I'm an Appleton, WI based family photographer that loves capturing genuine moments with laid-back playfulness.
I approach each photo session like a dance. I choreograph roughly where we’re going to shoot and what prompts/poses I’ll be using for each background. This gives a lot of variety to a finished gallery. The following are “base poses” and every family takes them a little differently which is a good thing! I like that poses look slightly different based on the family because each family is unique. I’ve put together my top 5 must-have family session poses below!
A little posing secret I’ll share – I use a posing app for inspiration called Unscripted. They are much more than a posing app, but that is what I initially bought it for. They now offer so many more features like workflow checklists, the ability to save poses/prompts for each individual shoot, contracts/invoices, email templates, and tons of educational resources. Definitely check them out if you are a photographer and need help with posing! You can use my code DAPHODIL for $20 OFF a lifetime or yearly subscription!
Outdoor sessions are some of my favorites to photograph. Having more space to move, play, and snuggle can make a big difference for wiggly children. I always capture the standard “grandma shot” with a posed portrait of the whole family, but then I like to mix it up and get them moving! This adds interest to photos and makes the experience more interactive, especially with young children. If they feel like they are playing with mom and dad, rather than getting their photo taken, they are much more willing to participate. Read on for must-have family session poses that I use every single session! These are great especially for families with young children.
I love to start the session with the family holding hands and walking away from me. I think it’s a good way to start that doesn’t say “I’m about to put a camera in your face.” It gives them a little space and time to warm up and feel comfortable. It’s also a great way to add movement right away. Having them hold hands really emphasizes their family bond, which I always want to document.
Get those kids up in the air! I love this pose for little ones from 6 months all the way up older kids. Who doesn’t love being picked up and thrown in the air? It’s a good one for natural expressions and capturing the connection between parent and child. I’ve used it mostly for dads with kids, but moms could do this pose too.
One of my all-time favorite poses is to have Mom & Dad standing next to each other and tell the kids to run around them. This is a perfect pose for kids who need to move and get some energy out. I also love this pose because you get a sense of what parenthood is like for Mom & Dad without any words needed. This can also work as a base pose. After they run around Mom & Dad, I have each child run right towards me!
This is a great pose to get overhead shots. I instruct dad to sit down first and get comfortable. Then mom sits right next to dad so their hips are touching. Next, kiddos sit in their parent’s lap and I’ll tell them to give each other tickles, hugs, and kisses. Some really sweet, natural moments come out of this pose.
In the standing kid sandwich, either mom or dad holds a child on their hip. They squish the kiddo in the middle of them and give them a kiss. This would also work well if there was an older child that could stand in front of them.
I hope these family session poses gave you some new ideas to try at your next family session! It can be a lot of fun and a little crazy to take family photos with young children. However, it is so worth it. I get excited to get home and see what magic I’ve captured because you never quite know until you get home. I’ve documented some really sweet moments, moments of joy, and moments that parents will always want to remember. That is why I choose to capture families and why I believe in documenting families so much.
Photographers, remember if you need some help with more posing suggestions, make sure to check out the Unscripted Posing App and use my code DAPHODIL for $20 off!
Which pose will you use at your next session? Any personal favorites of yours I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below!