In this article, we’re going to share 15 quick and easy poses for family photographs to try at your next family photo session to keep it moving smoothly. You will also have great poses to choose from when it comes time to deliver the images to your clients.
These poses are useful for all family sizes and types so that you have a great variety to deliver once complete.
1. Standing poses
When it comes to photographing families, a standing pose is a great choice. This way, you’ll be able to see all family members in the portrait.
You can vary the standing pose with the family close together, connecting in one way or another with hands. Having the family get close can help to create more of a connection between the family members.
Another great standing pose is where you give each person a little bit of space and take a wide shot. This works for small and large families!
2. Group squeeze
A group squeeze is another of the great poses for family photographs given that it can bring about some genuine smiles from the family, which is the real focus of the pose.
Ask your clients to get close and hug each other while still facing the camera, then ask them to squeeze tight and watch the laughter happen! Take as many photos as possible of the moment as the family will love to see these natural expressions caught on camera!
3. Sitting pose
Sitting is another great pose to try. First, ask if there is anyone who has problems sitting or getting low. If there are family members with issues, try and use a chair or a posing stool.
Otherwise, have the family sit comfortably and get variations of the family looking at the camera, looking at each other, perhaps sitting a little further apart, or try to have the children behind the parents sitting a bit taller.
If you are going to use a chair or stool, it can bring about many different levels in a photograph that will make the poses more interesting. Try people behind the person sitting on the stool, move the stool/chair to the side, and have everyone fill in around.
If you’re photographing a big family, you can even pose family members beneath the stool/chair to add to the levels.
4. Walking together
When looking for poses for family photographs, you can’t go past them walking together. It is a great pose for all families, especially if they feel a little nervous or stiff. Have them line up and walk towards you while they look at each other and laugh.
Encourage them to talk and joke amongst themselves to make the shot look a little more natural.
5. Smaller groups
This pose is for big family sessions where you’re photographing smaller groups that make up the big family. Get each smaller family alone and photograph them in two to three different poses each. Use the same poses for each family to keep the session consistent. When all the family photos are put together in a wall gallery, for example, the photos fit well together.
You don’t have to use the same pose for all, you can change it up depending on the feeling each smaller group gives you. However, when we say keep it consistent, we’re talking about the lighting, background, and focal length.
6. All mixed up
A fun way to photograph the family is to have them mix it up and then get together for a portrait. This can get the family scrambling and laughing; allowing you to get more natural smiles from the entire family.
Jumping is another of the great poses for family photographs. Capturing a jumping shot is a great way to loosen up client nerves. More than actually getting the best shot, the jumping photo is to get everyone laughing and having fun.
You can photograph the jump with the family facing you or away from you. Make sure you get low so the jump looks more dynamic.
8. Just the kids
It’s good to also get a few photographs of the children without any adults in the photos. For siblings, get them playing or hugging.
For larger groups of children, like grandchildren, get them all in a group squeeze or on different levels like piggyback, sitting/standing, or all lined up so that everyone is seen in the portrait.
You can also break down the groups of children into girls, boys, older and younger, and maybe all playing together.
Nothing says meltdown like telling children to hold still and pose. To avoid a potential meltdown, allowing kids to explore their surroundings helps to keep them moving and engaged in the session.
Get the parents involved in exploring the location. It could be smelling flowers, picking up sticks, and taking in the surroundings.
This works perfectly for kids who are more sensory and for younger children. It can also help older kids feel less nervous and less focused on during the session.
Having fun is one of the best parts of the client experience. Making sure that your clients, especially the children, have a good time is really important.
Photograph the children building sandcastles, enjoying the playground, throwing a ball, or playing a game with their parents to help keep everything light and fun. It’s not a pose exactly that you direct, but you can choose where to have them play.
Having playful photos of the family completes the story of the session and also shows a more lighthearted side to the family. It also makes the session less stiff and serious.
Even if you’re in a studio, you can blow bubbles, play songs, have a dance party, and play with sounds to make the session more playful. Toys are a wonderful idea for smaller children.
11. Just the adults
While getting photos of the whole family is important, getting one or two poses of the adults by themselves also works to add variety to the whole session.
If the adults are a couple, pose them together in the same location. Take one with them looking at the camera and one looking at each other. Then have them walk a little while as they talk to each other.
If they are able to sit, get a couple of photos of the couple sitting, either on steps, benches or on the grass/ground.
12. Holding hands
Holding hands is a good way to show a connection among the family members. Choose different poses, either sitting or standing, where the family is holding hands. You can vary it with big groups where some are holding hands and others are not.
This works for children to get them to stand in the same place together. It can also help to hold hands with younger children so that they don’t stray too far and are engaged in the session.
13. Being themselves
Allowing your clients to simply be themselves as a family can be just the thing to calm nerves and help the session flow much more naturally. Help them by choosing where you want them to sit or stand and then have them talk amongst themselves.
Perhaps tell a joke, dance or play. Allow the family to get natural expressions, which adds more variety to the final gallery.
Families love each other and often show affection for each other. Kisses are natural and can show a real connection. You can choose to have the parents kiss while the kids make funny faces, have siblings kiss and hug, or have grandparents give kisses on the cheek.
This works best with young children like babies and toddlers to show affection and draw the baby’s attention to the parents. It also works with group squeezes with smaller family units.
15. From behind
Complete your session images with a final shot of the family from behind. This can be a silhouette or have the family overlooking the location where they are, like a beach, for example.
It can be a great photo to finish your client’s gallery with a nice contemplative photo of the family simply looking and being themselves.
It’s great to have 15 poses for family photographs that work for all families and all situations. Use these 15 poses, and you’ve already got a great start to your client’s gallery! Do you have any go-to poses that work for all family sessions? Share in the comments!