Chances are you’ve been seeing the word “lifestyle” much more in the general media.
I’ve seen lifestyle malls, lifestyle TV, and lifestyle consumers. I’ve also seen it attached to “photography” and “business” again and again.
According to Wikipedia, they define:
Lifestyle Photography: a style of photography which aims to portray real-life situations in a controlled setting. Lighting is bright, airy and natural-looking. There are many commercial applications including magazine editorial and advertising usage.
Lifestyle Business: Businesses that are set up and run by their founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle.
So when you combine the two, from my viewpoint you get:
Lifestyle Photography Business: A business that is set up to comfortably sustain the lifestyle of its owner (s), and provides its clientele with portraits depicting stories and real life situations in natural settings. It’s a business that can be run anywhere, at any time.
3 Key Characteristics
The business must comfortably sustain your lifestyle. If you look at the broad picture of the word “lifestyle business”, you’ll see there is an argument over how dedicated this type of business owner really is. Some say the business is intentionally capped off, limiting the potential growth of the business itself. Some say many small businesses are set up this way, as a way of bringing in income and at the same time meeting the demands of your day to day personal expectations.
I say most photography businesses, and many small businesses in general, are lifestyle. The key characteristic is that you can do what you love and have it sustain your expectations. Your expectations are different than mine. Some people want a home in the suburbs with a great school system for the kids. Some want monthly vacations to exotic locations around the world. And some want something in between.
The goal behind setting your prices and gaining enough clients to bring in your expected sales level is to bring in enough to sustain your lifestyle. If you don’t know what sales level you need to achieve that, that’s your first step.
The business should be flexible to be run anywhere. The wonderful thing about technology right now is you can do just about anything from anywhere. Need to login to make a change to your website – while in vacation 1,000 miles from home? Not a problem. Just use your laptop/tablet/phone to connect to the Internet and make your change.
But flexibility doesn’t always mean location. For you, you may like having stability within your business, and want a dedicated studio location filled with backdrops and props. Others want to move and travel freely, possibly incorporating destination events into their schedules.
Again, the key here is flexibility. The more you automate, the more plan for how you want your days and weeks to look like, the easier it will be to achieve.
Your photography should be how you design it to be. Lifestyle photography can take on any look you desire. Maybe you shoot for commercial purposes, and incorporate real life situations for your models and products. Maybe you are a photojournalistic wedding photographer, following your clients around for the day capturing what happens as opposed to staging the events. Or maybe you are a senior portrait photographer, incorporating your surrounding community into your final images.
In any case you focus on capturing the best out of each situation instead of rushing through, relying on quantity to meet your sales levels.
What’s your definition of lifestyle photography? Do you run a lifestyle business? I’d love to hear your comments below.