truly becoming a lifestyle photographer starts with attracting and booking the right clients that are looking for the same style of photos that you are passionate about taking.  being a lifestyle photographer means that you focus on taking more honest, unposed, candid, everyday imagery instead of posed and formal portraits.  lifestyle photography can be defined differently by each photographer, but for me and my style it is creating images that are true and honest, depicting true moments.  sure, i help my clients get into flattering positions that will photograph well, but i am not saying, “look here and smile!”  building a business based on lifestyle photography was fairly easy for me because i knew i wanted to be a lifestyle photographer from the beginning.  if you are interesting in taking a more lifestyle route and are just now accepting clients, or you are already established and want to start taking on lifestyle clients, here are 4 things you need to know that will help you attract and book lifestyle photography clients.

getting ready to book a newborn session?  here are 6 questions to ask before lifestyle newborn sessions.

How To Attract and Book Lifestyle Photography Clients

How To Attract and Book Lifestyle Photography Clients | Bethadilly Photography

Get Initial Clients On Board

if you don’t have a portfolio of lifestyle images that reflect your style, you will need to start by taking a few sessions that establish your photography vision.  this could mean asking friends or family to allow you to photograph them to create a portfolio of images that demonstrate your photography style.  this could also mean offering discounted portfolio building sessions in the beginning to build up your portfolio.  for these sessions where your main goal is to create images to market, it is important that the families you work with are willing to sign a release allowing you to use the images for marketing.  i am not a lawyer, so i will not be offering contract advise, but get a contract and get it signed by each client.

Explain Your Style

knowing how to attract and book lifestyle photography clients begins with honesty.  as you are taking on new clients and establishing your style, be sure to explain your photography style so the clients knows what to expect from you.  this can be as simple as saying, “my photography is very natural and candid, so you will find that you are not looking at the camera much during my sessions, but interacting with your family instead.”  lifestyle photography is at it’s height right now, so most people are aware of this more honest style, but being upfront about it will help prepare your client to know what to expect, should you not have an established portfolio of visuals to show them.

Scrub Your Website

if are already an established photographer looking to change direction and take on the lifestyle approach, scrub your website.  this means, you will start to slowly fade out your old style with your new style.  i am not telling you to go take down all of your old posts and current work this instant because you don’t want to have an empty website.  however, you want to start showing more and more of your new style on your sight so the right clients start booking you.  basically, if you don’t want to offer it, take it down.  don’t want to do posed newborns?  take those sessions down.  don’t want to book senior sessions?  take those down.  want to stop booking posed family clients?  take those sessions down.  again, you don’t want to take these down all at once because you don’t want an empty website.  think of this as your goal of phasing out the old with the new.

Share Lifestyle Images Exclusively

as you begin to build you portfolio of lifestyle images, be sure to share them everywhere.  again, get a signed contract from your client!  refrain from sharing images that aren’t truly you because your goal is to attract and book lifestyle clients that share the same style as you.  you will only do that if you share your style exclusively with your audience.  as you begin sharing these images, take down old images on social media that no longer reflect your style.  the worst thing you can do is share too many images with different styles because it will be confusing to potential clients and they will be unsure of what they are actually hiring you for.  additionally, keeping up older images of your older style will continue to attract the clients that you are not longer interested in booking.

need help finding your true photography style?  be sure to check out my ebook, The Styled Photographer to help find your unique style!

knowing how to attract and book lifestyle clients will be your first step to turning your photography business into a lifestyle photography business.  by establishing a portfolio, cleaning up your website, being honest about your style in explanation and imagery and sharing lifestyle images exclusively, you will start to attract and book lifestyle photography clients that are looking for the exact work that you offer.

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photography is such a personal hobby because we give so much of ourselves to it.  with every picture that we take, we put a little peace of our soul into it as we create an image that reflects us.  our photography resembles our style, our interests, our current life, our viewpoint and countless other things.  being that it is such a personal hobby, photography can be so emotional.  being a photographer, we take our success and failure of our images really personally because we feel that it is a direct representation of us, as a person.  that is how i feel, anyways.  when i take an amazing photo, i am proud of myself.  but when i take a photo that isn’t so great, i am really hard on myself.  on this crazy journey with photography, i have learned so much about the highs and lows that come with picking up my camera.  and through the years, i have learned how to overcome those silly moments when i want to quit picking up my camera.  today, i am happier than ever with my photography because i am no longer making these 5 mistakes.  don’t make these mistakes that could cause you to want to give up on photography.

are you looking for a good everyday lens?  check out my favorite lens for everyday photography.

