How to make the most of lifestyle shots

Posed portraits of our kids are great and they work well to document the passage of time. Capturing our kiddos’ toothless grins is important. Equally important is capturing the little moments that weave together to make up the fabric of our days – lifestyle pics. Lifestyle pics are all the pics that no pro photographer could ever get – simply because they aren’t there.


Someone wise once told me ‘the days are long, but the years are short’ and I have found solid truth in that statement. My kids are 10, 9, 7, and 6. This past weekend, I found myself looking at our large bin of tiny cars and wondering just how long it will be before they’re no longer played with. That led me to gaze around the landscape of our living room and think about how short of a time it will look this way – and how soon it will be a vastly different landscape as my kids grow out of the toys they now play with daily.

The time is now – that was my takeaway.

I’m going to be more intentional about preserving these days.

You can take a snapshot of your kids playing on the floor or you can capture a memory. In the end, either method probably gets the job done, but one of those photos will evoke a feeling in you and bring you right back to that moment you captured and the other will simply document that it happened at all.

Here’s a pic I snapped last spring of our family having a game afternoon. I didn’t even get on everyone’s eye level. I just stood back and snapped. When it popped up on Facebook over the weekend, I remembered the day and smiled.


This pic was taken just a few months later, but looking at it makes my heart warm. I remember Molly Kate’s joy in playing Sorry Sliders and it evokes emotion. Why? Because I changed my perspective and captured the moment in a completely different way.


Here’s my biggest, no fail, tip for capturing a moment the way you’ll really want to remember it.

Shake it up, Mother Goose (or Papa Goose….or Grandma Goose – whichever kind of goose you are)!

Don’t stand to the side and snap that pic. Stand on a stool (or even a table) and snap the pic from above. Or get on your belly and snap it from a kid’s eye view. It makes a huge difference.   I found that once I stepped outside of my box in composing my lifestyle shots, I was inspired to keep on stepping out of that box.

Don’t be worried about what’s in the background. Clutter and messy counters are part of our everyday lives – especially when we have young kids. Better to see that you skipped clearing the dishes to play a game with your little one or capture them playing racecars on the floor than to miss capturing the moment. And my little secret for lifestyle pics with a messy background is to make them black and white. Somehow, removing the color helps to remove the clutter. Magic!

Just writing this blog post caused me to pause while reading a book to a little one on my lap this afternoon. I don’t think there are many lap days left at our house. I’m going to try to get a shot from my perspective that will perfectly preserve that feeling of discovering a story with a snuggly kiddo.

Step out of that box and capture those moments. They’ll be gone all too soon.

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