Simple Family Photo Poses And Tips For The Photographer

Family photography is a wonderful area of photography to get into. Not only is it a great way to make steady money in your photography career, but it can also be incredibly fulfilling to help families create amazing memories of special times in their lives.

Simple Family Photo Poses And Tips For The Photographer

With that being said, taking photographs of families requires different skills than those that are required for solo shoots or best friend shoots. 

In this guide, we will look at some simple poses that are suitable for families of all sizes and ages. This can help you get some inspiration for your family shoots.

We will also look at some top tips to help you get the best results from your shoots and models by making them feel relaxed and helping them to have fun. 

1. Inside Frames

Props are always a great way to get some great photographs, especially when you are working with amateur models. Using empty photo frames is the perfect way to get some beautiful photos of a family(see also: Tips For Taking Beautiful Outdoor Family Photos).

It gives them something to do with their hands and allows them to get close and have fun to fit into the frame. It also offers plenty of options for editing. 

2. In Bed

There are so many different options for location when it comes to family photoshoots. One of the best options is in or on a bed. This gives the photographs a homely feel and can make the family feel more relaxed.

This is something that can be done on a set or in the home of the family. It also offers some great ideas for dynamic shots of pillow fights. 

3. Having A Picnic

Family photoshoots can take place in a myriad of locations with just as many themes. Incorporating everyday family activities into your shoot can produce some beautiful images.

Using an activity such as a picnic allows you to capture some stunning candid moments of family dynamics that create beautiful memories for the family. 

4. On Their Bellies

Sometimes, posed family photos (see also: How To Pose Your Family For Natural Looking Photos)work just as well as candid and relaxed shots. A pose that works for family members of all ages is lying on their bellies.

They can rest their chins on their hands and have their legs bent behind them. This is a particularly cute pose for the children of the family. 

5. Family Hug

One of the main points of family photoshoots is to capture the love and relationships between the different family members.

One of the most beautiful ways to truly capture the love and affection between a family is to take pictures of them hugging and cuddling each other. It is also a great way to display natural family dynamics. 

6. Piggy Back Ride

Having family members interact with each other during family photoshoots is a great way to capture some genuine smiles and get some beautiful memories.

Having the parents or older siblings of the family give piggyback rides to the younger family members is a great way to get some beautifully dynamic and happy shots. 

7. Just Siblings

During a family photoshoot, you might get requests to take pictures of certain family members only. One of the most common groups of family members is the siblings.

This is something that a lot of parents request for family shoots. It can be a great way to showcase the bond and relationship between brothers and sisters. 

8. Holding Hands

As we have already mentioned, one of the main purposes of a family photoshoot is to showcase the love and support that helps to make a family. A beautiful way to capture this is to get the family you are shooting to hold hands.

To make this pose less awkward for amateur models, you can have them stand with their backs to the camera as if they are walking away. This is a particularly effective idea if the family consists of younger children.

9. Kids On Top

Another fun pose idea for families with younger children is to get them to lay on top of their parents. This is a pose that is guaranteed to generate plenty of genuine smiles and photographs of laughter.

Depending on the number of children in the family, you can get them to create a pyramid shape on top of each other. You can even get smaller family pets involved in this one. 

10. In Couples

Family photoshoots aren’t just for young families with small children. It can be really effective to have family photoshoots when the children are adults already.

When you are doing this type of family photoshoot, getting the adult children to stand with their partners alongside their parents can be incredibly effective. It can also be a lovely way to welcome partners to the family unit. 

11. Around The Dinner Table

Family photoshoots that take place in the studio can be incredibly effective. However, having a family shoot in a natural setting can generate much more genuine photographs and expressions.

If the family you are shooting isn’t big on posing, having them sit around a dinner table with food can be a great way to capture the natural dynamics of the group and genuine emotions. 

12. Reclining On Each Other

One of the most important parts of being a family is supporting each other. This is something that you can try and capture during a family photo session.

Having the family sit on the floor together and lean on each other can create some beautiful, tender moments. This is a particularly great pose for young families to communicate the love and support that they have for each other. 

13. Laying Down

A natural progression from the leaning on each other pose is a laying down pose. This can be a super simple but effective way to capture some beautiful and tender moments between the family.

This is particularly true when the family you are shooting has young children. Having the family in this type of relaxed pose can create some incredible memories. 

14. Sitting And Standing

One of the most important things to do to create beautiful photographs is to make sure that there are different heights in your images. Having everyone standing in the same position creates boring photographs that aren’t inspiring.

Having some of the family members sitting down and some standing is a great way to create this dynamism. This can be particularly effective if you have taller family members sitting down and smaller family members standing so that they are taller. 

15. Poses With Babies

If you advertise yourself as a family photographer, you are likely to be inundated with requests for photoshoots with babies. This is something that is becoming increasingly popular with new parents as a way to create beautiful memories. 

There are endless possibilities of poses that you can do with babies and their parents. As a general rule, having the parent cradle the baby and focus on them instead of the camera is the perfect way to generate stunning images. 

The types of poses you can do with babies are limited depending on the age of the baby. The younger the baby is, the fewer options there are for poses.

However, if the baby is older and can support its head and can sit or stand up, there are many more possibilities that you can play with. 

Tips For Family Photography

Now that you have some ideas for poses that you can have in your arsenal for family photoshoots, you need to know how to get the most out of your family. The majority of families aren’t going to be used to being in front of the camera.