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5 Mistakes That Will Make You Give Up On Photography

5 Mistakes That Will Make You Give Up On Photography | Bethadilly Photography

1. Not Being True To Yourself

not being true to yourself as a photographer is the biggest reason why you will give up on photography.  if you take images only because you think they will be popular with your audience or because everyone else is taking certain images, you will quickly find that you are not picking up your camera for the right reasons.  you aren’t pick up your camera for you.  don’t copy others.  don’t take on a style that isn’t yours.  don’t recreate another photographer’s images.  trust me, this will put you on the fast track to quitting because you will not be being true to yourself.

2. Not Taking Photography Classes

taking photography classes is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your photography.  taking the time to invest in yourself will help you become a better photographer and encourage you to grow your skill.  this year, my goal is to take one photography class each month.  it is just a little something that i am doing for myself.  taking photography classes can be expensive, so if it is not in your budget, try buying photography books or eBooks to help learn something new.  it is when you invest in yourself that you will grow and nurture your passion for photography.  photographers who don’t learn or don’t want to learn will be the photographers that eventually give up on photography.

need some good photography book recommendations?  check out what is on my bookshelf.

3. Not Saying No

there is something so important about saying no.  when i was first starting out, i said yes to everyone who wanted a session or yes to anyone who said, “take a picture of this!”  after awhile, i felt a little burnt out because i was picking up my camera for people and things that didn’t really inspire me.  learning to say no was huge for me, as i am a people pleaser.  but once i learned to say no and to only pick up my camera when i really wanted to, i became much happier with my photography.  in a way, i was saving my passion for the moments that i truly loved and not wasting my passion on things that didn’t bring me joy.  this will look different for each photographer but for me, i started saying no to anything that wasn’t lifestyle family and newborn sessions and, if someone said, “hey take a picture of that cool building,” i would politely just say, “oh, how neat!” and leave my camera in my bag.

4. Competing With Others

one of my biggest pet peeves is seeing photographers compete with one another.  you guys, save your energy for your pictures!  embrace friendship with other photographers, and don’t compete.  competing with others will not only bring a negative connotation to your photography, but it will also be a huge reason why you give up on photography all together.  be happy for others when they are rocking it with their camera, and let them inspire you instead of give you a reason to compete.  cheer on other photographers and let their growth inspire you to learn more about photography.

read more: why photographers should embrace friendship, not competition.

5. Not Picking Up Your Camera

simply not picking up your camera is an obvious reason why you will eventually give up on photography.  pick up your camera and take some pictures.  know that not all of your pictures are going to be great, and that’s okay!  it is when you take mediocre pictures that you are truly learning more about your photography.  learn from your mistakes instead of allowing your mistakes to hinder your growth as a photographer.  try starting a photography project to give you a little encouragement to pick up your camera.  photography projects have been know to really inspire photographers who are ready to give up on photography.

need a photography project idea?  here are 5 photography projects every photographer should do.

if you are feeling like you are in love with your photography one day and then hate it the next, it’s normal.  we all feel that way, from time to time.  photography is so personal that it is hard to not let being uninspired bother us.  but turn those moments of being in a rut into moments of inspiration.  try taking a class, starting a photography project, embracing friendships with other photographers, being true to yourself and learn how to say no to the photography opportunities that aren’t bringing you joy.  by avoiding these 5 mistakes, you are more likely to be happier with your photography instead of encouraged to give up.

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oh, movement.  it is something that is new to us, these days.  where i used to be able to set my little daughter in place and she would stay put, at 10 months she is now on the move, forcing me to be more mindful of my shutter speed to freeze her movement within the frame.  one of my habits as a photographer is using very slow shutter speeds.  it’s not uncommon for me to shoot at 1/80ss or slower, while still maintaining focus.  don’t ask me how i do this…as i promise i drink lots of coffee, yet must have a stable hand.  but with a moving little one, it’s time to focus on that shutter speed.  with the prompt for week 8 of the bethadilly 52 being movement, i was encouraged to raise that shutter speed to capture a crawling photo.

to join in on the bethadilly 52, where we take one photo a week using the hashtag #thebethadilly52 on instagram, check out the prompt list.

