Difference in Portrait Styles: Lifestyle, Candid, Traditional & Environmental

What Photography Style To Choose

When it comes to basic portrait photography, there are many differences in styles of portraits to choose from. What they all have in common is that the photographer captures the subject’s face and eyes in focus and allows the other elements to remain out of focus or in the background. Here is some information that will help you determine which type of portraiture will suit your desires the best.

Lifestyle Photo-journalistic Photography

Lifestyle or Photo-journalistic Photography are very similar and refer to pictures captured of the style of living of the subjects depicted. It is usually a combination of candid and real life situations in a controlled setting. The idea is to capture the feeling of life experience and evoke a feeling or a storytelling experience. Weddings, family portraits, and engagements can typically fall into the lifestyle photography category.  Take for instance Ingrid, Chicago Wedding Photographer and Virginia Beach Photographer.

Generally the photographer will have a consultation with you and go over any locations that you and your family find special.  More often than not it’s in a natural setting such as a beach, park or an urban setting.  The most important thing is to choose a place that you and your family feel most comfortable and in your element.  So if you and your family are complete beach loving hippies then you may want to choose the beach over the park.


Candid Portraits

A candid picture is when a photo is taken when the subject is unaware or not expecting it to be taken. This type of photography doesn’t require set up, targeted lighting or extra equipment; it simply captures a subject ‘as-is’ in their average daily life. The candid approach of portraiture is spontaneous.  But this laid back style is given a bad rap for several reasons but mostly because most people don’t like having their photos taken without looking their absolute best.  So for the sake of this article when I refer to candid, I’m not referring to your Uncle Joe going around with a point and shoot camera trying to capture embarrassing moments of you.

I’m simply referring to capturing raw and real emotion without any of the moments being staged, similar to what a street photographer does.  Just like photojournalism, the entire goal is to document moments as they happen. For example, a street photographer will choose a starting location, such as a city.   He may walk around for hours looking for something to inspire him or elicit some type of emotion worthy of being captured on camera.  This could be something as simple as a kid helping an elderly lady across the street.

Candid photos can also be taken during a portrait session.  Sometimes those photos that are taken when you least expect it end up being your favorite ones.  Before you say, oh no, I want my hair to look look amazing, consider this.  The distinguishing factor in this type of photography is that the moments are not staged.  Imagine that a photographer staged you and the love of your life on a beach with the sun setting behind you.

family walking into the sunset

The photographer says, “I want you two to take 10 minutes and interact with one another just like you do any other day and forget that I’m even here”.  With such a beautiful environment how could you refuse to touch each other, kiss, hold hands, laugh, or whisper in each others ears?  You get the photos several weeks later and you’re amazed that he captured a silhouette of you and your love kissing with the sun glowing just between the two of you.  This is considered a form of candid photography because he didn’t stage your interactions he simply led you to a location.

Traditional Portraits

This type of photography has been in existence since cameras were first invented. A traditional portrait would display the face or expression as the predominant element. These photos are most commonly called headshots but the photo can also encompass the entire subject or multiple subjects. The direction of this type of photography is to display visual representation, personality and likeness of the subject. The subject is expected to be looking directly into the camera lens while the picture is being taken.

example of a traditional portrait

Environmental Portraits

An environmental portrait will normally focus on the relationship of the environment with their subject. The environment and subject relationship is more dominant than the facial expressions. The environmental approach photographs their subject in their environment, whether at the park, at home, fishing or playing a sport.

Each type of photography is unique and beautiful in its own way and there is no right or wrong option to choose from. You can even combine a lifestyle and a candid photo session or mix several styles into one scene. The importance of the subject matter is the most critical part throughout the different categories of portraiture photography. If you choose the style that best suits your personality, you’ll achieve the best results.  Visit the latest, Choosing an outside photographer.

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