Thoughts On Lifestyle Photography

CollageIt's been a while since I sat down and wrote about my first creative love, photography! Through the years photography has played a major role in all of my creative jobs: from my very first business shooting photos locally to selling my art online to becoming a full time blogger and more recently in photographing much of our own books! I can say with certainty that my very first DSLR was the best investment I ever made in my career. As the years go by, I have become more and more interested in photography. I am sure it will be a lifelong learning process.

Today I want to talk a little bit about my thoughts on photography. I consider myself a lifestyle photography enthusiast. My favorite thing in the world is looking back on memories from years past with the people I love. It's so special. Technical perfection means very little to me. My biggest goal with photography is to capture the things that make life sweet, the things that are here today gone tomorrow.Real MomentsReal MomentsReal MomentsReal moments are my favorite. Not that there is anything wrong with a posed and styled photo, as (if I'm being honest) that is most of what we share here on ABM. Real moments are special, rare and much more difficult to capture. I think that is why they are my favorite. When I get a candid photo that captures a person's beauty, a couple's style or a family relationship, I melt.

It's not easy to be tuned in and ready to capture real moments. It's a learned habit that happens slowly, with practice. I feel like each year I am more able to capture moments as they happen without stopping everything and saying, "Wait! Do that again!"DetailsDetailsDetailsDetailsSometimes detail shots tell the best stories. All of these photos take me back to different days where I can clearly remember what I was feeling and what was happening. The photo of the box takes me back to the first day we moved into our new home, and the ice cream photo will always remind me of a sunny day when Jeremy (who is NOT a sweets person) offered to take me on an ice cream date totally out of the blue. It's easy to glaze over detail shots. I often hear people making fun of others who instagram food or coffee. In my opinion, these little things tell a bigger story and they matter just as much as posed portraits or a whole scene. I LOVE details.Movement Movement I love movement and, yes, even blurry photos! With that said, I've definitely had my fair share of accidentally blurry photos that seriously bummed me out. Over time, I've become more open to embracing blurry photos. Sometimes they are even my favorites. They tell a story. Whether your day is busy, crazy, windy or stressful, there are times that the blur can add to the emotion in a photograph. I mean, life really is a whirlwind sometimes, right?Genuine EmotionGenuine EmotionGenuine emotion shows through. I love it when photos capture true emotions. So many times it's easier, quicker, and a force of habit for me to just throw on my photo smile. Plus, so many people feel awkward and shy in front of the camera. I love the photo above where Jeremy is NOT into getting a photo with me. This happened when we were at breakfast last week. I don't blame him and, you know what, I think this is one of my favorite photos we've had together in a while, because he didn't put on a fake smile. Real emotions are funny, special and sometimes unexpected. Capturing real emotion isn't easy. It takes lots of trial and error, but when it happens it's magic! 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on lifestyle photography. What helps you get your best photos? What are some challenges that you face? xo. Elsie 

Read more of my photography articles: Tips for Capturing Emotion, 10 Things Not To Do, Tips for Outdoor Photos, Tips for Lifestyle Photography and more.

  • Awesome post. You have great memorable photos especially those of the kids. As a father myself and someone involved in Photography these photos are always there as the children grow up to remind us of those lovely days and events.
    There are many types of cameras out there, but when it comes to advanced, interchangeable lens models, nothing is more iconic than the DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex)

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  • Hi Elsie!
    Your blog is very inspiring to me.. I’m just starting out with photography and blogging. I never really gave any thought to “capturing emotion”..but those are my favorite photographs.
    Like stopping time..a blur of hair, an ice cream drip..a face
    in the mirror, kids bumping lets us know we’re alive and real. Thank you for your insights.
    Kelli Girsch –

  • I totally agree! I love capturing those moments that show us – the real us!

  • Really beautiful post!
    Your so right,about the effect a photo can have and I totally agree that photos of unique and special moments are so much more emotional and inspiring than those which were set up!
    I think you really know a lot about how to capture those unique moments and your a great photographer!
    Me I`m still learning and hope to capture more photos like that!