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The Bethadilly 52 Week 8 – Movement

The Bethadilly 52 Week 8 - Movement | Bethadilly Photography

this photo was achieved using : nikon d750 and sigma art 50mm f/1.4 lens.

my settings were : ISO 800 | f/2.8 | 1/160ss

 . . .

to learn more about photographing movement, be sure to read photographing movement : the power of a shutter speed.

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one of my main goals for 2017 was learning to take video with a dslr.  i had seen a couple photography friends learn how to make videos of their family and, with the birth of our first child last year, i felt it was the right time to learn how to do this myself.  i have to tell you, it has inspired my photography in so many ways.  while i will always love still photos, there is something to be said about the impact of video.  to be able to see movement and hear voices, paired with beautiful songs, brings so much real meaning into the frame.  i created my very first video of my family, which you will find below, and it has inspired so many of you to want to learn video that i felt it necessary to give you a little more detail about how important video has become to me, as a photographer and a mama, and how you can learn too.

want to see what gear i use?  check out my photography gear, you’ll be surprised to see how minimalistic i am.

Learning To Take Video With A DSLR

Learning To Take Video With A DSLR | Bethadilly Photography

to get an exact glimpse at what gear i use, be sure to check out my photography gear.  for creating this video, i used my nikon D750 and my 24mm.  at times, i also set up a tripod to allow me to get in the frame as well.  for post processing, i used lightroom and adobe premiere pro.

A Day In The Life – 9 Months from Bethany Deschamp on Vimeo.

learning to take video with a DSLR was really important for me this year because i really wanted to document my daughter’s growth and childhood in a different way.  more importantly, i wanted her to be able to watch these videos when she grows up to see and hear what a typical day was like when she was a baby.  my still photography is still my main passion, but video has given me yet another way to document our everyday in a beautiful way.

to learn how to take video, i took a class with everyday films and this video was my final project for the class.  in weeks, i began filming video that I was and am really happy with and this class was worth every penny.  if learning to take video with a DSLR interests you, i would recommend taking this class so you can gain a full understanding of the technique to use during filming and how to create a video from start to finish while editing.

learning to take video with a DSLR has been one of the best things i have done for myself and my photography.  it is yet another way i can document my family and our everyday through a lifestyle approach and my family really loves it.  not only was learning to take video with a DSLR so beneficial for me, but for my family too.  being able to see our everyday in motion has sparkled my creativity as i look for even more ways to create compelling movement in video.

be sure to join my exclusive email list to receive my latest photography tips and tutorials.  it’s free!

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i really enjoy traveling and my husband will tell you that i am not one to bring home any souvenirs, as i think they are plain clutter, but instead i bring home plenty of pictures.  it could be said that my photos are my souvenirs.  travel photography is really fun because it allows you to be inspired in a new place.  it allows you to take your camera to a completely different setting than your everyday and, as you are enjoying your travels, you can get creative with how you document your experience.  as you prepare for your next travel adventure make sure you take these 5 essential photos.

will your travel include street photography?  if so, check out the best lens for street photography.

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Travel Photography : 5 Essential Photos To Take

Travel Photography : 5 Essential Photos To Take | Bethadilly Photography

when packing my gear for travel, i don’t like to take a lot with me.  there is nothing worse than bringing too much gear and having to carry around a heavy camera bag.  i really like to bring my small shutterbag when i travel because it is light to carry and, because of it’s smaller size, it doesn’t encourage me to overpack.  for me, whenever i bring multiple lenses, i never end up using them so i have learned my lesson and travel light.  also, i find that stopping to change out lenses interrupts creativity and can ruin the moment, so i like to bring just one lens so i am always ready to photograph and i am not wasting time fiddling with lenses.  normally, my favorite lens for travel photography is my sigma art 24mm f/1.4 lens, however this particular trip to cade’s cove in tennessee was before i had acquired my 24mm, so i believe i was using my sigma 50mm f/1.4 on my nikon d600.

