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Windows and mirrors can come in handy when you want to photograph portraits that are natural and spontaneous—which is basically everything you’re looking for in lifestyle photography. Learn how to use them here.
A lifestyle photo can be described as a candid picture of you, your family or your friends. Capturing these life moments can prove difficult, since you need to simultaneously reflect the subject’s personality and create a feeling of spontaneity. The environment you choose is also key in lifestyle photography. These portraits need to be taken in real-life situations, indoors or outdoors, ideally in a familiar setting, and never in a studio.
There are many good reasons for taking a lifestyle photo in front of a window. First off, a subject looking outwards, from the side or from behind, allows you to express a wide range of feelings: hope, expectation, curiosity, etc. You can also describe the interior and exterior environments that frame your subject through your photo’s composition and camera settings. But above all else, the window is an essential medium for diffusing light. Depending on the distance between the subject and the window, the weather and time of day, you can play with contrast and take beautiful, natural photos.
Photographing a subject behind a window brings a sort of intrusive element to your picture, and it can be quite interesting for your lifestyle photos. You can give the impression of capturing someone in a private moment. An open or closed window can also add reflections or deforming characteristics that can be quite aesthetically pleasing.
Condensation on a portion of a window can produce an excellent natural, blurry effect. Raindrops in front of a face behind a window also make for very expressive photos.
Photographing your subject using a mirror is a great way to get an immersive effect. This indirect framing technique gives the impression that the subject was photographed unknowingly. As you now know, spontaneity and naturalness are the ideals of lifestyle photography. Play with reflection to compose original and aesthetically pleasing portraits.
Everyone’s taken a photo of himself or herself in front of a mirror. The self-portrait made its photographic debut 100 years before the advent of the selfie. If the photo is taken with an SLR camera and a quality lens, the result is far superior to a selfie taken with a much weaker cellphone camera. Play with different angles and poses to stay natural and get excellent lifestyle photos.
First and foremost, you must avoid using flash at all costs—its reflection in the mirror will instantly ruin your photo. Another challenge you may encounter when photographing your subject in a mirror is taking the picture in such a way that you don’t end up in it as well. To make sure this doesn’t happen, move out of the mirror’s view. If, however, you want to take a self-portrait, use a self-timer or frame your photo above your camera. Finally, a behind-the-scenes look can also be a part of a lifestyle photo—a self-portrait with your camera visible in the shot could make for interesting composition.
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