What is Lifestyle/Documentary Photography?

IMG-54 *warning: long post :)

Have you ever had a portrait session that went well? One where you got your photos (or digital files) and while you really did love the images, there was just something missing? I could have even been the photographer. It is ok! Maybe the images were perfect technically, but you just felt like something was missing. That is where lifestyle or documentary photography comes in. Lifestyle is a little more directed while documentary photography is really showcasing your everyday life with no direction from the photographer. I relate documentary as more of a photojournalistic approach. Personally, I prefer an in-between approach. These styles may not be for everyone and there is nothing wrong with having a perfectly posed portrait, if that is what you want.

2015-03-06_0002Morning TV on Couch

Let's think back to when we were growing up. Try listing some of the most memorable moments you had as a child and some memorable moments you have had with your own children. These memorable moments are most likely (with a few exceptions) from everyday ordinary activities. When I think back to growing up I remember the trail rides my dad & I took on the weekends. Or camping at Deep Valley with my family and neighbors. I think of all the time I spent playing at Granny Georgie's. Such as the snow days where all the neighbor's kids would stay at her house and play cards and other games for several days. Or the board games played with my sister and parents. Memorable moments with my son include things like feeding the animals, playing in the dirt or at the shelter, the way he "farms" with his little tractors on the couch, going to the ball park to play on the play ground. In my life, these are the moments I want to capture and remember. It has, however, taken me awhile to realize this.


Currently, I am working on updating my portfolio to show more of this type of photo. What I want to do for my clients is capture these everyday seemingly ordinary moments. Now, some people may be wondering how these are different than regular snapshots. The truth is the subject matter may be the same as in snapshots. However, the actual images will be much more. By using different photography techniques such as learning to see and use the best light, the most ordinary of activities can be captured in an extraordinary way.


Snow in Tennessee!

It has been snowing all over the country, but not here. Texas even got snow and we did not! So I was trying not to get excited about the forecast this past weekend. It has been way too long since we got to go snow sledding. The last time, I was about 7 months pregnant so I just watched. Now my son is 3.5 years old! Monday morning I wake up to ice. Only ice! There was some disappointment (okay, a lot of disappointment), until...about 1:00 that afternoon we got snow! Yay! Or as my son would say, "hip, hip, hooray!" Yesterday, we gathered up all of our warm clothes (it is Tennessee so they don't get a great lot of use) and our family & friends came over for some snow sledding fun. Living on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee gives us plenty of big hills. We always go over to my Grandparent's farm. This has been a snow day tradition since like the 60's when my mom was growing up. The hills are so big that we do cheat a bit. We sled down, then the Rhino (not the animal) comes and picks us up and brings us back to the top. There was a bit of an adventure when the cows came to see what was up. Luckily for our cousin we had brought our Border Collie so she chased the cow away :). That's really the only thing she can do with cows, I am not a trainer so she doesn't actually herd them. She's still the best dog I have ever had though.

Afternoon Playtime

I have been meaning to make a post of these images for awhile, but just kept forgetting. One afternoon in January it wasn't very cold out. So Wade wanted to play in the wheat for a few minutes. Since the sun was gorgeous that evening I grabbed my camera. When he saw his daddy's truck coming down the driveway, he got so happy. So that is where the joyful expression is coming from. I did a quick edit in Lightroom and then took these into Alien Skin Exposure 7 to give a more film feel to the images.

Lifestyle Photos on the Farm

Last weekend the weather was great so we decided to spend some time at home. I discovered I have really missed getting out and doing stuff on the farm. It was just what I needed to relax and appreciate how great my life is! I, of course, took my camera with me so that I could get some photos. Here are some photos I captured from our long weekend.

Fall 2014

I have neglected my blog this fall. For one thing starting a new job was crazy and I could barely keep up with that throughout August and September. Then in October I started a workshop through the Clickin Moms site. If you are wanting to learn a lot about photography I highly recommend you check out that site. It is worth the membership (especially if you catch a sale like I did). The workshops are amazing!

My first one was Intro to Natural Light (INL) and I learned more about light than I ever thought possible. I cannot believe the difference in my photos before and after. I can now get photos that I love straight out of the camera. I still edit them but only to add that little extra pop to the images.

The next one I took was Timeless Photography & Emotive Expression. It is every bit as good as INL. This workshop also deals with light to some extinct. Everything photography deals with light. Without light there are no photographs. Timeless goes into creating portraits that will be cherished for generations. It pushed me to be more creative and to take time to think before I snap a picture.

I highly recommend both classes. There are many others that deal with all levels of photography from basic beginner to advanced. I know it is an investment but you will learn so much.

Seniors 2015

I have gotten way behind on the blog. This summer has went by way too quickly! I just wanted to share a little of the senior session I did on July 2. It was so much fun! Well there was a little setback with a cow but other than that, it went very smoothly.

These pictures were shot with the Canon 70D and Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 lens. I used Lightroom to edit and the Kubota KIT Vintage Delish and Kubota Workflow presets.

June 25, 2014: Day 25

So I have obviously been lazy about the blog lately. I have still been posting the Click A Day photo on Instagram and Facebook, just not on my blog. This morning I want to share with you the presets that I got to use with Lightroom. I love Lightroom and highly recommend it. If you have Lightroom, presets really make it easier and faster to use. I purchased the Kubota Workflow Collection Presets and love them. It has a lot of different ones and can be used with all kinds of photography. There are several different kinds of black and white, vignettes, old film, antique, 60's film, shadow opener (for lighting dark photos) and others that make the photos more vibrant or make the colors pop more. There is also a Vintage Delish collection from Kubota but I haven't purchased it yet. Here are some photos I took this morning and edited with the Kubota Workflow Presets. I used the Portra Soft (one of my favs), BW Hollywood, & BW warm and fuzzy.