  • I just love the light in all of theese pictures. Do you use an action or a filte to give them this sunny and matt look?

  • I love this too. It’s so important to just capture life honestly, beautifully, and effortlessly. Technical skill has very little to do with real lifestyle photography.

  • I love this post! I’m a big fan of your blog (even got a couple of your e-courses) and I don’t comment a lot but I just wanted to say thank you for being such an inspiration. You inspire me to do better. You inspire me to be creative. You guys inspire me to see beautiful things in big messes. So thank you. I hope you get to keep doing what you are doing forever!

  • This is inspiring and lovely, Elsie! Thank you!

    I would love to hear how you stay on top of organizing the many photos you shoot. Do you organize by year and pick a few to share on social media and your blog? This is where I get overwhelmed with exploring photography as a hobby.

  • those caught moments are always the best and I often forget to catch them. thanks for an interesting and motivating read, Elsie.

  • I love lifestyle photography & sometimes the blurry photos are the best 🙂

  • I enjoy capturing emotion, too. A long lens seems to help since otherwise people line up for the firing squad the moment they see a camera.

  • thanks so much for sharing. ABM photos have been a big inspiration for me, and I can’t wait to buy your book this summer 🙂 i was always one of those people who didn’t want to take photos because i felt it “ruined the moment”, but now i look back and am sad that i don’t have more photos to share in those memories! life is so precious and each moment will never be repeated– it’s special and we have to remember that now and not years later. i bought my first camera 6 months ago and am having soooo much fun recording life. I happened to take random photos of a colleague in the past months– and now she is moving away to another country, so i will print out the photos to make a special album for her. i can’t wait to surprise her, i know it will mean a lot to her. this represents a total change in my own perspective and i couldn’t be happier about that… a photo is really worth 1000 words.

  • What a great post. Since my babies were born last year I’ve been trying to improve my photography skills. And since little ones are not always the most posable, I really want to improve with this type of nuances that you mention! I am having a hard time because I think I take thins too literally and it just doesn’t work. It’s encouraging to hear that over time you are more confident in letting the smear work in the moment without having to interfere and recreate something happening! That’s where in at right now.

  • Thank you for defending detail photos like pictures of food and coffee. I’ve been taking photos like that for a while and I’ve been sharing them on instagram lately, and definitely have taken some flack for it from people who don’t seem to understand.

    I think as bloggers, we sometimes hear this kind of criticism about things we share from our lives. People say things like, “Hey, who really cares what you’re wearing today?” And it’s hard not to take it to heart sometimes even though the positive feedback outweighs the negative.

    Sometimes it’s just good to hear another blogger who’s coming from the same place that I am.

  • I am completely agree with you, many persons don’t understand the meaning of food photography or little details, maybe because they don´t like to take photos or there is not a artistic personality, i think we have to continue with what we love. At this moment I don´t have an Ipod, I need a new one 🙁 I love instagram and now I can´t share my special details, well I have a canon but for me in this moment is difficult to carry on with me all the time, I am busy with many task of the university, but i have to do something, at least at home.
    I love your photography work, keep going, you are amazing.

  • Awesome photos.Especially the ‘wall’ with ‘I love you’
    its very appealing,Also the little girl picture is too cute
    The observers choice of taking a snap in a angle view is quite eyecatching.

  • I’ve been interested in photography for some time, and after about a year with my nice little point and shoot, I splurged and bought a DSLR and am LOVING IT!! Emotion shots are my favorite, and though I’m having some trouble embracing those blurry ones, I know what you mean!!

  • Lifestyle photography is definitely my favorite kind of photography! I love how natural and real it is. And I love that lifestyle photography captures the subject(s) in their real state and it captures real memories as well.

    I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but one of my other fave photography blogs does a monthly photo project called Ten on Ten, where you post ten photos (taken once every hour) on the tenth of each month.

    Here’s the link to her blog, if you’re curious!

    And thanks for these posts! I love reading the photography ones! 🙂

  • what a beautiful post 🙂 your photography is fantastic! photos really do tell a story 🙂


  • It is really interested to read these thoughts on photography Elsie. Makes me feel less bad I am still using my DSLR on automatic mode 🙂
    I love the way you capture details and that is my goal, to be able to document everything without needing to “pause” life for a few seconds to get the shot. Thanks for sharing!

