“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”
If there ever was a perfect way to showcase this famous quote by Oscar Wilde, it would be through lifestyle photos. Whether it be interesting people doing exciting things, or ordinary people going about their day, this style of photography aims to capture and preserve the art of a moment.
This is why brands love to use lifestyle images. Putting products in curated and styled scenes helps customers envision themselves using them “in real life” — the more appealing the portrayal, the more likely they are to buy the product.
So, how can you recreate some of those beautiful lifestyle visuals you see on websites and social media? Here are a few key pointers.
1. Preparation Is Half the Job
Planning involves laying out concrete steps to bring your vision to life, so it goes without saying that this stage is vital for success.
The first step of every lifestyle shoot is generating ideas for the scenes you want to create. It’s easy to go off tangent and end up with concepts that don’t tie into the brand, so make sure you brainstorm around the product.
Some questions that can help you come up with relevant ideas are:
- Who is the brand’s target audience?
- Where and how is the product used in daily life?
- What else can customers do with it?
- What locations, backgrounds, and props complement the product?
Not only are these questions great prompts for ideas, but they also help you identify what you need to gather to craft the shoot.
2. Use Appropriate Lighting
Lighting can have a profound effect on your imagery: it determines the mood of the photo, what details are highlighted, your post-production editing, and more.
The main types of lighting used in lifestyle photography are natural and artificial light. Whatever you choose depends on the scene you want to create, though most photographers prefer to use just one at a time to ensure consistency.
Natural lighting is great for outdoor shooting and photos that do not need to focus on specific detail—think streetwear brands showcasing their products in an everyday setting.
On the other hand, artificial light is better for achieving bold, sharp results that draw attention to a product’s unique qualities. This is why it is the preferred source of lighting for e-commerce photography.
3. Tell a Story
Stories make your photos more relevant to your audience by bringing them to life and evoking emotions. The more context your story provides, the more attention a person will pay to the picture. Attention is precious in e-commerce, so you want to make sure your photos stand out.
For example, a photo of a dog bed on a plain surface may be boring to look at. However, put the same bed near a glowing fireplace with a cute dog sleeping in it and a customer will envision their own pet snuggled contentedly during winter. This is how you create a story in the viewer’s head.
4. Keep It Authentic
While telling a story is key to creating engaging shots, it’s easy to over-direct a shoot and end up with inauthentic-looking photos. This is a common mistake in lifestyle photography so keep it in mind as you set the scene and take your photos.
To avoid unnatural-looking photos, set your shoot in everyday locations and make sure your models use sincere, relaxed poses. Likewise, match the photograph to the look and feel of the brand.
Lifestyle photos are meant to bring out the magic in the mundane. You want your customer to be immersed in an atmosphere that gives them an idea of who you are otherwise you could alienate them with unrealistic settings.
5. Be Creative With Your Props
Anything can be a prop in a photoshoot: body parts such as hands, product ingredients,or items that complement the product. The list is endless!
Props are one of the easiest ways to make a photo more captivating, so prepare diverse types for your photoshoot.
As much as they add variety to your photos, always remember to keep the focus on the product. Choose accurate props that complement the product and story, not draw attention away from it.
6. Shoot From Different Angles
While the go-to approach with lifestyle photography is to place the camera at eye level, exploring unusual angles can lead to beautiful results you might have otherwise missed. This is because shooting from different angles showcases new viewpoints the eye does not typically notice.
Get up close to highlight specific details, or go under and around the product to play with shadows and make your photos stand out. Whatever you choose, remember not to distort your product’s appearance.
Practice Makes Perfect
Whether for fashion blogs, e-commerce websites, or catalogs, lifestyle photography is one of the best ways to sell your products. These few tips can go a long way toward creating amazing photos. Use them as you practice and you’ll soon be shooting like a pro.