How we roll – Commercial Lifestyle Photography
Team spirit in Lifestyle photography
We have fun. So when we work with models, guests or crew we have a good time. And that means the models have a good time too. They relax, let their guard down and behave naturally. No stiff poses or awkwardness. Just captured moments.
We spend a lot of time with the models throughout the day and really get to know them which is especially important with street cast models. This helps us gel as a team so we can work through the shoot list in a relaxed but productive way.
We shoot handheld, giving us plenty of opportunity to capture spontaneous, unscripted action in a reportage style.
We get where the action is so the viewer becomes part of it.
My approach to Lifestyle
For me it’s all about captured moments. The stills from the movie. The unscripted moments that make the image believable. When setting up a scene or scenario we create the story and let it run. I don’t ask the models to pose a picture. Instead they are left to let the scene develop and evolve. Often the shots we get are not the ones envisaged but the spontaneous moments caught after they have forgotten the camera is there.
We shoot a lot. Sometimes planned. Sometimes completely from the hip.
I love getting involved in brainstorming. It gives me a chance to get to know the creatives and clients and what they are looking to achieve.
This shot of the family cycling in France was planned around the low sun in early morning and a big open promenade for space, and to allow us to get a car to drive alongside without impacting on the locals.
When it comes to shot planning I would aim to focus on capturing the emotional benefits of a concept or product rather than just recording the hard detail. We obviously need to show what a great place we are in, but facilities don’t need to be the sole story of the image. We would aim to design images focusing on the appeal of the scenario and all the fun and excitement to be experienced.
lighting & mood
Use of lighting to create the emotional connection is important. I would veer towards reflected light rather than direct flash wherever possible in lifestyle scenarios. (though not for portraits)
When shooting indoors I would use natural or ambient light where possible to create mood. Having said that this isn’t always possible. If the weather turns then we will use all techniques at our disposal. The shot here of the family in the restaurant was shot with a flash head positioned outside. This was then carefully balanced with the ambient light and coloured to give the effect of early evening sunshine.
Lighting set ups are always kept as simple as possible so we can keep mobile and move about quickly. This gives more shot scenarios and keep everything fresh. It also allows us to keep out of the way of the guests or the public and avoid any disruption.
The use of technology has changed the way we relate to imagery. People shooting with their phones and GoPro’s has allowed us to become part of the action. Pictures on facebook and Instagram mean we see lots of imagery taken from a point of view which wasn’t available before.
I like to exploit this understanding of unusual viewpoints. This allows me to really get the viewer in the picture, in the experience, in the location. In terms of immersing the viewer in the picture this is a great tool.
Further examples of this use of viewpoints can be found here
It goes without saying that any image of kids should also be shot this way. I always get at eye level or below when shooting children. It makes the shot more dynamic and allows the viewer to feel the excitement, and of course children will relate to it better. After all they are the key decision makers!