Like many current photographers, I like to think I direct families during their sessions with me (as opposed to pose them in a more traditional manner).
To me, the #1 most important aspect of a family session is capturing connection.
Every family has something different and unique to offer in terms of demonstrating how they love one another. I'd love for you to join me in moving beyond the everyone-look-at-the-camera family photo. Here is a selection of my favorite poses that capture the connection of a family.
1. Let them be little.
At some point, during almost any given session, the little ones are just plain done! Don't pack up your gear just yet because it's time to have some fun. Ask the family to gather in an open space with good lighting and let the children move. Be sure your family is touching in some way, even if you break them up into groups or they naturally pair off. Now, get them moving! Ask them to hold hands and run toward you, chase each other, or play make-believe. Connection with movement creates a lively image.
2. Ask them to embrace.
Tell the parents to breathe in that delicious baby scent. Ask them to get as close to one another as they are able. It might sound lame the first time you use this instruction but trust me, parents love it. Remind the parents not to look at you and to focus on their child or children. The result will be an intimate and warm photo.
3. Tickle time.
This pose always results in some of my favorite family portraits, and it is one of the surest ways to get natural smiles out of everyone. Place the family in great light and make sure they are sitting good and close to each other. ("Act like you love each other!") Then, assuming they are comfortable with the prompt, ask the parents to gently tickle their kiddos. Remind the parents to look at their kids, and ... look what fun!
4. Let them choose their own pose.
Essentially, this pose is the opposite of a pose! Place the family in lovely light, be sure they are close enough to each other that you will be able to capture them all, then allow them to do their thing. You have set them up for success, now let them show you who their family is.
Family photography can be so enjoyable and even creative! Try some of these posing techniques during your next family session and be sure to let me know how it goes. You are awesome!