotion come through their photos, so lifestyle or documentary would be a better approach for them. I’ve noticed the Baby Boomers prefer portrait photography while the Generation X and Millennials often prefer Lifestyle and Documentary, but that’s not hard and true.

You, as the client, has to decide what type of photographs you like and want to capture. Then find a photographer who captures it in a style you like!

I photograph a combination of Portrait photography and Lifestyle Photography. I’ve found that combination works best for me personally as a photographer and artist. And I’ll usually do it within one sessions. I’ll formally pose a family, then start giving them prompts to get a little more interactive with the family and kids.

Check out this family session I photographed with Portraits and Lifestyle photography.

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New Year... New Headshot!

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2019 has arrived!

With the new year, treat yourself to a new headshot!

As professionals, we represent our business’s visual brand. Since we want our brand to represent us, the best way to convey your professionalism is an updated professional headshot.

Whether you want a relaxed, fun headshot or you need a traditional headshot taken, make sure your headshot represents you as a person. No awkward smiles. No weird, diagonal tilts and angles. Just a dynamic, professional headshot which conveys who you and your business are.

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Why should you pay for a professional headshot and not just snap a quick photo on your phone? It conveys professionalism to your website, potential clients, investors, and marketing materials.

  1. A good headshot gives your clients and investors an idea of your personality before they meet you. A serious look portrays determination. Whereas, a smile portrays approachability. A good photographer will help bring out your personality in your headshot.

  2. It reminds business contacts who you are if they have met you in the past. Having a face to go with a name gives potential clients and business associates a level of comfort than just seeing a name.

  3. A current headshot gives people a sense to see what you look like now. For example, a lot of my new clients don't have a chance to meet me in person before their first photography session. My headshot allows them to know what I look like when I meet them at a location.

  4. It supports and enhances your social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, Google Business, Facebook, and Instagram. This allows you to stand out from others who do not have a good professional headshot in their profiles.

  5. It feels good to look good in your photo! Confidence comes in many forms. Having a good, quality Headshot where you know you look good, builds confidence which can be seen by potential clients and investors.

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To all my clients... Thank you!

As my busy season is slowly winding down, I can’t be more grateful to my amazing clients who return to me year after year!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

When I set off on this journey of creating my own photography business, I didn’t have an understanding of how hard it can be to run your own business. I knew there would be difficulties. However, nothing really prepared me for the constant ups and downs of it. There’s the fantasy version of running a business where it just takes off without any hiccups or perils along the way.

Then there’s the reality of starting up your business from scratch and keeping it going even when you want to hang up your hat and say ‘I’m done.’

Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of tough days. I’ll make no illusion of it being all rainbows and sunshine all the time. Because it isn’t. It is hard work, grit, and the drive to keep doing better that keeps me going. And my wonderfully, supportive husband who stands behind me.

For all of my clients who have stayed with me through the years,
All of my new clients who have trusted me with their family photos,
And all my future clients who are dying to hire me ;),
Thank you!

Without all of you entrusting me to do my job, I wouldn’t have a business.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday season!

Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukah!
Happy Kwanza!
Happy Holidays!
And Happy New Year!

Emily

Family Photo Session | Cedar Park, TX

Family photos are wonderfully timeless.

Doesn't matter is you were sporting rainbow bangs in your family pictures or if you were wearing matching jumpsuits. Those were the fashion of the times. We rocked them or they rocked us!

Looking beyond our fashion mistakes of our youth, we still see and remember the good times when looking at photos. Which is why, not matter how painful it might be, you should always make time for your family to have photos. Your kids will want to see the printed version up on your walls and picture frames. they’ll look back and think the same things you are thinking about your family photos. But your kids will remember the good times or laugh at how crazy mom was getting everyone dressed and ready for the photos. Either way, they will have a smile on their face!

Enjoy these family photos of this awesome family!

And remember, photos are timeless and priceless.

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Sherry and Terry's Wedding | Pflugerville, TX

Love is love.

Love is inspiring, and love crosses all boundaries.

It’s a privilege to photograph a person’s wedding. It’s a celebration and fun time. It’s a party! And it’s about two people deciding they want to spend the rest of their lives with the person standing in front of them and announcing it to their friends a family.

I had wonderful opportunity to photograph Sherry and Terry's small wedding in Pflugerville. It was a beautiful sunny day! They were surrounded by friends and family, and it was touching to see Sherry’s son drive in last minute from College Station to see his Mom on her special day. It’s the small things like that which is always awe inspiring to capture.

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