Capturing Everyday Lifestyle Photography and why I use Olympus OM-D Cameras
Many photographers got started in photography in order to capture everyday moments and everyday life. Sometimes capturing everyday life photography is places that you go — vacations, trips with friends or families. Other times it is capturing family moments. I capture everyday lifestyle photos and places that I see as well as capturing family moments, or what I call lifestyle photography. Each year I create a book for my grandchildren from their previous birthday to the existing birthday. Rarely are the pictures posed. Instead I opt for natural life, the chaos, the messy and the real. It is a much better memory of the little moments that make up the majority of our lives and not a book about the “greatest hits.” We usually remember to take photos on the big occasions — birthdays, holidays, vacation, but we neglect capturing everyday photography and the daily moments that take up most of our time with our families.
Like many photographers, I started by aimlessly clicking the camera. I took numerous photos of the same thing, not wanting to miss a shot. What I ended up with was a lot of pictures of the same subject with nothing outstanding or capturing lifestyle photos like I had envisioned. Here are some tips to help bring ordinary life to captivating lifestyle photo memories.
Become a Storyteller
I know you have heard that before, but think about why you are taking the picture and what you want to the picture to remember or say. Sometimes it helps to step back and put more in the frame. Sometimes the story is in the details. In lifestyle photography it is important to think about what you want the picture to say before you take it. Is this photo about a kid’s soccer game, or much more than the game?
Embrace the chaos
I am admittedly a neat freak. I like minimal “knick-knacks” in the house, clean uncluttered counter tops and order. But everyday life is not always neat and clean so why do we expect documentary photography of everyday life to be neat and clean? Embracing the chaos is appropriate for both family lifestyle photography and landscapes or wildlife.
So there is a book on the floor and blanket on the couch, but when I look at the picture I see a three year old doing a pretty good cartwheel!! Your house sometimes has laundry to be folded, dishes aren’t picked up, and toys are all over. But it’s real! And it’s everyday life.
In landscapes and wildlife photography sometimes you can’t always have it perfect. I didn’t want the eagle’s food in the picture, but I would have missed a great shot and this is a real eagle’s life — capturing food for themselves, their mate and the nest.
Skip the posing
Everyday life means what happens, happens. It is not location scouting, props, and perfect light. Sometimes you get sweet smiles and sometimes you get the best scowl. Take bath time, meal time, drawing pictures, playing with toys, and snuggling time. Capturing everyday photos means like it really is, not like you imagine it is.
Take pictures along your hikes, the unusual, the beauty, the ugly. Look for beauty everywhere. It can be easy to overlook people, places, and things that you see every day, but there’s still beauty there if you take some time to look for it. Look for color, texture, and character in the everyday. It may be normal and everyday, but that doesn’t mean there is no beauty in it. Lifestyle photos are not just for pictures of children.
Get creative. Take a picture with a new technique, try capturing beauty in a different way.
Capture the details
Take the details, the way they hold the crayon, the close up of the book they are reading or the way she holds her hand guiding the fabric on one of her first sewing projects. A tip is to take the wide angle picture first to capture the story and everyday life photography, then look for the details that add to the story.
Look for the light
Light is one of the more important elements. It doesn’t matter what type of photographs you take, the right light can make everyday seem totally magical. Light can be moody, airy, playful, romantic, and mysterious. Embrace it all.
Learn to use whatever light you have available. It will make capturing everyday photography far easier. Even if the light is less than ideal, take the photo anyway. You will still capture memories that will mean far more to you than a perfectly lit photo. I could have taken a close up of him “cooking dinner”. But using the natural light coming in from the windows it captures a more interesting shot and tells a better story.
Keep your camera accessible
Keeping your camera in a bag or on a shelf keeps it safe, but if you are trying to capture everyday lifestyle photos, you will miss many good moments. Tote the camera from room to room, put it in the kitchen when you are cooking, have it out at bedtime and bath time. You will be more likely to capture a special moment if it is easily accessible. If my camera had not been on my kitchen table when I was making dinner, I would have missed the deer in the field while I was cooking.
Change your angle
Changing your angle can provide a significant difference on the way your image and subsequently your story is told. Every angle has something different to say. It is all too common to take a picture at eye level. When our subject is eye level, there is an instant connection. But sometimes changing your angle tells the story better or at least in a more interesting way.
Know your camera
I know you have heard this before. But leaving your camera on auto and trying to shoot in less than ideal light is not going to capture the beautiful family memories that you are envisioning. I promise if you can use all of your camera’s settings: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO you will capture better photos. There are tons of articles on why shooting in manual, aperture priority or shutter priority allow you more freedom to capture the shot as a photographer.
Get in the photo
When my own children were young, I always took the pictures and was rarely in the photo. With my grandchildren, I am making an effort to get in the pictures. I want to be part of the memories.
Capture real moments and don’t worry about technical perfection. Remember that a great lifestyle photos is more about the moment than the technical details. Even experienced photographers sometimes don’t get framing quite right or miss focus. But capturing everyday photography is about the moment and the memory, so embrace the fact that you got the shot.
Why I use Olympus cameras
Within the last year I switched from full frame cameras to a full time user of Olympus cameras. You can read my previous blogs: First Impressions of Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, Why I Switched from SONY to Olympus cameras for travel photography, and First Impressions of Olympus OMD E-M1X at these links. Insert blog links.
Olympus cameras not only take fantastic pictures, they are compact and easy to carry. I love the colors that Olympus produces. Here are some of the reasons that the Olympus OM-D series cameras are ideal for everyday lifestyle photography:
- Compact, easy to carry
- Discreet, less noticeable than a DSLR
- Lens selection is outstanding
- Image quality
- In body image stabilization helps get more “keepers” insert link to other blog
- Autofocus system is outstanding
If capturing everyday lifestyle photography is something you want to do, from personal experience I highly recommend Olympus OM-D system. I’d be happy to answer any questions that you have. You can contact me here.
Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Debbi is an award winning and published travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography. She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs so others can see the beauty of our world.
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