  • LOVE THIS POST. I’m all for lifestyle photography! Glad to have some other champions out there!!!

  • My philosophy exactly! I so love “real” moments and tired fast of posed portraits. Though, they can be fun and satisfying too. My best tips are to forget a lens cap and use a lens filter instead (i.e., UV filter). If your lens filter gets scratched, it is cheap to replace but you are less likely to miss that spontaneous moment while removing your lens cap. If your camera (most DSLRs have this) has a sleep function, never turn your camera to off. Your camera will always be at the ready and with the sleep function you are not wasting too much battery power especially with rechargeables. Again so you won’t miss that spontaneous moment.

  • I am in love with your photos! I agree that the candid shots that capture a person’s true spirit are the best. I hope that I can be quick enough with my DSLR to capture these moments. Unfortunately my reflexes are pretty slow or I’m too busy admiring the moment itself to even think about capturing it on camera.


  • Love this post! I think lifestyle photography is a really beautiful art.

  • You read my mind!! Or I read yours. Either way it’s awesome! I was just thinking this very thing not 30min before I read this post!

    “Real moments are my favorite. Not that there is anything wrong with a posed and styled photo, as (if I’m being honest) that is most of what we share here on ABM. Real moments are special, rare and much more difficult to capture.”

    So inspiring. Thank you.

  • a very nice approach to your lovely and touching artistic photography!

  • I love this, and I agree with you. Life style shots are beautiful. I am a new photographer, and it is blog posts like this that help remind me how much I just LOVE freezing time. I have always said photography is the only true “time capsol” this world has. Thanks for sharing. I love yalls blog!

  • I literally JUST bought my first DSLR. I have no clue how to work it but darn it, I will learn! I’m so excited. My next purchase is going to be a cute and comfy camera bag so I don’t feel so self-conscious carrying it everywhere. What’s the point if I’m not using it all the time?

  • bits ands snaps are wonderful and at one point they were all i took.
    then i decided i’d challenge myself to take more conceptual photos, more self portraits. i like it, i like that it’s a lot harder for me and it makes me try new things but, i the end, i know lifestyle photography is my favorite:)

  • When taking your lifestyle photos do you bring a tripod with you a lot of the time or do you just try to wing it? I really want to take more lifestyle photos with my husband but we don’t always hang out with people who would be able to take a picture of both of us. I’m interested in how you are able to capture those moments of the two of you while still being “spontaneous” about the picture.

  • I am all about lifestyle photos, but sometimes, especially out in public, I get so self-conscious about taking them! I feel like everyone is staring at me (and worse yet, especially when I’m down in Wicker Park where I work, I feel like they think I’m a tourist!) I also live in fear of someone yelling at me for taking their picture. I have been trying to get my husband into taking more of these photos as well, since we have both been working on improving our photography skills. It would be so nice if both of us were able to tag team the moment capturing. Otherwise, it will likely look as if I don’t exist in photo albums 😉

  • I like how you call it lifestyle photography. I take pictures, but am not a photographer. I random pics of my family. They are truly some of my favorite pictures.

  • Thanks for the great post! I just recently got my own camera and am trying to get a hang of it. I’ve never had one beyond a point-and-shoot! I look forward to being able to ‘see’ the moments happening and be able to capture great photos like you do.

    xoxo, Em

  • Can anyone reommend a camera for me? I am just starting to get into photography and am using it in my own blog But, would like a camera that I could have some fun with. At the moment I am taking the photos on my iphone!! Thanks T x

  • I think the most difficult part is to have people agree to be photographed.
    A lot of my friends doesn’t really like having their picture taken, and if they’re not on, I have to take a shot at someone or something else.
    That’s why I often take shots at things that cannot say they don’t want to.

  • I love this post. I am no professional photographer (far faaar from it) but i love love love taking photos of the little things so so very much and that is sort of why i started my blog. The best photos are the ones that arent as planned and just capture a moment perfectly.

