What's a portrait & lifestyle photographer? And why did I choose that direction?

I get asked time and time again what I photograph. Or I also get the “how much do you charge for X service?” when I don’t even photograph whatever X service is. I have come to realize that unless you are very specific, the general public who don’t know much about photography believes you photograph everything.

This is not to say this is their fault. It’s not common knowledge. Unless someone specifically states that they don’t photograph that, they won’t know. So I thought I would talk a little bit about what my style of photography is and why I chose that direction.

I am a lifestyle and portrait photographer. What in the world is that you may ask?

Lifestyle photography simply means documenting as it is. It’s very similar to photojournalism, where there isn’t much, if any, posing. The only light is what is available and currently there. I am a fly on the wall essentially. I am just there to document what I see and I do very little editing besides simple corrective edits.

Portrait photography is more of your traditional, posed photography. It’s what you would imagine as a photo session. I tell you to sit there, look this way, now close your eyes, now open them, now look straight at me, slightly tilt your head that way, you get the point. I am explaining what to do every single photo.

I typically merge these two styles to create a photo session that is a good hybrid. I love the posing, but I am not opposed to the in-between moments that create a natural photograph. I love those moments because it captures someone’s personality and real life. I love when I can pose someone and then the person laughs or shows their real emotions. That is what a hybrid of the two is.

I chose this direction of photography because like the two styles, I was trained in both. In high school, I was taught the basics of photography and that is where I fell in love with your traditional photography. I had a friend who was always my go-to model and she ROCKED it. It taught me to create in a new way. However, in college, I studied photojournalism. This is a very different style as it allows for only corrective editing, not creative. It also teaches you to just watch and observe instead of interjecting what you think would be a great addition to the photograph.

I love each of these types for so many different reasons. I didn’t want to be one or the other type of photographer. I wanted to have the best of both worlds. So I decided I wouldn’t have to choose and did both of them.

You may be saying, “Okay. So then you photography everything?” To answer that simply, no. Like all photographers, there are things that I am more comfortable shooting than others. For example, I have never photographed a wedding and until I have second shot for another photographer, I don’t believe I will be comfortable doing so. Do I think I would like to try? Yes, but I don’t want to offer a service I can’t be completely confident in. It’s the same with newborns. I envy photographers who can photograph newborns. It is hard. Both of these two things require a lot of dedication to their craft. Not saying I don’t have dedication, but this requires a skill set I just do not have yet.

So to answer the rest of that question, I do photograph a handful of subjects. This would include families, couples, professionals, individuals, high school seniors to name a few.

I want to go ahead and squash the myth that photographers will take anything they can get to make a buck. I can’t tell you how many times I have turned down a photography job just because I don’t specialize in that. I don’t want to take your money if I know that I won’t be able to deliver what I would consider my best. That is just not good business, nor do I believe that is right just as a human being. I want you to walk away happy with your decision, not questioning it. You wouldn’t go to a cardiologist for your broken foot. So why would you hire a photographer who only does weddings to do your newborn photos? The answer, you wouldn’t.

As I wrap this up, I just want you to see that all photographers are different and have a different niche. Some of us are extraordinary in photographing weddings while others are splendid at lifestyle. So make sure you do your research before wanting to hire anyone for your special event, whether that be portraits, a family session, your professional headshots, a wedding, or even newborn photos. Each photographer is unique, so play to their strengths to get the best session you could ask for.

Mommy & Me for Abbey & Max

I am so excited to share with you this session. So truth be told, I have not photographed a two year old I have not met before. I was a little nervous going into it. I had to pull out my training from my daycare teacher days when I used to care for up to ten 2 year olds at a time. Talk about learning to think on your feet. I had to come up with a way I knew would entertain a two year old while also getting photos and hoping that I could easily keep him happy.

I work with Abbey at a medical office full time and so I knew I would be super comfortable photographing her. The stories she would tell about her son (and her perfect impersonations) pumped me up so much to do this session with Max.

We went to the amphitheater right outside the Bryan House on Indiana University’s campus. I figured it would be a perfect backdrop as well as playground for Max. It was a win-win.

He instantly melted my heart. He was very interested in all of the surroundings, which made it very easy to get photographs. Abbey did mention they take a lot of photos of him, so he was not phased by me following him around with my big camera.

Max loved to climb around and was very interested in the non-existent fishes that were in the creek. He was very satisfied with the bubbles I brought for him to play with as well.

Abbey was a total natural as she knew how to interact with him and make amazing photo opportunities. I felt like I never needed to cue her to do anything. It made it so easy to put more focus on following the never stopping Max around.

I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful Mommy & Me session. Thank you both so much for your time and trusting me with this special moment.

Without further ado, here are some sneak peeks of their session.

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Chasing a dream, yet choosing to be different

Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to be a photographer. I was lucky in that way that I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life since I was able to hold a camera. During high school, my photography teacher suggested that I try photojournalism. It instantly caught my interest.

I pursued that interest in college and earned a Bachelor's in Photojournalism. However, after much search and persistence, I was not happy with the job search in the location that I was wanting. I decided I wanted to move to Bloomington, Indiana. Yes, it was for a boy. But, I knew in my heart that this is where I wanted to end up.

I took a job somewhere to pay the bills. I just wasn't satisfied. I needed photography back in my life. I decided to open up "shop" as a photographer in Bloomington. While setting everything up, I realized there were lots of photographers in Bloomington. So many to where I was unsure of how to stand out. How do I make my mark? How can I make myself different?

When deciding this, I came up with the idea of merging my background in photojournalism and my background in portrait photography. There came the idea of lifestyle photography, taking photographs of my clients in their everyday life. 

Finding some signature products was the next step in making myself stand out. I found a way to offer a personalized app as well as a way to virtually put the photo products on walls. Each of these ways would not only help my clients, but it would make me stand out as well.  

Since then, I have been able to help clients organize photographs on their walls in a stress free way, help clients share their photographs on social media and in person easily, get photographs that reflect them and not necessarily the picture photo nature.

Kaytee Lorentzen
Owner | Kaytee Lorentzen Photography

Indoor Sessions - What you need to know

Sessions don't always go as planned. Being an Indiana photographer, you can understand that the weather cannot always be predicted. Heck, it can go from snowing one day and sunny and 72 degrees the next day. (If you are not from Indiana, yes, this does happen and often). If you had your session planned outdoors this could seem very frustrating. I get just as frustrated (if not more) than my clients. However, not all hope is lost. 

As a lifestyle photographer, I like to take photographs of whatever it is that my clients love to do. I can guarantee that not all of my clients spend 100% of their time outdoors. Even though I am a more natural light type of photographer, I will sacrifice that to get more genuine photographs of doing what my client(s) love to do anyway.

What I mean is, I will do indoor sessions. With it being the month of "April Showers" you cannot always expect it not to rain and storm. If you are wondering what in the world can you do with this, I have provided a list of ideas for you.

  • Baking/Cooking
  • Playing board games/cards/etc.
  • Playtime
  • Craft time
  • Playing an instrument
  • Painting
  • Family Night activities
  • Going to a museum/play place
  • Indoor Rock Climbing

Just to name a few. This list could go on and on with possibilities but I think I got the idea ball rolling for you. 

Comment below with your indoor session ideas so I can help better serve my clients. If you are from Bloomington (or surrounding areas) comment below what you love to do that involves being indoors or of any place local you love to go!