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The Three Styles of Family Photography

When choosing your family photographer, you should first start with style.

What style of photography are you looking for?

Not sure? Don't worry, you'll know which one resonates with you by the end.

There are three popular styles of Family Photographers. They are:

1. Traditional

2. Lifestyle

3. Documentary

Traditional Photographer

A traditional photographer works with you to find the perfect pose, pretty location, and makes sure all details are carefully in place.

A traditional portrait may look something like this,

A traditional/posed photographer will make decisions based on the following:


What look is the family going for? Find the prettiest spot for the time of day and what type of background the family would like.


Colors that coordinate together and create a clean, put together look.

Arrangement of People:

Find the most flattering pose for each person and carefully place them together, in the best lighting. Usually everyone is smiling and looking at the camera.

The second popular type of family photography is lifestyle.

Lifestyle Photographer

A lifestyle photographer is less focused on creating a perfectly posed photo and is more focused on storytelling. However, a lifestyle photographer will guide the family into the best lighting, remove any objects that are distracting and occasionally give the family prompts to help create fun, genuine moments.

A lifestyle portrait may look something like this:

A lifestyle photographer will make decisions based on the following:


What locations are meaningful to the family's story? They will ask you questions to get to know your family's story and what you'd like to capture during this time in your life. Where do you like to spend time together (home, nature, somewhere in town) and what do you like to do there?


Colors that coordinate together, not too matchy-matchy, but ultimately whatever the family feels most comfortable in wins.

Arrangement of People:

Let the moments unfold naturally, guide them into the best lighting, help moments unfold by giving storytelling prompts to get them to do what they normally have fun doing together (dancing, reading, laughing, playing).

The final popular family photography style is documentary.

Documentary Photographer

A true documentary photograph, has had no influence by the photographer. It was a genuine, candid moment that happened while the photographer was a wallflower witness to the moment. So, a documentary photographer will ask to come along as a friend on one of your family outings or normal days at home. They'll capture your day as it unfolds naturally, no need to do anything differently for the camera.

A documentary portrait may look something like this:

A documentary photographer will make decisions based on the following:


Where is the family most comfortable? They will get to know you, your story, and your daily routine. Ideally, you'll choose a time where your family is doing some sort of action where it will be easy for them to be themselves and forget about the camera. Such as going grocery shopping, washing dishes, or working in the garden.


Nothing different from what you would normally where.

Arrangement of People:

No influence from the photographer. The photographer focuses on anticipating moments that are about to happen, finding their angle and lighting and snapping the shot at the right moment.

Take a lifestyle photographer, with a hint of documentary and one posed, traditional photo and BAM! You have Alisha Raquel Photography.

I started off as a traditional photographer. Then I found I enjoyed lifestyle photography more because it allowed the kids and the adults to have more fun!

Some of the time during traditional photoshoots, the parents got aggravated because the kids didn't want to pose. The kids became upset because they were being scolded the whole time. Everyone left with a bitter taste in their mouths and pretty photos for their walls, but what was the point in that?

With lifestyle photoshoots, the kids were allowed to have fun and be themselves! The kids left happy because they got to play and the adults left happy because I made sure we got good lighting and at least one posed photo.

Documentary photos are also a part of my mix. In order to get the kids to warm up to me and the camera, I let them do whatever they want before I start guiding them into the best lighting. Giving the kids time to be free, gives me the opportunity for awesome candid photos.

In the end, I believe years from now when you look at your family photos, you'll remember how you FELT on the day. Your photos should be beautiful, storytelling heirlooms that remind you of how much love and joy your family shares together.

I hope this helps you to choose the best photographer for you!

Enjoy the little moments today,


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