16 Family Photoshoot Poses: Natural Ways to Pose a Family

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Looking for photoshoot poses for family portraits? You’re in the right place.

Don’t worry – we understand how tough family portrait sessions can be. You might have kids running all over the place, family members bickering, problems finding a suitable location… it’s a nightmare!

But once you nail some beautiful shots of the entire family grouped together in harmony, you’ll be proud of the results – and happy you persevered for your family photography session

In reality, all you need is a little planning and to have the right set of poses and tips up your sleeve. Before you know it, any and every family portrait session will be a breeze.  

Let’s take a look at 16 family photo pose ideas, plus some tips on where to shoot, what gear to use, and more.

16 Family Photoshoot Poses for Fun & Memorable Family Portraits

A family portrait could be about an intimate household or a multi-generation gathering. A family can be as small as two people or as big as 10 – sometimes more.

A family photographer needs to be prepared for all situations. Having a wide array of poses helps you to have a successful photo shoot every time. 

Here are some popular family portrait poses that can apply to different circumstances. 

1. Inside frames

Credit: Alena Darmel

Using props is always a good idea as it gives everyone something to do. In family portrait sessions is very popular to use photo frames.

One way of doing it is to have everyone hold a frame, as you see in the above photo.

Another idea is to photograph one family member at a time holding the frame. Then, put each photo inside the frame of the other one using Photoshop.

2. Having a picnic

Credit: Gustavo Fring

If you’re doing a family session outdoors, you can arrange a picnic scene. Then, have everybody sitting on the ground and interacting. This works esepcially well at sunset, such as in the photo above.

As a family photographer, remember that you can decide on the time of day of the shoot. Children can often be more relaxed at sunset too, making it easier for you to try some candid family photo poses.

3. Around the dinner table

Credit: August de Richelieu

Dinner time is one of the most important moments of the day in a family. Everybody has come home, and it’s time to share how the day went and enjoy each other’s company.

It’s also where you host the family parties when you invite the grandparents, cousins, etc. So, it makes the perfect setting for family portraits and some natural family photo poses. Just make sure no one is too hungry!

4. In bed

Credit: Anna Shvets

If you’re holding the session in the family home, you can take fun pictures in the parent’s bedroom. Having the kids invade mom and dad in bed is one of the most fun family photographs you can have when working with young children. 

While static family photo poses are nice, injecting a bit of movement into them is great too – try one with the kids running down the hallway from the point of view of the parents in bed – get behind mum and dad to compose with them in the frame too, for a dynamic family portrait.

If mum is expecting a baby, photos in the bedroom can also be a nice way to incorporate some pregnancy photoshoot poses in a relaxing environment too.

5. Sitting and standing

Credit: Murugan Ettiyan

Capturing a large family can be difficult. You can try to create different levels by doing sitting and standing poses. This way, you’ll have a more dynamic composition. 

6. On their bellies

Credit:Pixabay

One of my favorite family-portrait poses is having everyone lie flat on their bellies. It makes for a fun and casual photo where they can relax. You can do it outdoors in the garden or in bed if you’re working inside the house. 

7. Family hug

Credit: Vlada Karpovich

A group hug is a classic pose in family photography. It works well for small or large families and parents with children of all ages. Make sure you give it a try with different backgrounds. 

These kinds of family photo poses look the most natural, because a hug and a cuddle usually elicits a natural reaction – hopefully a smile!

8. Walking Family Portrait Poses

Credit: Emma Bauso

Sometimes it’s challenging to have everyone relaxed when doing family portrait poses. If you see that they feel awkward or look stiff, propose an activity. Capturing while they are walking on moving makes a great family portrait.  

You can even try it on a zebra crossing, for that classic Beatles album cover which mum and dad will love! Family photography that appeals to both old and young generations is always succesful.

9. In couples

Credit: Craig Adderley

When you need to make a wide shot with many family members, try to pair them up in couples. Many times larger groups in family portraits involve different generations. So, you can pair the grandparents, the middle generation with their respective partners, and the children.  

10. Reclining on each other

Credit: Elina Sazonova

Family portrait poses can be challenging. This is due to the different heights between parents and children. You can take advantage of this difference and create diagonal lines in the composition.

One way to do this is to organize them by height and ask them to recline on each other. 

11. Piggy back ride

Credit: Gustavo Fring

A really fun pose for family photos is the piggyback ride. This is one of the poses that guarantees natural smiles and is a simple way to include the entire family walking.

12. Lying down

Credit: Ketut Subiyanto

Changing poses might not be enough to offer a wide variety of shots in a family photography session. Sometimes you have to change perspective too. Try posing them lying down and making the shoot from above.  

13. Kids on top

Credit: Elina Fairytale

When photographing parents with small children, try to pose the kids on top. They can be standing on a higher level or ‘climbing’ the parents for a more fun and dynamic pose.

14. Holding hands

Credit: Caleb Oquendo

A classic pose for family portrait poses with children is to hold hands. If there’s only one child, you can have him or her in the middle. They can be jumping if you want to add some movement to make it more fun.

15. Just the siblings

Credit: Ronailson Santos

There isn’t a rule that says that mom and dad have to be in every family photo. You can capture just the kids for a few shots.

A good pose is to have the older child stand behind the younger one and hug them. 

16. Family photo poses with baby

Credit: William Fortunato

Families with babies may be hard to pose. One way to do it is to take individual portraits holding the baby. Otherwise, you can place the baby between mom and dad. 

