Lifestyle vs Posed Portraits: What’s the Difference?

When you book a portrait photography session for yourself or your pet, it can be challenging to know precisely what kind of photos you want. Do you want a lifestyle session in your home? Do you want candid photos or posed portraits? Maybe you want a mix of both. There are so many possibilities when it comes to portrait photography, so it’s essential to understand what you’re choosing and make sure it’s exactly what you want.

Every photographer’s style and offerings are different, so be sure to ask any questions before you book a session to make sure you know what you’re getting when you book.

Posed Portraits

Traditional posed portrait photography is exactly what it sounds like: The photographer puts the subject in a variety of specific poses and snaps photos of them. These images can be gorgeous, and if you’ve had your photo taken before, you’ve likely enjoyed the magic of a professional photographer’s experience in guiding you into the perfect poses.

Posed portraits are often taken in a studio, although they don’t have to be! Many natural light photographers also do poses as well, and some do a combination of candid and posed images. This gives their clients more variety and more photos to choose from.

Photographers who do posed portraits often have a vision for their images and how they want them to turn out. The subject and the photographer often work together to create photos that capture the client’s personality.

While people sometimes interpret posed photography as “cold” or “perfect,” that isn’t necessarily the case. These images can be as warm and authentic as candid photos—they’re more stylised and planned. Posed portrait photographers use their experience and knowledge to use the light, location and posing to their advantage to create wow images.

Lifestyle Photography

Compared to traditional portrait photography, lifestyle photography has a much more relaxed feel. Lifestyle photography is about capturing people and pets in their natural environment, so these images are often taken in people’s homes using natural light.  They’re designed to feel more authentic and genuine. Some of my favourite locations are at the beach and Somerset coastline but it’s quite special when clients want photos in there own home. Think of the photos you see influencers and celebrities post on Instagram. Those are often lifestyle images.

Lifestyle portraits aren’t posed. While the photographer might set up an activity for the subject to do, usually in an area where the light is suitable for photography, they won’t direct the person or people in the photos to look at the camera or pose in a specific way. The goal is to draw out natural emotions and capture them in beautiful images.  These photoshoots work very well for dogs that are a bit nervous or older dogs that are not so mobile anymore, there is limited handling, and they can do their own thing, as long as the area is secure.    In a family with younger children, these sessions can be ideal; they can run around and play and be happy instead of trying to get them to sit still.

Lifestyle photography is often used to capture families or couples. It’s a way of showcasing the connection between groups of people and the emotions they feel toward one another. But lifestyle portraits can also be taken of a single person, capturing them in an environment where they feel most comfortable.

So, which type of photography is best?

Both posed portraits and lifestyle photography have their place, and both can lead to amazing images that you will love. When choosing what type of photos you want to take for your portraits, it’s importessentialow your photographer’s style and what kinds of sessions they offer. By taking to and working with them, you can plan a session that captures your genuine personality and provides you with images you’ll love.