Travel Photography : 5 Essential Photos To Take | Bethadilly Photography

1.  How You Get There

i think it is always fun to get a photo of how you are traveling, whether it is by car, plain or train (trains are the best!).  if you are photographing roads, there are so many fun opportunities for leading lines and ways for you to get creative with your composition.  if you can, roll down your window so you don’t photograph through glass and ruin the clarity of your photo.  as always, wear a camera strap should you position your camera outside of the vehicle for a photo, and keep yourself safe.  for this photo, i believe we were on a really slow road with no cars around, so my hubby was able to slow down and allow me to photograph this by rolling down my window and positioning my camera on top of the side mirror to get this photo.  should you have to photograph through a car window, carefully rest your lens flat against the window so you minimize glass reflections in your photo.

sometimes when traveling, you need to get where you are going quickly.  but, if time allows, be sure to pull over on the side of the road (being mindful of traffic, of course) to get some fun photos.  my hubby is great in understanding that i really enjoy the photo taking part of travel, so we build time in for stops.

Travel Photography : 5 Essential Photos To Take | Bethadilly Photography

2. Little Details

when we think about travel photography, we often think about pullback shots that tell the story of where we are.  while that is important, and we will get there, it is also important to photograph all the little things that make up your surroundings.  as you travel, look to the small things that are unique to the area you are in and have fun photographing them.  whether it is beautiful flowers alongside the road or fun locks on cabin doors, do a little exploring.  travel is about exploring, so it’s okay to incorporate your camera while you explore your new surroundings.

Travel Photography : 5 Essential Photos To Take | Bethadilly Photography

3.  Set the Scene

while it is great to get close up photos of the small details that make up your travel, be sure you take some pullbacks of where you are to set up your scene.  this is important so that you can have a cohesive collection of travel images that tell an entire story.  while travel photography should be for you, keep your viewer in mind as well and consider taking some pullback shots to show your viewer the setting you are in.  it will make your viewer more interested in all of your other photos, if they can accurately image where you are.  take the time to set the story, pullback shots are great keepsakes because they will help you remember your travel too.

Travel Photography : 5 Essential Photos To Take | Bethadilly Photography

4.  Who You Are With

it’s always a great idea to get in photos too!  not only does it document you being there, but it places a little time stamp on your photos.  the surroundings may stay the same year after year, but the people in the photos will certainly change.  i love getting in photos during travel because, when i look back on my photos, it helps me to remember the time, in terms of year.  when including my family in photos, i can quickly determine a lot of things about our travel.  by looking at our clothes, i can tell the time of year we traveled (winter).  and by looking at us, i can tell it was before kids (we were babies!).  see what i mean?  pictures of yourself really do help to put time stamps on your photos, as well as document who was traveling…which is always a good idea.

Travel Photography : 5 Essential Photos To Take | Bethadilly Photography

Photography Tip

i love looking for leading lines, and lines in general, while doing travel photography.  if lines are present, be sure to decide how you will incorporate them within the frame.  sometimes you will want the lines to lead your viewer into the frame.  in the photo on the left, the lines on the road are taking the viewer’s eye from the camera left side of the frame and leading them along the road to the center of the frame, pulling them further into the picture.  in the photo on the right, the lines are thoughtfully aligned with the edges of the frame to create balance that is pleasing to the viewer.

Travel Photography : 5 Essential Photos To Take | Bethadilly Photography

5.  Memorable Moment

there is always going to be a memorable moment that makes up your trip, so be sure to photograph it.  for us, we had just started our passport to the national parks book and we were having fun getting our stamp for the area we were traveling in.  by the way, if you love to travel, the passport to the national parks stamp book is amazing and a wonderful activity for the entire family!  travel photography should not only include your surroundings, but it should also include the special moments that make up the trip.

travel photography is so much fun and it can be a great confidence booster if you are feeling uninspired with your photography.  there is nothing more inspiring than exploring a new place with your camera.  as you prepare to travel, be sure you pack light, think through your lens choice, and be sure to take these 5 essential photos, plus many more.

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