    Your photos are heaven xxxx

  • I loved this. I have been trying to focus on taking more daily-life photos myself and I find it a bit challenging. I think I also would love to work on documenting the details more.

    I think for me, I struggle with lighting when trying to capture a quick moment.


  • i totally agree with you that the candid moments are the best.

  • I love this post and I think I will read it from time to time. I like it that you say “technical perfection means very little to you”, so I feel that I am not totally wrong with this opinion. 😉 And when you write that you learned capturing all these lovely moments with stopping everything and saying “Wait! Do that again!”, that gives me hope. All your above shown pictures are so beautiful I think I should more often burst out “Wait! Do that again!”. 😉

    Have a lovely day!


  • I adore these photos! This entire post is just lovely, made me feel happy reading it 🙂 x

  • Such a great post; it puts into words exactly how I feel about photography. I love your pictures and the details and moments you have captured, and I’m inspired to start carrying my camera everywhere now : ).

  • Wow, that’s a great post. I also love lifestyle photography the most. Espacially because you can see real emotions on the photos and how people act in real life. I love it.
    Your photos are so beautiful 🙂

    (sorry for my bad english, I hope to improve it in august)

  • You always inspire me to take better photos! …but in the end, I shoot what I shoot, and there are always some gems. <3 <3 Great post.

  • Totally agree,composition is everything in the pictures..
    Everything is the eyes behind the camera…

    A perfect camera is not gonna make perfect pics..

    So u have The eyes….and obviously the composition is great …Lovely pics….

  • Beautifully said. The best photos come from the last minute “OMG take a picture” moment. Or when you’ve carefully decided “I want a picture with this person”. Photos are gold and immortal, but the story behind them is what makes them so very special.

  • This is very inspiring. I must make more of an effort to take less posed photos for my own blog.

  • I love this entry so much, beautiful beautiful photos. I love lifestyle photography! I’m such a big fan of it although I don’t shoot it much because I don’t carry my DSLR around me a lot. I try to change that but it’s such a hard thing for me to whip out a big camera when I’m casually out with my friends. That’s why I can justify using my iPhone but this post really do inspire me to try to carry my DSLR out a lot more and really start capturing life again.

  • Lol! Blurry photos “crazy, busy, WINDY or stressful days”! Gotta say that made me LAUGH HARD! In the UK ‘windy’ might be considered as ‘gassy’!

    Great post though! Looking forward to your book!

  • I LOVE this post! I’m a wedding photographer, and I try to approach weddings the same way you approach lifestyle photography: with a readiness for capturing genuine, candid details without having to re-stage emotions or authentic moments. It can be a challenge and I agree that it’s a “learned habit.” I’m in a phase where I’m learning to embrace those accidental (even sometimes intentional) blurry photos! I was just editing a shoot today and was thinking to myself, “wow, I’m falling more and more in love with photography every day!” I love learning new things about my camera and new techniques for capturing documentary-style images.

    And OH MAN, do I adore the images in this post, and on this blog in general! Especially those red Converse sneaks… I have a soft spot for feet/shoe photos. 🙂

  • Lovely post! I consider myself a photography novice but it’s something I would love to spend more time getting in to. I do agree though that sometimes the best images are the ones that happen accidentally or the ones that capture a moment you hadn’t intended.
    Beautiful images….I am inspired to get snapping!

  • I am so in love with your dapple dachshund! I have 3 red dachshunds (2 short- and 1 long-hair).

    My camera and I are in a fight…so I am giving him the silent treatment.

  • I love photography! It is a very difficult learning process but I am enjoying everything I see through my dslr lens. I am learning alot through your blog. Just by looking at your photos I learn what great composition is and how to be more creative with my camera. Thanks for sharing!
    🙂 Liz @

  • What an inspirational post!! I’ve always looked up to you as I grow in photography 🙂


  • love the post… for me pictures just another way for going back in the memory and reliving that time, energy, love, moment.

