How to Create Authentic Lifestyle Family Portraits

by Hillary Grigonis February 25, 2019

Elena S. Blair has built a mini-empire in under a decade by capturing authentic family moments. She is also co-founder of Ladyboss Workshops with CreativeLive instructor Sandra Coan who help up and coming women photographers create profitable businesses. But the Seattle-based photographer didn’t build a business delivering images of real moments without photography posing — in fact, just the opposite.

Elena uses unique lifestyle posing techniques to encourage authentic interaction so much so that she says she hardly ever stops talking during a session. Rather than stiff posing working for that perfect S-curve, Elena works with posing activities, like asking the family to hug or dance, or asking a new mom to breathe in that new baby smell.

If you can’t make it to Elena’s upcoming WPPI presentation (Wedding and Portrait Photography International) we’ve scored you exclusive access to her tips for creating candid shots with lifestyle posing.

Stop looking for specific poses on Pinterest and ask instead how you want your images to feel.

Pinterest can be great for inspiration, but too many photographers fall into the trap of finding a specific look and trying to imitate the pose as a starting point, only to end up disappointed. Photographers shouldn’t be defining the pose — or their own style — on looks, but on feel.

“I think that the reason [your vision isn’t really connecting with what is actually happening at your shoot] is that you’re thinking a lot about what you want your photos to look like, not what you want your photos to feel like. If I want it to be joyful, I’m going to direct them in a way that’s going to result in a much more joyful image. If I want it to be tender or serene, I’m going to direct them in a way that yields something a bit more tender or serene. Or, I’m going to focus more on a part of the pose like the hand or the hair or whatever detail that’s going to emote that feeling.”

Start simple.

Elena starts each session in a similar way. First, she interacts with the family without the camera. (For more on this article click here)

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