Custom Lifestyle Photography Planning 101

Custom Lifestyle Photography Planning 101…

A session with a custom lifestyle photographer is more than a photo shoot; it’s an experience. Clients aren’t just hiring us to take pictures. They’re hiring us to document their lives. How special is that?!

It’s a true privilege, and our responsibility to plan a session that will accomplish organic photographs of real memories. For that reason, a custom lifestyle photographer is more than a picture taker, but a storyteller.

Creating a successful “memory event” requires us to write the story.

Sure, we pose and direct clients as needed. But, lifestyle custom photographers are documenting actual life experiences. It is essential, then, that we establish the main plot of the story way before we show up for the shoot. In other words, that needs to be figured out during the planning process.

I always ask clients about any special traditions they may have.

Examples include going to the ice cream parlor after church every Sunday; monthly family bowling nights; picnics at the park; family poker nights; Friday evening dinners at Nana’s; father and daughter “golf dates;” and the list goes on.

And, traditions don’t just apply to families. They apply to couples, and even singles and professionals, too. For example, if it’s a young business professional that needs some images for their website, perhaps I’ll ask them how they reward themselves when they accomplish their goals. And, then during the shoot, I will document them performing that “reward” activity.

Confused? Okay. Let me go further. Let’s say it’s a sales executive who treats himself to a new suit every time he lands a new account. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have him wear his newest suit in the photo? See where I’m going here?

It’s all about bringing the feel-good and passion into the picture. Literally.

And, everyone has a passion, I promise! They might not be able to recall specific traditions, but they CAN identify those things that make them happy. And, it’s our job as lifestyle custom photographers to find out what that is.

Once we’ve established the story, we can move on to selecting the location(s).

Obviously, lifestyle custom photographers want to choose places that are visually appealing. But, it goes beyond that. We must select settings that complement the story, and that place our customers in their natural element.

(By the way – You know how I said that I start with the “Story” aspect first. Well, if for whatever reason, a client can’t identify a tradition or “story plot,” I start with the setting. We can totally build a story around the setting. This is especially true for engagement sessions, where you take your clients to those “first date” locations.)

Sometimes, the setting is somewhere like a park or the mountains. Other times, it might be somewhere like the home. There are a gazillion possibilities for settings. I’ll save that topic for another post!

After I’ve established the main elements, I put together a story board.

By that I mean that I take all of the details I just gathered from the client, and put together a game-plan. Basically, it’s the point where I say to myself, “Okay. I have my $&%* together! WOO HOO!”

I would love to write YOUR story. So, why not book a session with Gina Mizzoni Photography… especially since I’m offering a FREE 8 x 10 to all clients who schedule a 3/15 – 5/31 photo shoot.

You can get more details here.