  • I love your thoughts in this article. Thanks! I am just getting started with lifestyle photography and real moments are the hardest, especially if I’m trying to capture my daughter doing something super cute. I only have about 30 seconds and she is usually being really wiggly. You photography is inspiring and makes me want to try harder and keep practicing. Thanks for being awesome!

  • I love looking back on photos of this nature, but I feel like I never take enough of them. I’m always more focused on being in the moment, and its hard to spend time behind a camera sometimes… like I’m separated from the action.

  • This was a really wonderful post. Thanks for the reminder of the past photo posts as well. I’m glad to have rediscovered the “Tips For Capturing Emotion”, because that is what I struggle with the most when photographing people I don’t know. This blog is a constant source of inspiration, and for that I am grateful.

  • I only just got into photography about a year ago. I have a simple point & shoot camera (Canon PowerShot SD 1300 IS) but have fallen in love with taking pictures so much that I am planning to upgrade this month as a birthday present to myself. Thank you so much for writing and showing this relatable post on photography. I think these ones are my favorite!

  • I love this post! I have been into photography for a while, and am saving up for a “nice” camera lately. What you wrote about basically describes my passion. What I really like to do and want to get better at. When I get older (I’m only 14 now), I want to capture those types of moments. The special moments I really want to remember having. My mind is pretty forgetful, so picture taking is the way to go for me. Thank you for posting this! Makes me want to save faster!


  • I have been getting more and more into photography lately, but am an amateur at best. I’ve been teaching myself to try new angles and new views, and have been trying to share new and different things. I love lifestyle photography because (as a scrapbooker) these are the moments I love to scrapbook. I’m sure people get sick of seeing the same subjects from me, but I’m learning and its what I love.

  • I love everything about this post and I agree with all of the points you’ve made. Lifestyle photography is my favorite form of photography and will always feel more special than posed or model pics. My scrap book is filled with random life shots.

  • One of my biggest challenges is capturing my lifestyle shots without flash. I take most of my pictures in the evening and at night, and I’m working on figuring out steadiness, ISO, etc. in order to not have to use that pesky flash! I’m hoping to get a new lens with lower f-stops soon! Any other tips, Elsie or readers?


  • I think the memories are the best part of photography!!! I love looking through old images and reminiscing!

    xx Penny –

  • Thanks for this. I totally agree. I love lifestyle, candid photography, capturing moments & embracing the imperfection of it all. As I work to improve my technical skills, sometimes I get discouraged by what I read from professional photographers about what is right/wrong, correct/incorrect…I want to scream but isn’t this art?! I am reminded thru your post to just do what you feel is best in your heart and to express your creativity. If someone doesn’t like it then don’t look at it, don’t buy it and please don’t criticize just move along! ps – i also like blurry photos

  • Love this! I feel like I’ve recently been in a photography rut and this was just the inspiration I needed. I get so caught up on the technical side of things sometimes – I just need to let go! Love your other photo tips!! Thanks so much, Elsie!

  • Gorgeous photographs. I am in the learning process. I got my first DSLR as a gift from my husband two years ago and it has been the best investment ever.

  • i love this post, i can relate to it so much!!. I have two kids. 3 and 6… and candid photos is just about ALL i can get out of them. The little one still likes to pose, but the older one freaks out!! if he sees the camera. So all of my pictures of him are from behind or far away!! But i love them.. i love those photos so much. And ofcourse i have many blurry photos as well.. and you are right.. some of them are definite keepers!! Unless they are REALLY blurry .. and in that case they look like pictures of little monsters and i have to toss them so that i can sleep at night!

  • I love this post, Elsie! I’m more lifestyle, too!

    My boyfriend used to wonder why I do detail photos. He’s more into the science of photography versus, I love the art to it.

  • The photo of your husband reminded me of a picture that I was trying to take of mine while on vacation. After telling him to use his “real” smile about a dozen times, I instead said something inappropriate. (I won’t say what here, but it was bedroom talk.) “That’s your real smile.”

    I had forgotten that memory, so thank you. You’re right, so many moments!

