posing families of 3, 4, 5, and more
Guide for BEGINNER portrait photographers

Posing families just right can be challenging when you're starting out. You want people to look their best, but you're not sure what to do with different sized family posing. This guide will help.

Posing depends on the number and sizes of the various subjects in the pose as well as the environment in which you're shooting. You can copy these various poses (not the photos) and use them for your own photography.

Beach pose-family of 3Perfect pose in this environment for a family of 3 with a toddler.

The beach pose works great for families with young children. Shooting right at sunset will give you enough light (along with a high ISO setting) to shoot at a fast shutter speed to make sure this story-telling pose comes out sharp without any blur from motion.

Posing families is a skill that can take many years to master, but a few simple techniques can make a big difference in the quality of your family portrait poses. 

This guide will get you off to a great start with your family posing.

In this pose of 3 people I directed the mom and dad to lean in to show the affection that this young family has for each other.

Forming a triangle shape with their heads is a great way to pose 3 people.

posing young families of 3

Family of 3 pose exampleSimple pose for 2 adults and a baby

4 GENERATION pose - 3 adults and 1 child

family pose of 4 peoplePose for a 4-generation family

This 4 generation portrait need a pose that would handle 3 adults and one small child. 

You can adjust the seating so that the level of their heads goes down, up, down, up, as your eye travels from left to right.

TIP: Angle each individual toward the center of the photo.

how to pose a family of 5

Posing families of 5 people where there are 2 adults and 3 young children can be done in several ways.

Once again, posing the family so that their heads are nice and close gives you a real nice intimate pose for a family.

posing family of 5Pose for 2 adults and 4 young children

family pose for 6 people

Pyramid Pose
Posing for a family of 6

When you have 6 people in the family, you can always make a pyramid pose.

Looking at head heights, place 3 people in the bottom row, two people in the middle row, and have one person in the third row.

Alternatively, for an even number of people-see the pose of 4 people above-you can use the up, down, up, down pose.

posing families of 9 people

Outdoor family portraits, like the one below can present special challenges in terms of lighting and finding a location.  The more you practice, the more experience you get in similar situations.

Similar to how you would pose a sports team with 9 players, arrange the shot with 4 people in the back row and 5 people in the front row.

Family pose of 9 peoplePose for a family of 9

In this family portrait pose above, my client wanted to have the photograph be appropriate to enjoy all year long as well as a bit festive for the upcoming Christmas holiday.

She chose red shirts and jeans as a good choice for the portrait clothing. I chose this location in her back yard because of the tall ornamental grasses and more distant evergreen trees as a good background for this family portrait.

I designed the pose to be low to the ground so the grass would show as the background. The ground was a little damp, so my subjects that were down on the ground were sitting on plastic bags, that were tucked underneath and out of site.

It was a cloudy day so the photo lighting was a little too flat from overhead, so I added some fill light by placing a very large white reflector in front of my subjects, just below the camera's view.

How To Pose 7 People

The more people that are in the pose, then the more possibilities of how you can pose the people included. One simple way to arrange your subjects is to have  4 people standing behind 3 people sitting and kneeling.

Pose of 7 adultsOne way how to pose 7 adults in a pose.

In the pose above I arranged the 4 standing adults so that their height formed a gentle arch upwards. Then I positioned the 3 in the front to from an arch downward. Essentially, all together they form an oval shape. This gives the eye a convenient way to travel around the composition.

Large family posing indoors

Posing Families exampleA few adjustments make any pose better

I really enjoy posing families outdoors when I can, but it was too windy on the day this family got together for their family portrait.

In this pose I kept the individual families grouped together within the entire group photograph. Sometimes it is difficult to remove artwork or other objects that are mounted on the wall, so it is desirable to retouch the photos after the photography session is done.

Look at the two side by side photos carefully. Can you tell what three photo retouching techniques I used to improve this family portrait?

  1. I removed the two wooden wall hangings by using the "clone" tool in Adobe Photoshop.
  2. I cropped in closer to have my subjects take up more of the photograph and eliminated a few distracting elements form the edges of the image.
  3. I darkened the bottom and surrounding edges to center our focus more on our subjects and less on the home environment of the family portrait pose.

Sometimes when doing group photography, you have to adjust the pose because of clothing choices made by your subjects. If the color of one of your subject's clothing stands out a bit, it preferable to place them somewhere near the middle of your portrait.

I hope this post inspired you with some ideas for family posing. See the links below my signature for related articles or use the search box below to find 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.

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