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3 Go-To Poses for Families

Photography Tips - Technical

September 22, 2023


I really did just use the word “poses”!! GASP!!! Haha 🙂 Just kidding…but, as a “lifestyle” photographer, I pride myself on not offering super “posed” shots! In fact, at the beginning of my photography career, I kind of refused to say that I posed people. However, I have learned – and completely accepted – that poses are not bad!! 🙂 In fact, I use poses as my starting point during all of my family sessions.

The poses simply allow the clients to know they’re doing a good job! It helps get the look you want, to stay organized, and to have a flow for your session.

Here are 3 go-to poses that I use at almost all of my family sessions.


I always put mom & dad in the center, close together. Then, I place the taller children on the sides, and the smaller children in the front. I try to separate colors (like the 2 black shirts) whenever possible. You can also have mom or dad hold the baby/toddler. You still get the same idea. Make sure everyone is close and that their hands have something to do (no one likes awkward hands)! Have them put outside hands in their pocket, hold someone’s hands, put their arm around someone, etc. Just NO AWKWARD HANDS! 🙂

The beauty of poses is that you can get so many more creative and natural shots just by zooming in and changing your perspective. Like in the image above, I loved how little Ridge was sucking his fingers…and how little little pant leg was up. I wanted to capture that. Although some of their heads are cut off, that’s ok!! My focus is Ridge, and that’s all that matters! This is still the same pose, but a totally different look!
This is another shot I got while they were in the standing pose. I just walked close and got each child’s face. I love that it shows love & connection, with his Mom hugging him. It’s still a portrait…just not a traditional portrait! 🙂


If the children are little, I have them all hold hands and walk. If the kids are bigger, I just have them close to each other. Sometimes with older children, the parents can have their hands on the child’s back as they walk…or the kids can hold onto mom or dad’s arm (if hand-holding is uncomfortable). But, for littles, holding hands always works! I have them walk away and then walk toward me. You may have to modify like the image above. Dad is holding one of the little boys because he was upset. That’s ok!! It’s still precious and shows love & connection!

This is still the walking pose, but I zoomed in/moved in closer to get more details!

When I have them walk toward me, I often ask them to stand still for a second so that I can take a portrait of them holding hands, like in this image. I’ll have them look at me for a few and then look and smile at each other. 🙂

This was taken while they were in the walking pose. I love how Tylor was holding onto his Daddy’s finger. I love how you can see his Daddy’s wedding band. It still represents family, love & connection! I just moved close to each kiddo while they were in the walking pose.


One of my favorite “poses” with families with little kids is the “Sit & Snuggle” pose. I have Dad sit first however he is most comfortable. Then, I have Mom sit right next to dad (booties touching). Then, I pile the kids on them and around them! 🙂 I love the love, joy & connection that comes from this pose! The best part is all of the extra “unposed” shots you can get while they’re here!

Like this… I just said, “Okay, Mama & Daddy, I want you to love & snuggle your babies!! Aww, everybody hug and love…” 🙂 Then, I just started shooting away! I love all the different expressions here! 🙂
It’s still the same “sit & snuggle” pose, but the only thing that’s changed is they were hugging and loving each other, and I was moving around – shooting above them, close to them, at different angles, etc.

It’s amazing how many wonderful “extra” shots you can get by just zooming in, changing your angle & perspective, etc. The clients don’t have to move! Just you!! See how a “posed” shot can lead to more?!

So, there you have it! Those are three go-to poses that are perfect for families! Even if families have older children, these still work great and can be modified!

But…as you transition from one spot to another; as you give the kids a break; as one little needs a bit more attention for a minute…just KEEP SHOOTING!!! The next images are “extras” that are not within a given pose! I got these just by watching life unfold and being there for it! 🙂

This was in between “poses”. I didn’t guide them or tell them what to do. I was just shooting away!
Tylor had hurt his foot and was a little bit upset. Instead of waiting for him to be all better, I just photographed his Daddy helping him, checking on it, and making it “better”. The sunset (rich, golden light) was shining on Nathan & Tylor. That’s why their skin tones are reddish in this image.
Mama having a little smoochy time with her baby!
Ciara is so beautiful, and Ridge is just precious! I love this tender moment.
The kids were getting a little squirrely, so I told them to show me how fast they could run!! I told them to keep running past me! That let me get their cute running faces and intense motions! 🙂 Look at baby Ridge just smiling!! He loves his big brothers and thinks he’s as big as they are!
Since they were all barefoot, we had to get a picture of their “stinky piggies”!!
They recently dug a big pond, but it hasn’t filled with water yet. The boys wanted me to see it! At this point, the boys were over anything that had to do with focusing on me! Haha!! So…I just told them to throw rocks in the pond. I asked Mom & Dad to just watch them and talk & play with them.
Ridge LOVES his car! Haha!! I think he’s put a few miles on it! 🙂 Since he loves it, I wanted to get him “driving” his car. When he got in, his big brothers came swarming over, and Ridge was NOT HAPPY!! He wanted them to go away! LOL! Even though he was ticked, I love this picture!!
As Ridge was driving his car, I looked down and noticed his little dirty feet!! These are the little things are so precious to us when our babies are grown!!
Then, Zane asked me to watch him jump on the trampoline! So…I took my camera, of course…even though the session was technically over! These are boys being boys, and always end up being some of my favorite shots!
Aiden showed off his skills, too! 🙂

I hope you found this helpful! Whether you are a photographer or simply want to take better pictures of your own family, I encourage you to try the three main poses, to always use different perspectives within those poses, and to never stop shooting during the “down times”!!

And…just for your info…here are the stats for most of these images.

Time of Year: September

Time of Day: between 6:45-7:45pm

Camera: Canon R6 (this was my first shoot using my new camera)

Lens: I used the Canon 35 f/1.4 for this entire session

Settings: Aperture (f-stop) – 2.8 ISO – between 400 & 600 Shutter Speed – around 1/1250

If you have questions, just ask!! Have a great weekend!!

Ashlee 🙂

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