If you’re anything like me, I bet you've got a wall in your house dedicated to family photos, right?

The smiling faces on the wall serve as a constant reminder of what truly matters in life and work.

But have you ever wondered how to choose the right photographer and the right style to capture your family's unique spirit even better? 

Although photographers frequently use jargon like "Lifestyle" and "Portrait," it can be hard to truly understand what types of images these terms will produce. 

So, what does it all actually mean?

First up, let's talk about the Classic Style also known as Portrait Photography.

Classic Photography is timeless, a little more formal and almost always heavily posed. This style usually has a lot of emphasis on the pose, so you would expect to see more rules than creativity. Picture your grandma's vintage photo hanging on the wall - that's a perfect example of traditional portrait photography.

Generally this is the “holiday card photo.” You can clearly see everyone’s face and everyone is looking at the camera and smiling.

Next, we have Candid Photography or some call this Lifestyle Photography.

It’s all about capturing spontaneous moments - the giggles, the funny faces, the sudden burst of dancing in the living room. Usually this is done on-location or in studio, but your photographer might use more casual prompts and poses in order to get laughs and reactions from those being photographed.

This style is perfect if your family loves a more casual look to their photos. You might not be able to see everyone’s faces and some people’s faces might look goofy, but that’s the point of candid photography! 

It's less about perfection and more about authenticity.

Finally, for those who love activities, “Day-in-the-life” Photography could be your perfect match.

This style aims to capture real-life events or milestones or activities in a storytelling manner, often set in personal and outdoor spaces.

So if your family loves to hike, camp or picnic, lifestyle shots will catch those special moments. With day-in-the-life photography, there is generally no posing or prompting at all. The photographer really is a fly on the wall while your family participates in an activity you all love doing together.

I particularly love day-in-the-life photography for families with toddlers because it’s so much more fun to do an activity they love than trying to ask them to sit still and smile for a more classic type of photography session.

Birth photography definitely falls into Day-in-the-life photography! It’s capturing one of the biggest days of your life, right? The day you meet your baby!

Now, here's the fun part: deciding on the best style for your family!

This isn't about choosing 'the best' style out there, but rather what's best for your family (and this might change depending on the season of life your family is in).

If your family is a lively bunch that's constantly on the move, candid or lifestyle photography might work best. For families that love tradition and formality, portrait photography could be the way to go.

But hey, who says you have to stick to one style? Now that you know the terms photographers use for these types of sessions, feel free to ask your photographer if they do these types of photography and if they’re willing to mix and match.

For example, I generally include both “classic” and “candid” in my portrait sessions because my clients like a mix of both. 

Mom holds belly for maternity session in Farmington ME
First latch after birth CMMC Lewiston ME
Lifestyle newborn photography session in Maine

As you ponder over your next family photo session, let these styles play in your mind. 

I can't wait to see you and your family in front of my lens, capturing those moments that will become treasured memories!