  • I love lifestyle photography, but it comes with a couple of challenges. For example, movement, lighting and subject matter. But I do have fun with it without analyzing about it way too much. I think the key is to have fun with what you love doing 🙂

  • I was just talking to my gentleman friend about this!!! We went away to a (don’t laugh) beard convention/event this weekend, and one of our friends was like, “Oh I need pics of you two” and I was like, “Ugh, I have to pretend to like you?!” And she must’ve snapped like 7 photos of the awkward ugly ugh faces, and I got them, and fell in <3 with them because they totally capture what we’re really about. Being silly. He looks fantastic, and I look like my usual dweeby self. But they’re the best. I love the photos that most people gloss over because they aren’t perfect. Such beauty in imperfection, and rawness. You’re such an inspiration, and I love all the photos you take!! Kara

  • The photos featured here are so precious. I find that when something unpredicted happens when trying to stage a picture, if you’re lucky to hit the button at that time, that pic is the best.

  • I love this post!! Sometimes I struggle with getting a picture perfect. Making sure that everything will line up just right and that it will be in perfect focus. I love that you mentioned that sometimes, the blurry photos are your favorites and that it’s more about capturing the moment and someone’s true personality rather than making sure everything is perfect.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos 🙂


  • Hi!

    I totally agree with you. Taking photos is one of my favorite things ever and I love details too. I really like your photos.

    I’m from Brazil 🙂 So, if I made some grammar mistake, i’m sorry!

  • Great points! Real moments are my favorite for photography, but sometimes I get shy with pulling out my camera, but I’m learning to break that habit! That way, images can reveal true emotions too!


  • I love this post! Especially what you wrote about blurry photos! Sometimes they bum me out, but every once in a while the blur capture somethig even more special than the frozen moment 🙂

  • I completely agree, lifestyle photography is one of the best ways to document life. I’ve always loved taking pictures but it’s funny to notice how the shift happened from appearing in front of the camera, dressed up, out for a night of partying (which got really repetitive!) to being behind the lens and really seeing things for the first time. I’ve been in London for 2 yrs now and although we are moving soon, I really feel like I’ve captured the essence of a city for the first time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and some of the more candid moments, they are lovely -jb.

  • this is the kind of photography i never do, but i love it so much! i need to try this more in my life to capture my moments. thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Your photos and thoughts on life are wonderful! I love capturing the precious moments that wouldn’t last forever, seeing the beauty in blurry photos and in everything that surrounds us too. The moments that make you smile captured on camera are a treasure. Thank you for a sweet inspiration!


  • I love lifestyle photography as well. I think it is very meaningful and beautiful. Personally, I love to take photos of everyday life and I am constantly taking pictures. Hopefully I will somehow manage to make the money to get a DSLR of my own soon because my current camera isn’t cutting it. The photos you have featured in this post are beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

  • Whar drew me to your Blog is the style of photos that you take. They are lifestyle and they are your particular style which reminds me to remember the little things. You are right about catching real emotion and how difficult that is. I find that it has taken a while for me to let people feel comfortable with the camera in my face. They become so relaxed with the camera that they forget that it is there. I don’t know why but I need to become less embarrassed about carrying my camera everywhere.

    I noticed a lot of shoes and feet in your photos. Is there are a particular interest here?

  • I love this post. I’ve never been reaaaally into photography, probably because I have that attitude where so many people claim to be into it, that I almost refuse to have anything to do with it. With having a blog however, I’m trying to work on my skills even though I have just about no knowledge of anything. I think my biggest challenge is that with blogging, I feel like a lot of pictures I see are so stylized and unreal that it somehow makes me feel like mine need to be too. I’m trying to accept that that just a.) isn’t possible with my schedule b.) difficult to do when you’re just using a tripod and not having someone take the pictures c.) when you’re not in an ideal setting. This post got me interested in working more on embracing what my own technique is coming out to be!


  • I loved reading your take on lifestyle photography. Though I’m not really a new photographer, I do consider myself a beginner because I’m still learning and feel like so many of my shots don’t turn out how I envisioned. My biggest challenge though is just getting out there with my camera and not feeling shy about it. I’d love to capture more small everyday moments because they are precious to me.