How Do You Pose for a Family of 3-10?

Posing an entire family can be challenging. This is especially true when it involves many family members. Here’s a quick guide to posing small and large families.

  • Family of 3 – For a single focal plane, put the youngest in the middle. If you want more depth, have one sitting down and two standing behind. 
  • Family of 4 – You can do several family poses by pairing the members. Otherwise, you can line up the group with the tallest in the far back. Then, the others can stand in front, ordered by height.
  • Family of 5 – A classic pose for a family of 5 is to have three in the back and two in the front. Depending on the ages, it can be the three kids standing and the two parents sitting.
  • Family of 6 – You can pose a family of six by order of height, with the tallest in the middle and decreasing towards the edges. This makes for a symmetric posing.
  • Family of 7 – With a family of seven is best to create a triangle pose. Start with two subjects sitting and one standing behind. Then, arrange two on each decreasing in height.
  • Family of 8 – With even numbers, you can make pairs. This way, it’s easier to handle the posing – for example, two couples sitting and two standing. 
  • Family of 9 – For posing a large family, you need to create different planes. One with nine family members can pose on a stairway, for example.
  • Family of 10 – A family of ten can pose around the dinner table or in the living room. For example, some of them can be sitting on the couch, others standing behind, and the youngest can be on the floor. 

Location Ideas for Family Photos

A family photoshoot can be in the studio or on location. It can be indoors or outdoors. It all depends on the family’s preference and your photography style.

If you work in the studio, you can use a solid color or a textured background. Yet, going on location offers you more possibilities. 

Here are some location ideas for some family photo poses at home:

  • In front of the mantelpiece.
  • In the bedroom.
  • In the kitchen.
  • In the dining room.
  • In the garden.

If the family shoot is not in the house, you can find a fun location to take your clients:

  • In the park.
  • In a public swimming pool.
  • In a playground.
  • In front of graffiti walls.
  • On your city landmarks.
  • At the beach.

5 Family Portrait Photography Tips

Now that we’ve covered some family portrait poses let me give you some more tips about family photography. 

1. Prepare your gear in advance

Credit: Alex Andrews

To make family photography on a professional level, you need to have the right gear. This will depend on the location, the time of day, and the type of photos you will take. 

You can get an idea of what other families and maternity photographers use by peaking inside their bags. Check out these amazing shot kits.

Family photos don’t need many advanced features from your camera. You should simply be careful about the resolution depending on how you will use the photos. 

More importantly, you need to consider which focal lengths you’ll need. You’ll also need to decide whether you’re using artificial light or not. In any case, make sure you bring some light modifiers. 

2. Offer some clothing tips to the clients

Credit: Alena Darmel

Your clients will usually need guidance about the photo shoot’s wardrobe. The most common question you’ll face is: what should we wear for family pictures? 

This isn’t so easy to say. It depends on their personality, the type of photos, the age range, etc. So, you can propose a color palette for them to use. 

Otherwise, you can turn the question around and say, what should you not wear to a family photoshoot? In this case, it’s easier.

Always avoid strong patterns that can be distracting. The same goes for t-shirts or clothes with a big logo on them.

Also, stay away from clothes that don’t fit well or make you feel uncomfortable. 

3. Use daylight

Credit: Elina Fairytale

Family photography is mainly done with natural light unless you work in the studio. Even if you’re indoors, try to use window light to make more natural portrait photos. 

The golden hours offer warm tones that are perfect for family portraits. It’s also quite soft, which means that you won’t have any unflattering shadows on your subjects. 

If this time is not suitable for your clients, you can find soft light looking for shade or waiting for a cloudy day. 

4. Be sure to capture some candid photos

Credit: Pavel Danilyuk

Family portrait poses are great, but you shouldn’t overlook spontaneity. Often, the best photos come from family interaction while they forget they have a camera on them. 

This means that even during breaks, you should always have your camera ready. 

5. Blur the background

Credit: Gustavo Fring

It’s essential to choose a good background that’s beautiful and simple. It should never steal the attention of the subjects. The best way to ensure this is by blurring the background. 

You can achieve this by using a wide aperture and a telephoto lens. Keep in mind that telephoto lenses are very common in portrait photography. This is because they create less distortion. 

Family Portrait Poses FAQs

How can I pose my family naturally?

 You have to be patient and keep a positive attitude. The first few poses might look awkward but they will loosen up. Give general instructions but allow everyone to be themselves – especially young kids.

How can I make my family look good in pictures?

The best way to do this is to use natural, soft light. Also, prepare some family portrait poses and ensure everyone feels comfortable and relaxed.  

How do you pose for a family of 5?

Posing a family of five isn’t difficult because odd numbers create dynamic compositions. Depending on age, you can have one parent sitting down with the youngest on their lap. Then, the other parent stands with the other two children on each side. Another pose idea is to have the two parents in the middle of the group with the two oldest children on the sides. Then, the youngest child goes in front of mom and dad. 

Photoshoot Poses for Family Photography | Final Words

I hope you find these posing tips useful for your next family photography photo shoot. Being a family photographer is a truly wonderful thing – capturing moments and emotions for eternity is priceless and you should feel good about every shoot.

Remember that while having a handful of solid family photo poses under your belt is a good idea to get things moving during the photoshoot, it’s also important to just go with the flow. Some of the best photos happen when you least expect it, so always be at the ready with your camera.

Let us know in the comments your favorite tips and tricks for beautiful family photos. 

Shotkit Writer & Camera Gear Reviewer

Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.

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