One of the most rewarding types of photography is taking photos of entire families. Parents often love capturing the different stages and ages of their families, and a photoshoot is a great way to do this. But while taking portraits of families can often be a fun and exciting experience, getting the right poses can sometimes be a challenge. Let’s go over a few simple things that range from simple beginner tips to advanced techniques to ensure you get the perfect family poses and photos!
Let’s start with some basic poses that will allow you to simply get started on any photoshoot. It is always a good idea to keep it simple, and having a few different ideas for poses can help you to pick a couple on the fly when trying to capture the best moments. A few of these basic poses include:
When posing members of a family, they will usually want to turn towards the camera with their arms down at their sides. This creates a super boring look, so it is your job to connect them in more interesting ways. From leaning on each other with hands around the waist or heads on the shoulders, do not be afraid of getting creative! For better portraits with everyone standing, pay special attention to the little kids. You can have them do things like hug their parents’ legs or be held. Try to make it look as natural as possible for the best results!
Getting a large family to look natural while all seated without them boringly sitting side by side can be a challenge. Instead, try using different shapes and lines. Play around with the size difference between family members to do this, as well as different activities while seated.
Side by Side
While many would consider it boring, sometimes there is nothing better than a side-by-side pose. This is especially true when you can get them in close together and have them put their arms around one another. If you can convince them to be silly and laugh, this simple pose comes out even better.
Another simple pose that always seems to get great results, the turnaround is even more effective when the family members are encouraged to turn towards each other instead of the camera. Even when looking towards the camera, this pose is great when you also play around with different angles and perspectives.
Tips and Tricks
Once you have a few of the basic poses down, you can start to experiment and try out different poses and angles that are a little more advanced. These different poses will help you to create something a little fresh and new when it comes to family portraits.
An easy way to get some more natural-looking photos is to have good interactions between family members. This also helps to avoid the awkward and often lifeless photos you will sometimes see and instead capture a more natural feeling in your subjects. Ask the family members to turn towards each other and do different things like talk, ask questions, and play games. Again, don’t forget about the younger kids and bring them up to the adults’ level.
Speaking of playing games, playing around with the family is a great way to get some very natural and lively photos. This will also give the family a break from all of the posing, which can be extremely important when shooting with younger kids. Just make sure that you have a fast shutter speed in order to capture these moments.
While it is very important to avoid giant gaps in between people or objects, it is equally important that all of your subjects are not too squished together. The only time that this might work alright is a big group hug, otherwise, add a little bit of empty space in between!
Play with Perspective
You never want your photos to seem boring or stale, so do not be afraid of playing around with the perspective. For example, you can have your family lay down or create a big ‘dog pile’ on the ground and shoot from above them. This creates a downward perspective that you can also use in conjunction when they are playing around and having a good time, creating new and interesting shots.
Now that you have the basics down, let’s touch on just a few more advanced techniques when it comes to family portraits and achieving some of the best and most unique poses that will truly help your work stand out from the rest.
Work the Diagonal Lines
When trying to create new poses for your family, keep an eye on the diagonal lines that are formed by the different positions. This can take a boring, seated shot into a pose that can give you multiple different shots. Have kids or spouses lay in the laps of others, or lean on each other’s shoulders. This will break up the even lines and create diagonal lines across your shot, creating a refreshing take on an otherwise simple pose.
Create Shapes and Connections
Along the same premise of diagonal lines, try to create shapes when posing your subjects. This will help to create a better connection and composition with the family members and can convey a sense of meaning with the portrait. While you can easily create a connection between subjects by bringing them closer physically, trying to incorporate different shapes and patterns in how you pose them together can also accomplish the same task. From using the different heights to things in the environment, there are plenty of opportunities to play around with the shapes of your poses.
And there you have it! Posing for families is one of the most fun and exciting things you can do when taking photos, and it pays to get creative with it. Hopefully, now you are better prepared for posing larger families and can find the perfect poses to capture those truly special moments!