When we think portraits we might often think studio or a close up headshot. Here I have listed 10 ways you can incorporate several backgrounds, poses, and props to add variety in your lifestyle portrait session. Let's get started!
1. Incorporate Movement
Typically when you get your subjects moving, they relax. When people relax they are usually more photogenic and this results in a fun and interesting portrait. If you are photographing your subject in a flowy dress, try to have her twirl in her dress. It might sound silly but it can make for a great photo! You can also create movement with hair. Here she just started shaking around her hair and I snapped away. The photos are so fun!
2. Use a Unique Background
I love putting my subjects in front of unique backgrounds. This could mean putting them in front of a brick wall, a staircase, or a fun window. Take a look around your environment and see what kinds of areas that would make your subject pop. Keep in mind what your subject is wearing and make sure their outfit can compliment the background.
3. Use a Simple Background
Simple backgrounds are also great for photos! Again, keep in mind what your subject is wearing to make sure the outfit and background compliment each other. It might be a good idea to ask your client what they will be using the photos for. If your client wants a portrait with a simple background, try to look around for a space with few distractions and a clean wall.
4. Use their Home
One way you can learn about someone is photographing them in their natural environment. Taking photos in your home can add a personal feel to the photo. Whether you are a food photographer or a family photographer using your natural environment helps to create a warm photo.
5. Shoot from Above
I like to get a few close-up shots during my lifestyle portrait sessions because it keeps the focus clear on the person. I like to shoot a little elevated from where they are standing and this helps to give you a variety of perspectives from the same pose.
6. Use Small Props
If you are a coffee drinker, experiment with having the coffee as a prop in your photo. These types of photos have more of a blogger style but I feel that it helps to add a personal touch to the photo. I also like to take photos of photographer friends with and without their camera. Holding a camera (or a coffee in the previous example) gives your subject something to do with their hands and relaxes them. And like mentioned earlier when people are relaxed they are photogenic!
7. Play with Hair or Face
This is another way you can give your client something to do with their hands. Have them run their finger through their hair or stroke along their face and will naturally give them a way to create interesting elements in the photo.
8. Use a Chair
Using a chair can be another way to incorporate a prop into a photo and keep the photo and the subject looking natural. A chair can add interesting dynamics to a photo and will give you variety of looks within your gallery.
9. Photograph your Subject Laughing
One of the jobs of being a photographer is interacting with the people you are photographing. Don’t forget to take some photos of them laughing! You will want to engage with them, bring out natural expressions, and relax them. It can be hard to act natural in front of a camera so when you are talking with your subject, make sure to capture the moment they make a candid and genuine expression! Some of my favorite photos of myself are ones where I’m laughing because it’s not a super posed expression!
10. Take a Close-Up Shot
Most of the lifestyle portraits I take include the environment, background, props, outfits, and other elements. It might be helpful to take a couple of close up shots that allow your subject to fill the frame and be the focus in the photo.
Do you have any other tips that should be included in this list?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!