outdoor family portraits

Pose for 2 young children and parents.Outdoor Family Pose of Four

The first thing you should do when planning to shoot outdoor family portraits is to find out who is going to be included in the photography. How you're going to construct family portrait poses is determined by the number of people, the relative sizes of everyone and their relationships to each other.

This post will give you the tips and techniques that will enable you to take professionally pose portraits without being a shooting pro.

Outdoor family portrait of cousinsNine Cousins in outdoor portrait

Outdoor family photography has been my favorite kind of portrait photography for many years. This photo is of a group of 9 cousins, ranging in ages from infant to toddler to preschool and young adult.

TIP #1 with larger groups like this pose, arrange the subjects so that their heads are fairly equally spaced, both vertically and horizontally.

Posing your subjects at different heights within your composition is sometimes easier when you have several different ages represented in your photograph. You can also use support objects like the assortment of posing barrels in the photo above to help you adjust subjects to varying heights.

 lighting and Clothing for outdoor family portraits

Secondly, once you know the size of the group, look for the best location for lighting and background. Open shade where it's bright but not in any direct light from the sun is best.

Always, always make an effort to coordinate clothing in your portrait.

In the photo below, the fall foliage was not brilliant. The subtle variations in the colors of the background were quite pleasing and did not compete with the brown colored clothing.

The pose would have been much better if the youngest girl on the right had worn a solid color instead of stripes.

Outdoor Family Portraits - CousinsOutdoor portrait of 4 children

For this photograph I had the too taller cousins, who are sisters sit on posing stools in the middle. Then I place one cousin on each side to get a pleasing composition and good color balance. If you look at the shape of an imaginary line connecting their heads, it is an arch shape.

Another thing to look at when determining how to pose family portraits is what everyone is wearing. Sometimes it's fitting to have some people standing and others sitting.

Formal clothing often dictates more formal posing and casual clothing will be often be posed in a more natural relaxed manner. If everyone is not dressed exactly the same you must pay attention to colors and patterns to get a good balance of color throughout your pose.

Outdoor Family Portrait of Large GroupOutdoor pose for kids and adults

The family portrait pose above is actually the second arrangement I did during this portrait session. The two adults that are sitting are actually brother and sister. I surrounded each of them with their spouse and their children.

It's usually best to pose small people in front of bigger people. This helps minimalize the differences in sizes.

This photograph is a surprise Christmas gift for the grandmother. Can you think of any gift so precious as a photograph of her children and grandchildren?

Taking outdoor family portraits can be a challenging task because of the many variables involved. Weather, lighting and background choice all have a big effect on the final quality of your family 

Outdoor Family Portrait of Adults OnlyPose of 6 adults for outdoor or inside portraits

This outdoor family portrait pose was of 3 adult siblings and their spouses. I used adjustable posing stools for the ladies in the front row. This gives us variety in the height of my subjects' heads. Place the tallest subject in or near the center.

Usually, the ladies prefer to be pose so that their "bottoms" are not prevalent in the pose.

The weather, the location, the lighting and the choice of clothing all came together to help create this beautiful family portrait.

For the professional photographer, it's rewarding to avoid using phony painted scenery or boring painted backgrounds. Enjoy experimenting with natural family portrait poses and take advantage of the articles on this topic and other tips on taking digital photography.

Perfect posing for outdoor

It's rare that I construct the"perfect" pose when shooting family portraits. I almost always critique my own poses and find something I'd change if I were to shoot the family portrait again. In the outdoor portrait below, I really wouldn't change a thing.

Outdoor Family Portrait Photography by The Traveling PhotographerGood outdoor family pose for 4 adults

The spacing and elevation of everybody's head, the arm and leg positions, and the overlapping body positions were spot on. The sun was blasting on the back wall of a condominium to the left and in front of my subjects.

I positioned the family in front of the dark vegetation and used to small stools for the ladies to sit on. This was one of my most successful outdoor family portraits of the year.

Related Articles to Outdoor Family Posing

Family Portrait Ideas. One of the most popular pages being read on the Digital Photography Tips website is this article on Family Portrait Ideas. You can see some family portrait samples and get some creative ideas for family group photos from the readers of Digital Photography Tips as well.

Family Portrait Photography. What skills and qualities does a family portrait photographer need to have to take great portraits? Are you looking to improve your family portrait photography skills and take your own or make money creating portraits for other people? Happy Shooting!

Camera Settings for Outdoor Portraits. Aperture choice controls the depth of field and exposure, but what about shutter speed? This post goes in depth into what shutter speed is best for outdoor portraits.

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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