This post about lifestyle shots is part of a series I’m doing on preparing your imagery for 2021. I totally get that its a very hard market place at the moment, and while it’s easier perhaps to sit back and wait for lockdown to lift, that’s the worst thing to do.

As lockdown lifts social media, advertising and more will be awash and it will be so easy to be lost in the masses more so if you’re not doing anything in the meantime. NOW is the time to be seen, to continue to be seen and to ensure people know you are there and will be ready and waiting for them. Now is the time to sow the desire for what you can offer so thinking about the imagery that you’ll need across the year well in advance will help you to stay one step ahead.

The Alnwick Garden Treehouse all set for service.

The Alnwick Garden Treehouse all set for service. Showcasing the appeal of the largest treehouse in the world.

The importance of lifestyle shots to your brand.

Lifestyle images are an important part of your branding and marketing and this year especially its so important to get it right.

If you’re planning new menus, have done refurbishments, have new offers or services then you need lifestyle shots to get the message out into the market place and let people know, to get them talking about you and planning their visit once the opportunity arises.

That’s where lifestyle shots are so useful, to showcase your products and services fully. Not convinced? Think about it – if they weren’t all the big fashion houses wouldn’t spend fortunes on fashion shoots with models in lovely surroundings, nor would any of the other huge corporates, but they do because lifestyle shots help to sell.

Lifestyle shots are all about telling a story, whether that story is about dining out, enjoying a cocktail or some delicious food. It needs to be on brand and the story has to be attractive to your target audience. If you have a restaurant, you don’t just want a plate of food, you have to give the whole dining experience, people want to know that they’ll enjoy it and fit right in. That’ll they have delicious food and a great ambient atmosphere and be well looked after by attentive staff. Not every shot of food has to have this, as you may for instance be putting together shots for a menu board, but you need some lifestyle shots to convey the right atmosphere and let people see the standard of the food.

Now who isn't looking forward to summer days? Geordie Gin Lifestyle Shot on the beach.

Geordie Gin G & T’s – Lifestyle shot at Tynemouth Longsands. Who isn’t looking forward to summer days?

What to consider when planning lifestyle shots?

In showcasing your food or drinks, presentation is key, lighting, backgrounds, crockery, props, composition of the scene and the message all need due consideration. And they are all important.

If the props or crockery detract from the food then your energies are wasted. Equally you can have an epic set up and beautiful camera ready food but if your lighting is wrong it can end up looking dire and sending out entirely the wrong message.

Having a table setting, perhaps another plate of food in the distance, ringing the changes so that not every image is identical, is important unless it’s on a fast food menu where you want this specifically. You are selling the eating experience so you want to make people feel hungry – which is of course what I do best!

Lifestyle shot - Super Food Salad - Farro, harissa sweet potato, pickled peppers, grilled broccoli, avocado and coconut dressing by Searcys. Crisp, clean and inviting for Spring.

Lifestyle shot – Super Food Salad – Farro, harissa sweet potato, pickled peppers, grilled broccoli, avocado and coconut dressing by Searcys. Crisp, clean and inviting for Spring.

You will want to showcase meals or drinks as they look ready for serving but often its useful to have some prep shots, whether its a cocktail in the making, cold beer being poured, items being removed from the oven, general kitchen prep and cooking or staff serving. All of these can help tell the story and give some useful behind the scenes shots which we all enjoy as it brings everything to life and makes it real.

Carefully thought out images of a restaurant, hotel or bar can really help with first impressions, but again there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. You need to have a good look over your venue prior to the shoot with the eyes of a complete stranger.

Why?

We all get used to our surroundings. 

That little bit of paintwork we’ve been meaning to touch up for the last six months.  Those windows that could do with a clean.  The untidy mess on a counter top that’s just gradually amassed and is taken for granted. These little things all add up and while we may not notice them in our general everyday life, they can stand out like a sore thumb in images and don’t give the impression we would like. So take a good hard look, remove clutter. Tidy or hide cables.  Make sure everything is clean and tidy, and nothing is out of place.   Get rid of or at least hide tatty menus.  Make sure uniforms are clean and ironed.

These things aren’t coming out in post production. This is going to be how the outside world sees you. You need to give it your best shot! (Deliberate pun – sorry!).

Lifestyle shots of staff and customers

You then have to think about having people in your shots. Both staff and customers. This isn’t so easy at the moment but as and when lockdown lifts its worth being ready to add a few more images to your repertoire and showing your customers the care you are going too to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is another great thing to do.

Seeing a friendly face or personable staff is key to how attractive your venue, products or services are.  Remember people buy from people.  Seeing someone absorbed by what they do or enjoying their work is again something we all warm too.  Lifestyle images like these give an insight into the business and how it works.

Lifestyle shots portraying staff at work are a really important part of your imagery.

This is Rhys Faulkner-Walford at work in the Kitchen at The Alnwick Gardens.
Lifestyle shots portraying staff at work are a really important part of your imagery.

So, have you got your lifestyle shots planned out for the year ahead?

If not it’s probably time to give it some serious thought and if you’d like some help then give me a call.

Further Action:

Read my blog from last week about preparing your photography for 2021 If you’d like to work with me to get beautiful imagery for your business OR to find out more about my photography coaching, then get in touch. I work with people across Northumberland and the North East but also right across the UK  – its a simple matter to courier items to the studio and you can even have a quick remote peak at proceedings if you wish.

If you’d like to see how my work is received by others than take a look at my posts on LinkedIn.