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What are Lifestyle Photos?

Lifestyle photos are, in short, photos that show life – natural, organic moments that are captured by a camera. This kind of photography helps to document emotions and real-life events in a single frame, without staging or props which make the scene feel unnatural. 

This kind of photography is often used in family photos, stock images, and, more recently, for digital branding and retailers to advertise their products and services.

You may be wondering – okay, that sounds nice, but how is lifestyle photography actually going to help me build my brand?

ECommerce Photography

ECommerce is a huge part of our everyday shopping experience in today’s digital age. The first thing you see when browsing through an online catalog are images of the items or services being sold. 

Usually when shopping online, you will see pages upon pages of cleancut images on a solid colored background displaying what is being sold, typically on a model or mannequin, or in some sort of staged set, like a bedroom or an office. While this is a tried and true way of showcasing a product, it can become boring and repetitive over time to see similar looking shots over and over again. 

The saying goes: “don’t judge a book by its cover” – but a bad shot can make you scroll down to the next product quicker than you think.

To best photographs capture audience attention. Brands should pursue product image solutions that showcase the product in a natural way—being used or worn.

This is where lifestyle photos come in.

Lifestyle Photography in Advertising and Retail Branding

Using lifestyle photography when advertising a product helps to create a feel for the brand and helps to put the focus on the overall story behind the product, not just the product itself. It is best used in advertisements, on social media posts, website graphics, and even images in a retailer’s physical store. 

When a consumer can see the product in action, they will gain an intuitive understanding of what it’s like to use it, and will thus be more likely to follow through with a purchase. 

Industry Examples


When capturing lifestyle photos of jewelry, it’s most successful to showcase several images of a model wearing the product while emulating real life experiences. For example: showcasing how the jewelry looks while you’re grabbing a cup of coffee, driving a car, or buttoning up a shirt.

Woman wearing a long brown blazer, multiple rings and bracelets holds a coffee cup with both hands.

Food / Beverages / Restaurants

When you’re trying to entice people to buy your food and beverages, or to coax them into your restaurant/place of business, you need to capture the atmosphere—not just what’s on the menu. Showcase a variety of people enjoying your foods, outdoor patio, and celebrating their life moments in your restaurant. 

Two happy women enjoy their beers on an outdoor bench.

Clothing / Gear

Just like jewelry and service industry businesses, clothing and gear photographs need to display use and function within people’s daily lives. If you’re selling outdoor apparel or a hiking backpack, it’s best to showcase your gear on a model who is hiking, for example.

Man wearing a dark blue puffy jacket, jeans and a dark yellow backpack hikes with hiking poles in a snow covered mountain range.

Coaching Services

When showcasing a service that isn’t an object (like jewelry, clothes, or food), it’s smart to photograph your place of business (whether it’s an office, studio, building, gym, etc), and the services you offer—in action. If you’re a personal fitness coach, you’d likely want to photograph individuals participating within your program, their success, and the place where the services happen.

A fitness class of eight women lifting small weights.

In short, lifestyle photography is an effective and enticing way to show your target audience what your brand is all about, and can help you stand out amongst your competition. Next time you’re determining how to advertise a product or service, consider how lifestyle photography could help you.

While you’re at it, learn how we can help you in growing your business with our list of offered services!