Lifestyle vs. Traditional Photos

When looking for a photographer, during your research stage one of the main things you need to look for is style. How do these photographers take photographs? Do they typically pose the clients or is it more playful and not necessarily looking at the camera? Is it more candid? Is this studio work or on location? It is more bright colors or dark colors?

Now that you have researched all of these, which do YOU (the client) like better? There is no right or wrong way to these styles. Some photographers only do studio work because that is what they are good at and like to do. Some do all sorts of styles. You need to figure out what it is that you are going to be happy with based off of their previous work.

With all of these options, there is one that is becoming more popular (and also what I specialize in) - lifestyle photography. I wanted to make a list for you so you can fully understand what the difference is between the traditional - or posed - photographs and lifestyle photographs.

Traditional Photographs

Your traditional photographs just mean that your photographer likes to pose you (or can pose you). This is your typical senior or family photos where the client is looking into the camera smiling and striking some sort of pose. You see this everywhere. It is what people would do when they used to get family portraits even when it used to be paintings. Luckily, you don't have to sit as long as they did.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with traditionally styled photographs. I still have clients requesting this as most people are used to this. I am perfectly fine doing this for everyone because this is what they are used to. "It's traditional." It's what people are expecting. I just prefer to do lifestyle type photographs (which I will get to explain here in a minute).

Lifestyle Photographs

Lifestyle type of photographs simply means candid, or documentary. Lifestyle is to show off what you typically are doing every day. Sure, you may be more dressed up to play a board game when you are in the photos, but if you and your family like to play board games, lifestyle photography will capture that. It will show the real moments and the real memories that you have.

The reason I specialize in this is because of the real memories that I am capturing. I am capturing the real smile (the one that is different than your "Say Cheese" smile). I am capturing the real excitement when you win that board game or shoot the basket, etc. This is why this is my favorite. I get to know the real people that I am taking photographs of. (Can you tell this is my passion by the way I write about this?)

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Either way, you are the client and need to decide on which style you prefer for your photographs. All a photographer ever wants is you to happy with the product and you need to go with a photographer that you are stylistically happy with in order to do that.

Kaytee Lorentzen
Owner | Kaytee Lorentzen Photography

Before & After: Editing Photographs

There is a lot of work that goes into a single photograph. This is one of the parts that makes the photographer show their own personal style. This is what makes a person or a photo different than the rest. Yes, you can do so many different things before you even put it to your computer, like angles, lighting, etc. However, there are things to do after the photos have been sorted through also known as post production.

I am here to show you a few before and after photos of a recent session I did with Derek & Sydney in their engagement session. You will get to see how I go from just an ordinary photo, to making it perfect. I use Lightroom for most of my editing and I use presets to make sure all the photos have the same type of editing to them. Also, I used some black & white filter as well. Enjoy!

The first one I chose to show you is because it really had minimal editing. All I did was lighten up the photo. See how that makes a difference? It wasn't achieved in the camera, so I needed to edit that in post production. 

This second one is almost the same as the first, just closer in. You can see how lightening it brightens their faces and just gives it a cleaner look. 

This is how I achieved the cover photo for their session. As you can see, the photo benefited a lot by becoming a black and white. As their was nothing really wrong with the color version, the black and white just stands out more and looks timeless. 

And lastly, this is one where I had to do some more post production editing. As you can see in the before shot, both Derek & Sydney look a little dark for the photo, but the background (especially the sky) is really bright and hard to see. So, I brought the clouds back in while brightening them up. This much editing seemed necessary, otherwise they would just have a white sky behind them, which isn't realistic. 

So that is the four images that I wanted to show off from this session with before and afters just so you could kind of get a taste of what I do when I edit. I tend to lean towards more minimalistic kind of editing unless it is necessary - like the last photo just because a white sky isn't realistic. You can check out my blog post on Creative vs. Traditional/Minimalistic Editing types here! This is the process I take after I edit the photographs and why it can take long (and what you are paying me to do).

If you ever want to know more about my editing you can comment below to ask! 

Thank you,
Kaytee Lorentzen
Owner | Kaytee Lorentzen Photography

Creative vs. Traditional/Minimalistic Editing

Back in May, I wrote a blog post titled, "Editing: What a Photographer REALLY Means." After some time I realized that I should write kind of a follow-up on that topic. What I wrote is not always true to every photographer. It is to my company. However, there are many things that editing can entail nowadays. I am here to describe the differences between two popular styles of editing: Creative and Traditional or Minimalistic editing.

These are complete polar opposite of the editing scale. There are many who can do one versus the other, a combination of both, or simply just chooses to do one. It can also depend on what the photograph is being taken for will depend on the editing style the photographer chooses to use. I will explain these in further detail in this blog post. Let's dive right in.


Traditional/Minimalistic Editing

Coming from a journalistic background, this is what I am known for.  This is when you only correct things in the photograph. Let's say your setting made the picture look like it had an orange tint or a blue tint, my editing would fix that to make it look more natural or like I saw it in person. If the photograph was too dark, I would lighten it. Little, simple things like that would be made in editing. This type of editing's main purpose is to fix errors or to slightly enhance the photograph.

You will find a lot of this type of editing in newspapers or anything journalistic. There are many rules to journalistic photographs when it comes to editing. If there is any misrepresentation because of editing, there will be consequences, which many include loosing their job.

Many small business photographers use this as well. For the most part, it is a lot faster to use this type of editing instead of creative editing. This is the 99% of the editing Kaytee Lorentzen Photography uses. I don't like to alter the way life looks to us. I attempt to capture the photographs in a way that I want the world to see it, so less editing would occur.


Creative Editing

What is creative editing you ask? You may not be able to find the exact definition when you look it up online. It is when you add things to the photograph that are not there before hand. Some examples is adding sun flare, layering, adding something new to the photograph, and so on. One way to think of it is asking yourself the question "Is this realistic?" If the answer is no, then it is creative editing.

You would most likely see these in advertisements. One example I can think of is looking at a picture with a person standing on top of the Eiffel Tower. That is obviously edited because it is unrealistic.

However, it can end up being really fun to use. In my senior year of high school, I did a really meaningful project about students who have lost a sibling one way or another. I asked each of them to either go to their gravesite or to their cross on the road and take the photographs. I also had them write a letter to their sibling as well. I took bits and pieces of that letter and put them overtop of the photographs. This changed the way the photographs were received to the audience and gave them more background.


Is Black & White Considered Creative or Traditional Editing?

Short answer: it depends. There are black and white (B&W) photographs in the news field and some are just because the whole page needs to be in B&W. However, if it is for personal use, like portraits, it can be considered creative. If this is what you are looking for in your portrait photographs, check with the photographer to see if this is something than can and will do.

I love to do black and white photographs, but I just never have the opportunity to do so.


There is really no right or wrong way when it comes to editing preferences, especially when it comes to portrait photography. There are just some photographers that prefer one to the other. Always ask and be upfront on what you want from your portrait session.

Kaytee Lorentzen
Owner & Photographer | Kaytee Lorentzen Photography