Mary of 8.08 Photography St Augustine Lifestyle Photographer. Mary creates modern classic images of birth, your newborns, and the families that love them. Serving Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine and surrounding NE Florida communities.
Lifestyle sessions are, without a doubt, my favorite way to photograph families. What exactly is lifestyle photography and why do I love being a St Augustine Lifestyle Photographer so much? I think the best way to explain it is by explaining 2 other types of photography 1st: documentary photography and traditional portraiture photography.
Documentary photography would also be considered photo-journalistic. The photographer doesn’t interact with or direct the participants. He/she is just there to capture what is naturally happening in exactly the way it is happening. The lighting isn’t altered or adjusted, clothing recommendations aren’t given, and the physical environments aren’t altered in any way. The only sessions I do that I would describe as true documentary would be my birth sessions. I’m just a fly on the wall trying not to interfere in any way whatsoever. No way would I ever say to a laboring mom “Hey, can you look at the camera and give me a big smile?” Not unless I wanted to get kicked or have something thrown at me! I just want to capture the process, not be part of it.
Traditional portraiture is the complete opposite of documentary photography. The photographer attempts to control as many variables as possible. Sessions are scheduled at certain times of day and in specific locations in order to get a desired look. Wardrobes are carefully curated, any and all distracting elements are removed from the environments, and the family/person is told exactly how to sit/stand/pose/smile. Obviously, my newborn studio sessions are perfect examples of traditional portraiture. I control every element that I can possibly control. Seasonal mini sessions are another good example. These are done in 10 or 15 minute increments for the sole purpose of getting that perfect “look at the camera” picture. Often, families are using these as their Christmas cards or to document a milestone.
Lifestyle photography falls somewhere in between documentary and traditional portrait photography. Wardrobes are curated, but the goal is for families to look like themselves. Comfortable and relatively casual. The sessions take place in a location where the family would normally spend time together. Quite often this would be their home, but it could also be a favorite beach or park. It could even be a favorite ice cream or doughnut shop. The key is that it’s a location where the family would normally go and somewhere that all members feel comfortable and happy. Nothing should feel stressful or forced during these sessions. This allows true interaction and emotion to come through. I love photographing children in their homes because this is their safe place. They feel comfortable and love showing off their room and their toys. Sessions are scheduled at a time of day that the light will be optimal for the location, but perfect lighting isn’t as critical as it would be for traditional portraits. Posing is minimal. I might look for a spot in a room that has interesting light and ask the family to sit or stand there, but then the posing and interaction is up to them. I’ll offer a few prompts along the way if they seem to need it, but I just want them to have fun and enjoy one another. Every now and then I might have them look at me and smile, but, for the most part, I’d much rather have them looking at one another. These sessions are all about family members interacting with and loving one another.
The Vencil family absolutely nailed their recent lifestyle session. They were so comfortable and at ease in front of the camera. It was a completely go with the flow kind of day and I couldn’t have enjoyed my time with them more. I loved that their fur babies joined us at the end of the session. Incorporating the pups and cat was really important because animals are a huge part of this family’s story. Mom & Dad own 2 local vets. Palencia Pet Clinic in St. Augustine and Shoreline Vet Hospital in Jacksonville Beach. If you’re looking for vet care I’d definitely check them out!