This can mean that they are nervous about the shoot. When your models are nervous, they are likely to be stiff when they pose which does not translate well to images.

Below are some tips to help you get the most out of your family photoshoots and help your families have fun. 

Plan Actions And Activities

Because most families won’t be used to having photoshoots and being in front of the camera, they aren’t likely to naturally know what to do when they begin to take photographs.

This can make the shoot awkward and take a lot longer than necessary to get the shots that you and your client are looking for. 

The best way to ensure that the shoot runs smoothly and your family isn’t left standing awkwardly, trying to figure out what poses they should do, you should go into the shoot with a plan for actions and activities.

The best way to do this is to talk to the family prior to the shoot to understand what they are looking to get from the shoot. 

Once you know what kind of shoot the family wants, whether it is in a studio or on location, you can begin to plan actions and activities for them to do.

This can include getting props for them to use or planning the location and theme of the shoot such as a picnic. The more things there are for the models to interact with, the smoother the shoot will be. 

Make Adults Feel At Ease

Adults are naturally going to feel more nervous in front of the camera than young children are. They are aware of what they want to look like and how they feel about seeing photographs of themselves.

When adult models are nervous, it makes them tense up when they pose which can make the photographs look awkward and uncomfortable. 

In order to make sure that your photographs are beautiful and relaxed, you will need to make the adults feel at ease. There are a few simple ways that you can do this.

Not all of these suggestions will work for all models but the more tools you have in your arsenal, the better you will be able to improvise. 

One of the best ways to make adults feel at ease is to compliment them. Make them feel good about what they are wearing, how their hair is cut or styled, you can even talk about how well behaved their children are.

The more comfortable they feel with you, the more comfortable they will feel in general. 

You can also begin the shoot with some test shots. Simply tell the family to talk among themselves while you take some shots to test the lighting and settings on your camera. Then proceed to take a few shots of them interacting with each other.

These will be natural, candid shots that can be used to show the family just how good they look on camera which can relax their nerves. 

Make Children Laugh

Although adults are more likely to be nervous or self-conscious, children can also be uncomfortable in front of the camera. This is more likely to happen if the shoot is happening in a studio rather than on location or in their own home.

Walking into a big, white studio can be overwhelming and cause children to be uncomfortable or nervous. 

Thankfully, children are often easier to relax than adults. All you really need to do is make them laugh. There are so many ways that you can make children laugh to make them feel at ease.

You can have a bag of funny props, puppets, or masks that make you look goofy and less intimidating behind the camera. 

You can also utilize modern technology and take some photographs of them with a smartphone and use funny filters that give them animal ears or funny faces.

Taking some of these silly photographs with their parents can also help to make them relax and feel more comfortable. 

It is also important to let children know that it is okay for them to be silly and have fun during the shoot. If they are less worried about misbehaving or not holding the right pose, they are going to have much more fun and produce better photographs. 

Plan Suggestions For Poses

Along with your models being nervous and stiff when you first start your photoshoot, it is likely that they are only going to have a couple of very simple poses in their toolbox to fall back on.

Only using a handful of poses can very quickly get boring and lead to a stale and uninteresting photoshoot. 

You should have at least half a dozen suggestions for poses for your family to use. This will help to make sure that you have a variety of poses to shoot which gives the client more types of photos to choose from when purchasing prints. 

The more family photoshoots that you do, the more ideas for poses you will have in your arsenal. You might even get some suggestions from creative families. Therefore, you will be able to suggest a wider variety of poses when you have more experience. 

With that being said, you don’t really need to suggest more than 6 or 7 poses per shoot. The more poses you suggest, the more confusing and overwhelming the shoot might become, especially when there are young children involved.

Once you have captured a range of poses, you can let the family have fun and be a bit more creative with it. 

Communicate Clearly

This is a tip that is applicable to all kinds of photoshoots, but can be particularly useful for family photoshoots. As the photographer, you know what is going to work well and what is going to translate well to images.

You also know what isn’t working and how the images are turning out in real-time. Because of this, you need to be able to communicate clearly with your models to help them get the best possible results from the photoshoot. 

Clear communication is something that improves the more that you do it. If you are new to photography, you might hit a few bumps in the road and fail to communicate properly during a shoot. However, you will get better with time. 

Being able to communicate clearly and calmly with your models is especially important for family photoshoots, particularly if there are small children involved.

The adults in the family are going to be stressed trying to keep their children under control and work out what it is you want from them. If you communicate clearly, this can mitigate the stress and improve the experience for everyone involved. 

Be Patient And Understanding

When you are working with parents and children, there are going to be some unforeseen issues and hiccups that may hinder or halt the shoot entirely.

Some adults aren’t entirely sure what they want from the shoot until they see it. Some children aren’t going to want to be at the shoot or they are going to be tired and hungry. 

Occasionally, emotions are going to run high and fuses are going to be short. As a photographer, the best thing you can do is be patient and understanding.

No parent wants their child to be throwing a tantrum during a photoshoot and they aren’t going to want photos of their child crying while posing (see also “Posing Techniques For Flattering Toddler Photos“).

Plan your time so that you can give families breaks to breathe and deal with tantrums and meltdowns as and when they need to. This will help to get the best results from the shoot. 

Final Thoughts

There are so many amazing poses that you can use for family photoshoots no matter what the ages of the family members are. There are also some tips and tricks that you can learn to help make the whole process run much smoother for you and the models.

Remember that you are creating memories that the family will cherish forever so it is important to give them the best experience possible. 

Laura McNeill
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