I’ve heard from so many photographers that family photo posing is the worst.

I mean, hands down, hardest thing ever.

You have clients who are (self-proclaimed) awkward AF in front of the camera, stressed out from getting ready, or just straight up don’t wanna be there.

But I’m here to let you know it doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

In fact, some of my favorite sessions are families!

I want you to remember something:

As portrait photographers, we have the privilege of capturing the love, connection and JOY that these families share!

We GET to photograph these people and capture a moment they will never get back.


Betcha never thought about it like that 😉


family of four photo shoot

Family Photo Posing Tips and Tricks

Connecting the Family

As a photographer, you always want to show the connection between the family, and the love that they share.

When we talk about a connection, literally connect them and have family members touching, holding onto each other, hugging, etc.

The connection might look different in a family with small children, and one who has teen/older children.

Generally, families with younger kids are going to be a little sillier (tickle fight anyone?!). It is generally easier to show connection through hugs, kisses, snuggles, bubble blowing, etc.

That’s not to say that families with older kids can’t have the same fun, interactions. It just might take a little more creativity on the part of the photographer. Have everyone share a joke, get one of the parents to share a story, etc.


sea grass and dunes family photos

Posing for Families at the Session

  • Everyone Together – generally I want to capture parents and kids together because that’s when kids have the most patience and are the most excited.
  • Kids Together – still working off the fact that kids are generally in a good mood, we capture the kids together
  • Mom with Kids/Dad with Kids – Usually these images are more fun/candid, and the focus is on the interaction between everyone.
  • Each Child Individually – The goal is to quickly rotate through each child, while capturing their individual personalities.
  • Just Mom and Dad – This is always a big one for me because I want to create some gorgeous, romantic portraits for the parents too!
  • Dad with the Boys/Mom with the Girls – it’s always nice to be able to capture breakdowns of the boys together/girls together. Definitely make sure to keep a pulse on everyone’s mood to see when the clients have the patience to take more pictures.


lesbian familydaddy's little manVirginia Family photographer

Create Candid Moments

A lot of people think that candid, natural moments just happen organically. And then here we come – as bad-ass photographers – to swoop in and capture all this awesomeness with our magical cameras…

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Generally people are awkward in front of the camera, and it can translate to looking stiff/unnatural on camera.

So it is our job to create a moment and then guide the clients through it to get that genuine, fun image.

Candid photos allow the family to have a “break” and relax between the formal portrait groupings that we listed above.

Don’t worry about capturing the perfect image, these photos are more about having fun, and the interaction between the family.


Norfolk Freemason Photo Shoot


Don’t Over-Pose

If you have to take more than 4-5 minutes to set up and take a shot, I guarantee that it’s overposed.

Photo sessions should be a lot of fun, but when it starts taking “forever” and the family is being still for too long, that’s gonna kill your mojo.

I promise – this is where you’re gonna lose dads and little kids… they will simply get bored and want to do something else.

Make sure to get the shots that you need while still keeping the shoot moving along.

Everyone will thank you, and the photos will be much more pleasing for the client.


What was the one tip that helped you the most?


Air Force Family Session

Take Your Business to the Next Level

If these family photo posing tips and tricks resonated with you, let me know!

We’d love to help in your photographic business journey so you don’t feel like an island unto yourself.

Fresh Look Photography offers private mentoring to help with any aspect of running your business, and we’d love to chat with you!

Feel free to drop a comment below or click the { Contact Me } button and we will get rocking and rolling!

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