4 Styles of Photography Explained

There are many different styles of photography, and if you aren’t familiar with them, it can be hard to know if a photographer’s style is right for you when considering them for your family portraits. It is also useful to know a bit about the photography style you gravitate towards so that you can communicate your vision to your photographer. Here are four of the most common styles of photography used in family portraits.

4 Styles of Photography Explained

Lifestyle –

Image courtesy of yours truly, Erika Rigger Photography

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Image courtesy of Molly Garg Photography

Lifestyle photography is exactly what it says it is. It is capturing the subject living their life in their natural environment. This can include the home, workplace or a location in their hometown. These pictures lean towards a more candid feel, but can include some setup or staging. Lifestyle photography can actually encompass elements of the other three styles. I love this style because of the authenticity of it. When a family chooses a location that is meaningful to them, and is encouraged to simply be themselves, is when the real emotion is captured and makes for the types of photos that are enjoyed for generations.

Documentary –

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Image courtesy of Life Unstill Photography

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Image courtesy of Floyd Family Photography

Documentary style photography is usually associated with a chronological series of events. It is storytelling of a visual nature. The beauty of this style is that it tells the story while capturing the associated emotions. These type of photos can be both staged or candid, depending on the event or subject. For instance, a staged documentary session would involve setting up an area in the kitchen with all the ingredients and supplies with which to make cookies and then photographing the process of kids making cookies with mom and dad.

Traditional or Posed –

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Image courtesy of Hannah Drews Photography

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Image courtesy of Earth Darling Portraits

Traditional or posed photography is a common portrait style. The subject of the photo is positioned to capture the light or a particular pose. In the past, these type of portraits were usually taken inside in a studio using backdrops and skillfully placed artificial lighting. A welcome change has many of these portraits now being created in natural light. Outdoor settings have become a popular choice for posed portraits.

Artistic –

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Image courtesy of Suzanne Taylor Photography

Artistic photography allows both the photographer and the subject the most freedom. They work as a team to create a piece of art with no guidelines or rules to follow. With artful backdrops, costumes, and make-up as well as heavy post-processing to achieve the look of a fantasy, there are also no limits to the creative touches and ideas used to help the vision come to life.

Selecting a photographer that you are comfortable with is of prime importance. This person will be working with you to create heirloom quality images for your family so clear communication on your expectations as well as familiarity with their style of photography is critical.

I'm Erika and I am a maternity, newborn, and family photographer based near Wilmington, NC. I'm also a mom to two cutie boys, lover of backyard gardening, candles, chocolate and Amazon Prime.

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As we continue our existence on this planet, I firmly believe that our passions and sense of purpose become increasingly distinct. While some individuals discover it early on, for most of us, it is a convoluted path with clarity only arriving after various twists and turns in our journey. Now, at the youthful age of 46, I have finally glimpsed what truly brings me satisfaction and delight - supporting women.⁠
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To me, supporting women entails presenting mothers with the photographs I capture of them alongside their families, instantly reminding them of their beauty as nurturing figures and their astonishing presence as the centerpiece of their families.⁠
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Look at this beautiful little lady! I have been photographing this little girl and her family for years and it's such an honor to get to capture families as they grow. From being invited into my clients' homes to capture their tender moments with their newborn babies or special holiday photos around their Christmas trees, it is never something I take lightly. I feel trusted, valued and I thank my lucky stars for this beautiful work that I do and the amazing clients I get to serve. ⁠
The birth of my brother's first child has prompted me to reminisce about the precious moments when my own children were newly born. Their delightful fragrance, petite and squishy features, and undeniable cuteness overwhelmed me. Despite my exhaustion and the countless tasks that demanded my attention, I found it impossible to sleep when they did. Instead, I would observe their every movement, cherishing each second of that extraordinary period. I made a conscious effort to etch every detail into my memory. And now, as I reflect upon those times, it feels as though they occurred just yesterday, despite my sons now being 5 and 9 years old. Having children truly transports one into a time-warp, with time appearing to both slow down and pass by in an instant, leaving you astonished by their rapid growth.⁠
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This family is just too sweet! You know what they say: three is a party, and these three kiddos definitely made this session feel like one. 
I love the energy that sibling dynamics bring to a session. They are the best kind of ornery, and it makes for some adorable shots and even better smiles.

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910.719.3633 hello@erikariggerphotography.com