What’s the difference?

Lifestyle sessions, Portrait photography, mini sessions, full sessions… there’s a lot of lingo out there. What do photographers mean when they use these terms? Well, I can’t speak for EVERYONE, however I can share what these mean to me. Read on 🙂

colorado family photography. everyone sitting on a blanket and smiling at the camera

First up: Portrait Photography vs. Lifestyle Photography

Lifestyle photography takes a more documentary and creative approach. Instead of all of the prompts being “smile here at my camera and pose like this” (Portrait), lifestyle photography allows for a bit more creativity and movement during your session. For me as a photographer, this means that we will capture the traditional poses during your session, but we’re also going to laugh and have some fun! We’re going to hang kids upside down by their feet, tickle dad, chase kiddos around, and run in circles. I want to capture the raw emotions and really help your session to feel like YOU.

Next up: Mini Sessions vs. Full Session

I offer two types of lifestyle/portrait sessions at this point. Half Sessions and Full Session. Very occasionally I offer Mini Sessions, but I don’t always love them and here’s why. Mini Sessions are super fast-paced (10-15 min), and in many cases this doesn’t give me the time to get creative or gain the trust of your little ones! They can be great for kids who love their photo being taken, or a couple who just wants a few updated photos. However, as a photographer, I love to be able to get creative and really help you feel comfortable, and mini sessions don’t generally have enough time for that!

Half or Full Sessions offer more time (20 min and 45 min respectively). While yes, they do cost a bit more, you are going to end up with so many more images to treasure. With full sessions we’re able to try out different fun poses, get creative with the light, and be sure we get all of the combinations you want! I absolutely love getting to spend a full session with families because I’m able to get to know you and really capture images that you will be thrilled with. I have had a lot of clients say they don’t think their kids can last 45 min… and I’m here to say, yeah, maybe you’re right. But typically it actually works out well! They are NOT smiling at the camera the whole time. They are running around, showing me how high they can jump, making silly faces, giving mom and dad big hugs, and being themselves! And that’s what I want to capture.

Family Photography. Colorado Family Photographer

All that to say, I want to serve you and your family to the best of my ability. I want you to LOVE your photos and to look back on the session with warm fuzzy feels.

Tips for a successful family session:

  1. Don’t threaten your kids. I know it’s stressful being on a time limit. You’re worried that you won’t get a single photo of your kid making a normal face. BUT – kids pick up on our stress right? And they will either react by having a nervous smile the whole time OR goofing off even more. Take a deep breath and decide to just love on your kiddo and have fun with them. No one wants photos of themselves glaring at their kids 😉
  2. Be ready to laugh! Let’s have FUN together. Photos don’t have to be all serious and perfect. Let’s capture the general chaos of parenthood and enjoy it.
  3. Trust your photographer. Sometimes I’ll suggest a pose that you aren’t quite sure about, and I always welcome feedback! However, my goal is ALWAYS to make you look your best, to look natural and beautiful. Trust the process!
  4. Trust your photographer, part 2. When I’m working with your kiddos, I always love if you stand behind me and make silly faces to get them to look and laugh. What is NOT helpful is when you’re giving them prompts, telling them how to stand, or telling them their smile is ugly. Encouragement goes a long way – and we want to help your kiddos feel confident and happy during their session!
  5. Let go of expectations. I get it. I have two kids, and a husband who doesn’t love photos. When we get our own family photos taken I have to read my own advice! But I always love the photos MORE when I just relax, trust the photographer, and keep a smile on my face.
Colorado Engagement Session

Thanks for reading! I hope you found something helpful.

I’d love to take photos for you: Book a session now!