Capturing beautiful and fun family photos can be tough, especially if you're stuck in a rut! If you are a family photographer looking for some inspiration, I've got you covered with this blog post of prompt and pose ideas for your next family photo session.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Family Photography Sessions
When I first started out in photography, I would just place families in a spot I thought was pretty, and tell them to get close and smile at the camera. I didn't really know what to say to get them to laugh genuinely. I didn't realize that there was so much value in the in-between moments, or in the photos where everyone was interacting with each other and not looking at the camera.
It took a few years before I learned about lifestyle family photography.
Once I tried it out, I couldn't go back to stiff and boring posed photography. My heart was in those connections between family members.
Over the years, I have had to think of a ton of different ideas to get people having fun, interacting, getting cuddly, etc. I'd love to share some of those ideas with you! So read on for a few of my favorite prompts and poses for family photography.
Fun Family Photography Prompt Ideas
I love to bring the fun during family sessions! One of my favorite prompt or pose ideas is to have the family hold hands in a line and walk toward the camera. But I tell them that they should look at each other or the ground, but not at me. I feel like it's awkward to have an entire family walking toward the camera and looking at it... just me? Lol. I'd much rather they look like they are having a good time as a family and connecting with each other! You can add another element to this walk by asking them to bump hips, or play red light, green light with them. Or maybe dad can twirl the little girl on the end a few times, or have the parents hold one kid's hands in the middle and swing them. You can add different things into this to really make it fun. Don't be afraid to shout out random directions as they walk! And if they are getting too close to you, tell them to walk backward!
Cuddly and Sweet Family Photo Poses
Something I try and do is make things into a game. So if I'm looking for a cuddly and sweet pose, I'll ask the kids to stand by me and have the parents embracing each other in the spot I'd like the photo taken. And when I say embracing, I don't just mean limply putting their arms around each other, I want them really holding each other tight facing each other. Or if there is a baby, they can hold the baby between them. Then I'll ask the kids to run and give their parents a huge hug! Sometimes this works better to have the kids a bit to the sides rather than right by me, so they will hug onto the sides of the parents rather than in front. Or you can have the kids run around the parents first, then tell them to hug the parents after a minute. Once they are hugging, I might need to ask a kid to turn their head towards the camera because sometimes all I can see is the back of their heads. Which is fine for a shot or two, but then I like to fix it. Get everyone cuddly. Sometimes I might tell the family to close their eyes and pretend to sleep, then I will yell, "wake up!" and see what happens. Obviously, all of this is a nice mix of playful and also sweet. But sometimes with kids, that's what you need to do to get those sweet moments, make it a game.
Family Photography Prompts to Promote Adventure
I love to choose locations that have some spots to explore, and once the family is feeling a bit more comfortable in front of the camera, I'll just ask them to explore together. I ask the parents to hold a kid's hand if they can and help them walk across logs or jump off of rocks. See if they can find a pretty shell or rock, or look for bugs. Anything that their kids might enjoy. I tell the parents to really engage with their kids during this time and not worry about what I am doing. And then I get lots of different shots of this. Pullbacks of the entire family in the scene, closeup details of the things they find, etc. And don't be afraid to tell them to adjust specific things if you need to. Like, "Mom, put your hair over the other shoulder," or "Dad, do that again but this time from this direction." Yes, you are trying to capture them genuinely playing and exploring, but you can direct it a bit if needed!
50 Prompts and Poses for Family Photography
Do you have trouble capturing family photos full of connection? My Family Photography Prompts and Poses Digital Cards can help! They include 50 prompts and poses to help you bring out emotion with your families during your next photo session. I will show you photo examples along with the prompt or pose instructions. I even give you tips to really make it your own. These cards are delivered in digital form and are meant to be kept on your phone for easy viewing before or during your session.
"When I saw the prompts and poses digital cards, I was a bit skeptical. I had tried other ideas in the past, but they never seemed to work. I felt like I was always doing the same things during my sessions, and the photos never turned out the way I envisioned them in my head.
But I decided to give the cards a try anyway. I was surprised to find that they were really helpful! The prompts and poses were easy to follow, and they helped me connect with my subjects and get them to relax. As a result, my sessions are so much more fun and full of emotion and connection!" -Jen H.
Share this story