  • Absolutely love this. I am so happy you shared this, I am a photography student in college, and it so so nice to hear the opinion of someone who is certainly good at what they do, and even more so someone whom I admire. Thank you!

    Juliette Laura


  • I have yet to own my first DSLR camera but after reading this I am even more motivated to save $$ and get one! Your pictures are beautiful and definitely capture the once in a lifetime precious moments 😀

  • Photography is something on my list of “things to improve on” – this post was great inspiration 🙂 I too really love the candid shots where you get that genuine emotion from the subject… must practice!

  • I love being able to see someone’s personality through a photo! I struggle very much with this, since I tend to forget to pull out my camera to take candid photos. I also recently realized that I am camera shy myself, and hopefully I can work on that throughout the year.

    Your photos on the blog really are inspirational! They capture little details, but they make them so special.

  • I love ALL of your photos. Every single one. Very inspiring! It’s good to remember that the best shots are random and not posed.

  • I absolutely love yours and Emma’s pictures both here and on Instagram. I love that while they are aesthetically pleasing, they still feel genuine. I can always sense the love that’s behind each one. You are a huge inspiration for me and my creative work. Thank you for sharing!

  • I love your photos Elsie. I always get groans from my family when I bring my camera to a get together but I think photos are important because they capture the people you love and help you hold onto great memories. This year I’d like to get more into lifestyle photography. I don’t take photos of people as often as I do landscapes and cityscapes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – definitely gets me motivated to take more lifestyle photos.
    xx Allison

  • Thank you for this! I need to carry my camera around more to capture these special real moments. Your blog is such an inspiration to me when it comes to real photos and photography in general. Im looking forward to your photography book coming out so I can learn even more. Photography is so special to me and I need to get in the habit of it more.

  • It’s a great article. I agree that moments are far more difficult to capture than perfect pose. As a wedding photographer I have to do both, and I also prefer moments – they are more satisfying for me and often more surprising.

  • I love your photography Elsie. Thanks for these tips. As someone who just bought my first DSLR, I’m still learning so much about taking photos and how to capture those special little moments.

  • it’s so nice to hear how excited you get taking photos. I have that feeling too, when things just line up, and there’s this lovely document of something you’d like to keep. After this I’m going to work on the details more, and my biggest photo fail- printing! I want to see my photos off the screen and in an album.

  • I’m like you, I like to capture moments where I think the world is beautiful, or just a unique moment to capture in my everyday. That is why I’m changing my blog layout to a more photo based blog, just taking snapshots of my daily life and exploits into the unknown.


  • I love taking detailed shots and shots when people don’t know they are being photographed 🙂 To me photography is all about freezing memories. The biggest difficulty is when people know they are being photographed and sometimes, as you said, put on their pose face. I’m definitely guilty of that 😛

  • Oh gosh, I am in love with these pictures!
    They are so full of emotion!
    I’m trying to improve my photography skills, really hope to do something like this very soon!

  • Lifestyle photography is super-tricky especially as there are so many people who get overly anxious when they see a camera and try to hide (it’s almost like a pose in itself). So well, while I try to take better photos I also myself try to be as good of a model as possible. Not minding when others snap photos of me and I might at times look totally silly. I secretly try to encourage people to look genuinely silly and not worry much about the camera. I believe that leads to better lifestyle snapshots. Heheh. 😉

    xx Kaisa

  • I am fascinated by photography as well! I am trying to save up for a better camera, but in the meantime I am content with what I have. Even Instagram! My favorite thing about ABM is the photography, and I look forward to looking at the beautiful photos posted on here every day! I’ve already learned a thing or two from this blog! Keep up the great work 🙂

  • Oh boy. This is a good post. I think for myself, as a young mom, but also as a person who loves photography, the biggest battle I face is this: do I stop, run for my camera, and capture this moment or do I just take it in with my own two eyes and keep it as a memory in my mind? Aside from that, living in Portland, my biggest challenge is lighting! Love our grey days here, but sometimes our grey days are too grey, wink! : )

  • Oh, they’re my favorite. I really don’t like posing for pictures. I don’t think I have a pretty fake smile so posing makes me really nervous, I hate it. And I think I look better when I don’t know if I’m being looked at from behind a camera. When I’m being me. Somehow, I think it’s the same for most people and I absolutely adore capturing friends and family as I see them, not with some big smile looking at the lense.

