5 family portrait tips
(if you are being hired)

Professional beach family portraitProfessionally posed family portrait


These 5 family portrait tips are intended to be used by you if you are being hired as a professional or just being asked to be the designated family portrait photographer!

They are not to be used if you're not a professional portrait photographer.......just joking.

This family portrait guide is for everyone. These are good ideas for everyone to use.  A little planning makes everything go better than just winging it at the last second.


1. get the details ahead of time

Find out who is going to be photographed. Getting the number of people and their ages before the day of your photography session will allow you to plan everything ahead of time.

The location, the posing, and the time of day when everyone can gather are all effected by your subjects ages and schedules. Two year olds are not at their best for a sunset portrait on the beach when it's an hour after bedtime.

If you are photographing several young adults who go out partying on Friday nights, you may not get great results by scheduling a Saturday morning photography session at 9:00am.


2. plan your family poses before you shoot

Family portrait tip for pose of 3 people

Your posing will be quite different if you are photographing several young children or maybe a group photo of 7 adults and 2 eight year olds.

Sketch out a few poses on paper ahead of time or at least draw a mental picture and you will have great confidence in what you are doing the day of your shoot.


Here is a nice pose for a small family of three. Notice how the parents are angled inward and posed slightly behind the smaller child. Will you have some people standing, some sitting on stools or chairs, some kneeling or, sitting or lying on the grass?

Do you know some of the basic "rules of compositions" Brush up on some Family Portrait Poses.


3. pick the right location

The time of day and the existing lighting should be considered before the day of your session. Will you be using techniques of fill flash, bounce lighting, or portable strobes?

Look for a background that is not distracting. Posing subjects in a sunny area usually gives you squinting subjects and harsh shadows.



Is your client willing to travel 30 minutes or an hour to a specific spot?

Some people really go for the convenience of having portraits taken in their own home.

If it's an indoor location, make sure you have plenty of room.

If it's a very tight, cramped area, your pose will suffer.



Photographing Families:
Tips for Capturing Timeless Images


4. plan the clothing to match

Match the clothing in the family portrait to get the very best resultsGood Clothing Choice
Distracting Background



This is an important tip that makes a huge difference in the quality of your final photographs.

Group portraits are so much nicer when you pick matching or complimentary colors. Solids are less distracting than plaids, stripes, or patterns. Dark colors make us look thinner.

If you are planning everything else in your photograph, it's a big mistake to neglect your Portrait Clothing.

Is it formal or casual? Match the clothing choices to the environment and the pose. Unless maybe you are shooting a wedding, Suits and ties don't match with casual posing in an outdoor environment.


the last of the 5 family portrait tips: shoot variety

If you have followed the first 4 portrait tips, then the fifth is the fun one. In addition to the sketched out ideas, get creative and break a few composition rules. Think outside the box, and shoot some candid or non-conventional photography after the safer, traditional photos are done.

Alternative Beach Family PoseCreative Beach Portrait

It's bonus time! This is how you grow as a photographer. This is how you expand your creativity and have some fun. Shooting a couple of unique poses will keep your clients happy too.


more resources reflating to  family portrait tips


Photography Portrait Tips. In addition to these 5 family portrait tips, here is another photography article on portrait tips.

This one, giving tips on posing an individual's portrait, has photo examples to make each point.

These 5 family portrait tips that are just general but are very valuable to start with. You can refine your posing and lighting technique as you progress and improve.

Here are specific photography poses for family portraits with 3 people in them and links to group photos with 4,5 or 6 people in them.




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Bruce