where to get ideas for creative family portraits

Creative maternity portraitCreative Family Maternity Portrait

Need some ideas for Creative Family Portraits? We've all been there. It's a familiar situation for photographers at all levels. It can be frustrating to run out of ideas for making a creative family portrait

Good News! There are a couple of ways to generate ideas in your mind that I'm going to share with you. Of course you've got a nice camera, you've got a family portrait to take, but you need creative ideas to pull of a unique photograph.

Try these 5 creative tips for posing families on a regular basis and it's pretty surprising how many directions your thoughts can go.

1. find creative poses on the internet

Family on the beachStanding Pyramid Pose

Duh!  That's what you are already doing now isn't it.  That's likely how you found this page.  You can use be more specific and use Google Images invest your time searching for specific family portrait ideas and the results will lead you to many variations of posing ideas that you can choose from.

In addition to just using Google to search for high-ranking web content relating to creative family portraits, YouTube, Flickr, and Pinterest are great resources too.  Pinterest, is the single best source for getting ideas for creative family portraits.

2. visit a creative art or portrait studio

Visit your local portrait studio and look at the group photos displayed in their display window or on their walls. Many studios might only have those stiff, traditional formal photographs. Look for anything unique that stands out from the rest.

Most likely their best shots are also displayed on their website.

art galleryVisit an art gallery for inspiration

Seeing  displays in person, of a well-designed, well thought out family portrait that was professionally printed and framed, can be quite inspiring. Ask yourself two questions: What do I like about it? What would I do differently?

Another variation of this thought is to visit a local art gallery or art display at your local shopping mall. You can get good ideas by looking at non-portrait pieces of artwork.  If you focus your thoughts on finding something new, you'll be amazed at what you can find. 


This is a very creative portrait of a young family. You could do this silhouette pose at sunset or with a variety of backgrounds that have strong back lighting. Your search may yield some bad posing and some poor lighting technique.

Silhouette family portraitCreative silhouette family portraits
By Sammie Camenzind

 You still may get some creative inspiration based on what comes up. Remember what your looking for and try not to get distracted by clicking on links that are unrelated to creative family portraits.


Creative family pose with baby

Consider trying a family pose that shows the special relationship between parents and their children. Simple backgrounds may not be as exciting as a spectacular sunset, but your portrait may become more centered on the bond between family members and not the background.


Theme-based family portraits were very popular a few decades ago. Now they may become popular again and be a good option to try. Write up a list of potential themes you can follow with your family portrait.

Use this with families that have a willingness to get creative with something different.

My wife and I did this with our kids when they were young. We used a soccer theme.

Theme based portraitTheme based portrait

She and I dressed as soccer coaches. Our three children dressed in their soccer team uniforms.

Consider whether you are willing to buy or borrow clothing to create a theme. Ask yourself if you have any interesting clothing of a special color or style that you can use? Think of all the Halloween costumes you've seen. Are there any that would be appropriate for what you are trying to achieve?

6. try a Family portrait with depth

You can get really creative with your family portraits by intentionally separating parts of the family distance wise from the camera. It's often done by separating the children form the parents.

Separated family portraitAdd "depth" to your portrait by separating subjects

In the case of this family portrait, their 2 year old son was exercising his independence and exploring the sand on the beach while mom and dad posed for a maternity portrait. A long focal length and a large aperture were used to intentionally have the young boy appear in soft focus.

7. Use props to visually connect the family

You can get creative in many ways when you introduce a unifying prop into the pose of a family. In this portrait we had each of the family members use black and white umbrellas. Having a common prop for each person in the photo connects them visually, even though they were spaced out in the composition.

After the storm family portrait"After The Storm"
Using the umbrellas as a prop to visually tie everyone together.

8. tie the family together

There are several variations of the pose below. Depending on the age of the kids and the time of year, you can modify this pose to a version that fits your tastes.

Christmas lights family portraitTie the family together with Christmas lights

9. Pose your family in uniform

Creative family portraits can involve the part of the family that shares a common job, activity, or sport. In the case below, this father and his two sons serve their community as fire fighters.

Portrait of 3 firemenA father and two sons in uniform during the Covid-19 pandemic

Closing Thoughts on creative family portraits

We've all been stuck on coming up with a clever idea for that next family portrait. Fortunately, there are many sources to look at for generating a new creative pose. I hope you found at least some of the inspiration you were looking for in this post.

You can explore similar articles by reading one of the posts listed below my signature or use the search box below to look for any photography topic on this website.

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Article published by Bruce Lovelace


Bruce is the publisher of this website. He is the author of the book "Improve Your Photography Instantly."  Read more on Bruce on his Bio Page. He's been known as The Traveling Photographer ever since 1994. Read more about this website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram.   Visit the Facebook Page. Watch him on YouTube.  Bruce runs photo workshops for kids and adults, and provides one-on-one photography coaching.

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