A potential occupational hazard of newborn photography is that you fall in love with other people’s babies. The ongoing joke I keep telling clients is that their baby is making my wife ovulate. It’s barely a joke, really. Inevitably, after a shoot like this one, Rae and I start talking kids (which sometimes leads to an uncomfortable chat about when I’m going to grow up). If you’re undecided about children, consider yourself warned: Evvy is intensely adorable and embodies a good argument in favour of procreation. Not only did Mathew and Sheena make an adorable, tiny human–they also have two cute, tiny dogs and are loving (and loveable) parents to all these tiny beings. All together, they paint a pretty ideal picture of life with love. Lifestyle photography in general reveals the best in people. We see the rhythm of people’s lives, what they hang on their walls, what books are on their shelves and how they make their space their own (cool factoid: Mathew & Sheena hang their own paintings on their wall). It’s a privilege to be invited into someone’s house and catch a “day in the life”….
We almost didn’t get to do this shoot! When Sheena first emailed us, I misunderstood her, and thought she wanted strictly portrait-type photography. I referred her to another photographer who does this kind of work, but luckily, Sheena emailed back, clarifying: “Hi… I was just wondering if you do lifestyle photography. Our baby Evangeline came early but is now 4 weeks old, and I’d like the “storytelling” package but more from a home perspective. I’m not a huge fan of dressed up and posed newborn photography really. Thanks!” This is exactly what we do (and I’m thankful to Sheena for clarifying!).
For other readers considering family photography, there are 2 main options. Here are the main differences:
Portraiture: When you go to Walmart or Sears for “family photos”, this is classic portrait photography. A ‘backdrop’ is set up behind the subject, who is deliberately posed by the photographer. Usually there is a somewhat elaborate lighting set up and everything is meant to look as perfect as possible. You don’t need to go to Walmart to have this done as there are a number of talented portrait photographers in Nova Scotia, who do this in a really classy way. Famous baby portraitures are, I think, often styled after Anne Geddes’ work, which is incredible. You also don’t need to have a backdrop set up and might instead opt for the option, some forestry, the ocean, or any other cool setting. If you ever see a photographer offering “mini-sessions”, these tend to be really quick portrait sessions. The essential aspect of ‘portrait photography’ is that when you look at the photo you immediately see that the scene was set up with the photo in mind.
Lifestyle photography: This is a type of photojournalism; the photos are often candid. The photographer does her best with lighting, composition and in-camera settings, but doesn’t interfere with the what’s going on. The clutter of life is in the background, and although it might look “messy” compared to a seamless background, it also tells a story. Whereas portrait photography tries to capture the ‘perfect’ photo, lifestyle photography….you guessed it….. tells a story. Ideally, when you look at the photo, you get a sense of the people in it, how they relate to each other, and what that moment in time is like.
When it comes to family photography, we are about 85% lifestyle photographers. What that typically means is that we come over, hang out with you, and you do the things you might normally do on a “family day”, whether it’s read stories to you kid, give your baby a bath, have a tea party in the backyard, take a nap on the couch, play games, etc. And we’ll spend a few minutes taking some portrait photos too, because they’re nice to have.