    I haven’t taken many pictures like this, though, but I do plan on working on that. I just got a camera, my very first one, and I plan on using it a lot.

  • I completely agree with you about capturing the moment (and not having to ask the subject to pause and rewind). This is how I would like to capture a person or thing. In motion and natural.

    Of course, I have an overflow of posed photos of myself, family, friends etc. but these aren´t my favorite. I am new to photography too and I´m learning how to use the DLSR camera properly and play around with the many options it has.

    My friends always ask me why I´m always clicking away and I say that I´m just ready to catch a moment which I know can be gone in a blink besides I am surprised what I find when I go through the photos again.

    Love, love, love the photos you have shared in the post! Beautiful and inspiring 🙂

  • Great post! I completely agree that the detail in photography is key! Me and my friends go traveling and we take a gazillion shots of our boots in a circle, similar to yours above. It’s become a thing that I absolutely love and comparing them over time is super fun!

    I always struggled with (and still do!) the confidence to take a photo, especially amongst groups where I’m not that comfortable with the people there or in a busy place it’s daunting to take out your giant DSLR, but it gets better over time and I actually have a blog post scheduled for this week with a few personal hints and tips for better confidence with DSLR photography.

    I absolutely love taking photos and yours are always so expressive! Some of my absolute faves :))

    Sophie |

  • Elsie,

    I completely agree! Candid pictures are much more challenging than still/posed life shots, but they’re so worth all the effort in the end.

    My scrapbook is filled with blurry photos that mean so much to me, because they capture my rambunctious puppy nephew in toy destroying action, or my husband’s band performing in “imperfect” but dramatic stage lighting.

    It took a while for me to embrace the idea that a “flawed” photo can still be beautiful, but doing so has freed me up to capture so much more of real life, and I’m glad.

    Thank you for sharing so many photos here. They really do inspire me to keep my trusty Canon handy, and to capture little bits of the magic in ordinary, every day life. 🙂

    – Jen

  • I love this post! I’ve dabbled in photo over the years, but I’ve never had the chance to own such a nice camera myself. I read your post about your camera gear, but do you have any recommendations for someone just starting out?

  • I love lifestyle photographs too, though I didn’t realize they were called that . . . not that’s there’s anything wring with that title. 🙂 I’m a details person too, but my favorite photographs are the candid ones. Over the last year I’ve lost 87lbs and photos have a whole new meaning for me. Before, I was mortified by any picture of myself, but now I feel more love for myself, more self acceptance. I gather up my courage and put myself in front of the lens because I realize now, more than ever, my life is precious; fragile. And, it’s all those moments of real life that I didn’t get in front of the camera that I regret.

  • Love this. I’m just starting out with my photography business (mainly shooting weddings) and one of the things I really struggle with is trying to capture those moment of real, candid emotion. So often the subject can feel awkward because they’re not sure what to do, so they just stand and pose. My favourite shots are almost always the ones that are captured spontaneously, when the subject is unaware. That tends to mean that my favourite people to photograph at a wedding are kids – they wear their hearts on their sleeve and usually produce the funniest or most heartwarming pictures!

  • Hello dear.
    I am an artistic photographer and most of my photos are set up. It has only been recently that i have loved more lifestyle photographs. Since i have had my blog, i have been more prone to just watch my girls play and snap away. I love capturing moments and having them forever. I also love taking an hour out in the evening to look back through all my old photographs and just smile and remember.

    I used to get a little hung up on my settings with these pictures but i have learnt to relax and just shoot what i see and not worry about having the correct exposure. i don’t want to mess around with the settings to then miss a moment. I am quite happy with not having perfect lifestyle shots and i am quite happy and keeping those shots forever and ever!


  • Love this. Lifestyle photography is definitely my fave too. Those emotions you get to capture in this kind of photography are the reason why we can relive those moments again with just one look.

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