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


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 –


Image courtesy of Life Unstill Photography


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 –


Image courtesy of Hannah Drews Photography


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 –


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.

3 Things to Ask A Photographer When Taking Family Portraits

3 things to ask a photographer wilmington nc

A family session at the beach, complete with parents, a baby, aunties, uncles and grandparents!

Family portraits are a wonderful investment. They capture your family at a moment in time and give you something to look back on to remember that season of life. Both candid and posed moments are precious treasures for families to have. But choosing a family photographer can be tricky, especially if you know of a few good ones. So here are three things to ask a photographer you are considering for your family portraits.

3 Things to Ask A Photographer

  1. Ask if they shoot on-site. While studio portraits still have their time and place, on-site photography is much more popular these days. Make sure your photographer is willing to come to your home or another location where you want to shoot. Choosing a place that is beautiful or interesting and special to your family is important.
  2. Talk to them about wardrobe. After picking a location, a good photographer is going to have an idea of what colors would compliment that area or not. For example, if you know you are going to be taking photos with a red brick background, you won’t want your family wearing red or coral. Your photographer should have tips like that to produce the best photos possible.
  3. Discuss poses and groupings. You don’t want to spend hours upon hours doing this photo shoot—and neither do your kids. Talk about groupings with a photographer before hand and get their suggestions. For example, decide that you want the whole family, then grandma and grandpa with all the grandkids, then each individual family together, etc.

Make sure you get the most out of your family portraits by talking with your potential photographers beforehand and getting a good idea of who would work best with your family chemistry. Also, be sure you thoroughly review their portfolio. It’s very important to be familiar with a photographer’s style and be sure it aligns with your vision for your family portraits. Doing a little homework will ensure you have family portraits that will be treasured for generations.

Are you interested in having family portraits done? Contact me to find out more!

Check out The Bump & Beyond, Wilmington NC

As a mother myself, I understand how beautiful, yet challenging motherhood can be. The saying “it takes a village” really does apply to parenthood. Raising amazing, healthy, happy human beings is hard! But when you find your village, you can focus more on the beautiful parts of parenthood and less on the challenging ones. That’s a big part of why Stephanie Luther decided to open up The Bump and Beyond in Wilmington, NC.

owner of The Bump & Beyond in Wilmington NC

Stephanie Luther, Owner of The Bump and Beyond in Wilmington, NC.

Stephanie, a licensed nurse and birth & post partum doula, is from New York. When she moved to Wilmington, NC she discovered a need to bring great, eco-minded, healthy, modern products to the mothers (and mothers-to-be) in the area. Sure, you can find some of the fantastic products they carry on Amazon but “when you buy products from a boutique like this you get more than what you’re buying. You’re getting all the research and personal experience we have with these products. You’re getting tips, help, classes, and community. All these things have blossomed from this store. It’s really been amazing”, says Stephanie.

The Bump & Beyond has grown by leaps and bounds since it first opened almost two years ago. They’ve gone from providing eco-friendly, healthy, functional baby products to also offering classes, support and community as a one-stop shop for parents in Wilmington. From a large variety of baby carriers, teething necklaces, feeding supplies, breast pump and carrier rentals and organic baby products to parenting, maternity and baby-related events and classes, The Bump & Beyond is truly Wilmington’s premiere resource for all things parenting.

The Bump & Beyond is located at:
Crossroads Shopping Center
890 S. Kerr Avenue, Suite 3
Wilmington, NC 28403

Email: info@thebumpandbeyond.com
Connect:  Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Google+

Take a look at their upcoming events!

The Bump & Beyond Wilmington NC

The Bump & Beyond Wilmington NC

Health-conscious and eco-friendly baby products plus events and classes for moms!

The Bump & Beyond Wilmington NC

The “Kids Only” area where children can play while moms and dads shop or participate in a class.

Twice Around the Sun Photo Shoot

Hi everyone!

Since I’m a proud mom like the rest of  you, I couldn’t resist sharing photos from a quick 25 minute photo shoot I did of my son for his 2nd birthday. Today is his actual birthday, but we did the Twice Around the Sun photo shoot yesterday at Kiwanis Park in Hampstead. It was muggy and overcast all day but as long as there was no rain we were going to do it! We got attacked by mosquitos and left with our shoes covered in mud, but the photos really captured his personality in this super fun (albeit, challenging) age. He’s changing so much everyday, I know I’ll look back on these photos soon and get all nostalgic over these days and his sweet baby face.

Hats off to all the kiddos out there turning two this month, and all the moms and dads for doing a great job!



Twice Around the Sun Photo Shoot

Twice Around the Sun Photo ShootTwice Around the Sun Photo ShootTwice Around the Sun Photo Shoot

Baby S | In-Home Newborn Photography

Soon after I sent this family their gallery of photos from their in-home newborn photography session, they responded with their appreciation as well as commented about how much baby Smith had already changed. This is why documenting details of your baby’s first days are so important!

The sweet thing about in-home newborn lifestyle sessions is they are really fun and super relaxed. No stressing about getting baby to sleep. No worrying about baby pooping on props. If baby wants to be wide awake and snuggle in arms, great! If baby is sleepy, that’s great too! Need to stop and feed? I’ll hang out! The point is to capture those first real, beautiful moments of baby interacting with family in his environment. Simple and perfect as that.

Baby S | In-Home Newborn Photography

Baby Smith, exactly one week old on the day of his big photo session. He had his big sisters join in the photo fun early on in the session and then we retreated to his sweet nursery for him to feed and lay in his crib for more photos.

Wilmington NC In-Home Newborn Photography

Wilmington NC In-Home Newborn PhotographyWilmington NC In-Home Newborn PhotographyWilmington NC In-Home Newborn Photography

Interested in an in-home newborn photography session? Contact me to schedule yours!

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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