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Photographing Casual Living

CC BY 2.0

CC BY 2.0

This style of photography takes its cue from the normal everyday pictures that many of us have taken of friends and family on vacation or simply just relaxing and having a good time at home.

Advertisers are very keen to the feelings that a person gets when he or she is admiring one of these images. So it makes a good commercial sense to have a person associate such a photograph with a product closely related to the feeling of relaxation or enjoyment.

Think about it; if you see a person that appears uneasy, worry, or in a state of stress and posing next to a product meant to be used in times of peace and relaxation then it would not make any sense to whomever looked at such an image to buy such a product.

Remember the old cigarette advertiser, when the model was always seen casually and relaxed while they were enjoying a cigarette? The same mindset was true then and still holds true today.

Do not however be confused in that these pictures can only be used by advertisers bent on selling a product. They also make good subject material for many other publications, especially home decor ones, family oriented ones, social services as well as others.

There are many types of photography and just as many reasons for each. Many are meant to inform. Others are meant to please, instruct, awaken an emotion, elicit a reaction and so on.

There is also a theme which focuses on showing images of people at their best; when they are completely relaxed and without a care in the world.

These images as simple as they may appear, are heavily in demand by quite a few publications for they show photographs that make viewers wish that they were were the photo subjects were and to feel as relaxed as they are.

These types of images sell goods and services, are especially useful for the travel, hotel, dining industries as well as for the makers of the products used by these industries.

CC BY-SA 2.0

CC BY-SA 2.0

One good thing about this style is that you often do not have to show the entire subject.

A photograph of a pair of feet crossed while on a chair, on the beach, on the deck of a boat, signify relaxation just as much as showing the entire owner of the feet.

Adding a sunset, maybe a fire place, campfire, a BBQ, etc. gives them an added appeal.

For example Corona Beer uses this style very effectively when they show photographs of mostly silhouettes of people relaxing on a beach, either during the day or night, next to their products with the slogan "find your beach". Makes you want to hop on a plane,go to the beach and drink a Corona, doesn't it?

Keep in mind that people are not the only subjects suitable for this style. Many pictures of pets and other wildlife make good subjects when you can photograph them at rest and doing what appear to be human qualities of peace and relaxation.

Advertisers and makers of pet products often look for these types of pictures to use in their marketing campaigns. Does "a sign of a happy dog" ring a bell?

Other suitable scenes may be a solitary hut next to a peaceful beach during dusk, a tranquil looking river bed, lake side or pool does the same as if people were added to the mix.

Although shots featuring people are the biggest sellers these other variations also have their market share.

Keeping your subjects relaxed is a great technique to use if your shots are posed but the majority of these shots are ideally of people who are not even aware that they are being photographed much like candid photography;

"A candid photograph is a photograph that is captured without creating a posed appearance. This is achieved by avoiding prior preparation of the subject and by either surprising the subject or by not distracting the subject during the process of taking photos. Thus, the candid character of a photo is regardless of the subject's knowledge or consent as to the fact that photos are being taken, and regardless of the subject's permission for subsequent usage such as distribution, but related to the apparent absence of posing. It is distinguished from making secret photography by the photographer usually remaining discernible to the public and not wearing cover." WIkipedia

With that said, if your shots are planned it is better to make your models feel relaxed and capture them while they are not looking at the camera This gives the impression that were photographed while unaware of the photographer's presence. However if you are using paid models and using silhouettes or showing their backs, like in the Corona examples, being relaxed does not play a major role.

CC BY 2.0

CC BY 2.0

Aim for photographs that are unusual yet can still be thought of being good representations of people at rest. The locations where the subjects are found is not much of a deal breaker.

Anywhere can be a good location. What matters is the attitude of the subjects and their appearance of peacefulness.

You can use typical situations but this is a topic which has been covered thoroughly and the best shots and those that have a high degree of marketability are those that are out of the ordinary.

This is especially true if dealing with pets or wild animals and when dealing with scenes that are devoid of people.

CC BY-SA 2.0

CC BY-SA 2.0

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© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez


Luis E Gonzalez (author) from Miami, Florida on August 14, 2013:

jainismus: Thank you and you are right.

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on August 14, 2013:

Great photographs. Now a days photography has become affordable, people should try to learn the techniques. If one has knowledge of art, and he learns to use a camera, he can take better photographs.


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