Lifestyle Photography vs. Event Photography


Have you ever wondered why some photographers work birthdays, bar mitzvahs, proms, baptisms and others don’t?

Is there a difference? YES! There is a very big difference. In this post, I will go over how they’re different and why one is better for your wallet! Lifestyle photography and special event photography tend to get mixed up and seen as the same thing. In case you don’t want to read all of this here it is: THEY’RE NOT!

Lifestyle photography is the art of capturing portraits of people, their life events and milestones in an artistic way with setting, outfits, posing, but sometimes even in everyday scenarios such as homes and backyards. It is also where the photographer may set up people in a pose and aim to capture their natural reactions, as if sneaking up on them without them knowing. The goal is to put the subject in the best light, which is up to artistic interpretation of course. These photos help create a legacy for your family by capturing the moments that harbor real emotions such as laughter, passion, silliness, sadness, and joy! Also, most lifestyle sessions are anywhere between 30 mins to 2 hours, depending on the photographer. 

Event photography is a different kind of art. This is where the photographer attends an event, a birthday, conference, a workshop, a party, and they take pictures of the event as happens naturally. The photographer does not have complete control of their subjects, but just captures the moment as it is. This may mean capturing pictures of decorations that have been put up, or people’s faces as they listen and are enlightened, or even people interacting with each other. Basically, the photographer is a fly on the wall.

So prices. Every photographer is different with their pricing. BUT you will notice a trend. Lifestyle sessions are not nearly as much as weddings. Why? At a lifestyle session, the max will probably be 2 hours of shooting. 

With event photography, it’s by the HOUR. Let’s say a birthday party can last 3-4 hours and you want coverage of all the people’s smiling faces. That’s already WAY more shooting time for your photographer which means WAY more editing time going through all the photos. So you should expect a higher price tag. A good example: WEDDINGS! It’s a special event that combines event AND lifestyle shooting. They can be 6 to 10 hours long, and your photographer will be working that whole time.

Now that you see there is a difference between the two, I hope that you have an idea of what it is you’ll be needing from your photographer. Check with them if they do special events, because not all photographers ENJOY event photography. EVEN IF they say on their website that they don’t, it doesn’t hurt to ask anyway. You may just have an event that peaks their interest! 

Don’t let the fact that some photographers who don’t do event photography get you down. It’s totally okay to want wonderful photos of you and your family! Why not save a few extra dollars and schedule a lifestyle session and have all those great pics to frame! Allow yourself to be present at your kiddos birthday party without worrying about some random stranger all up in your kid’s grill when they’re trying to blow out the candles. At a lifestyle session you know you’re there for pictures and it’s just you and your fam with a photographer rather than the ENTIRE FAM plus the neighbor’s kid.

Hope this helped with your decision making! 

Let me know what you think about these different types of photography! 

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Kimberly Fowler