Psst, want even MORE pose ideas for family portraits? My How to Make Them Smile photography course (coming soon!) has an entire section dedicated to guiding families through fun and natural photo prompts and poses. Sign up for email updates to be one of the first notified when the course officially launches.
Family photo sessions are the bread and butter of Jessi Casara Photography, and I've spent years perfecting the best family photo poses for family portraits. Regardless of how many family members you have or where you're taking photos, these pose ideas for family portraits guarantee laughter and sweet moments shared between moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, and more. Whether you want inspiration for an upcoming family photoshoot or need some pro tips for photographing families, this Family Poses Guide has everything you need for an unforgettable session.
5 Fun Family Photo Poses
The Classic Family Portrait
You can never go wrong with a classic family portrait—just because it's a timeless pose for family portraits doesn't mean it has to be boring! This is the money shot, and even "documentary photographers" need at least one shot with everyone smiling and looking at the camera. My #1 tip for this family photo pose is to have every family member touch in some way. Parents put a hand on a kid's shoulder, couples link arms or hold hands, or gently have a hand on a forearm, etc. Ensure everyone is making contact, and minimize any space in between them. This will help create a cohesive portrait with everyone equally included.
Take a Walk
It's easy for family photos to feel stiff and awkward, so I suggest families take a walk for some natural movement and dimension. I like to mix things up by having family members walk directly toward me and then past my camera at an angle. Shooting a combination of photos with families looking at the camera, looking away, and looking at each other gives family sessions a fun variety of posed and candid pictures. Pro tip: with little kids, you can make this into a game where mommy and daddy swing them in the air - they always love this, and we get some good laughs!
Check out the White Family's Sunset Family Session in Fairhope, Alabama for more inspiration.
Sniff and Snuggle
Ok, this one sounds silly, but it really works! It usually works best sitting, but you can also stand if you have little kids or babies that you can hold. Just get everyone really close together, in laps, etc., and then say something like, "Hey, does mommy's hair smell like strawberries? What about daddy's cheek?" You can also follow up with Eskimo kisses and real kisses! Gets giggles every time! You can use this pose for siblings and parents or get the whole family involved. Just have them pop a squat and snuggle up close—cuteness is guaranteed to ensue!
Hot Seat Hug Time
Hot Seat Hug Time is one of my absolute favorites for family portraits to get everyone laughing naturally. This is when it is important to know everyone's names before your session! Take turns calling out names and having one family member take the "hot seat" (aka stand in the middle) while everyone else surrounds them with hugs and love. This family pose always makes people laugh (even Dad!), and the results are adorable 100% of the time.
Explore more of the Robinson Family's Couple and Family Beach Session in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
Twirl and Toss
The final pose for family portraits I want to highlight in this posing guide is the Twirl and Toss. This is a must-try pose for families with two or more younger kids, as you have one parent twirl a child while the other parent tosses or holds their sibling up in the air. You can also have parents alternate twirling and tossing if you're only photographing one kiddo. This is another one that kids always love, and we get some great laughs!
Don't forget to check out my How to Make Them Smile course for aspiring photographers and small photography business owners for more poses, along with pre and post-session tips and tricks! I hope this helps make your next session as fun and stress-free as possible.
Jessi is a lifestyle documentary photographer based in southern Alabama, serving the Gulf Coast from Mobile, AL to Pensacola, FL, along with the Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta areas. She specializes in couple, wedding, maternity, newborn and family photography, and also enjoys commercial and creative portraiture. Available for travel worldwide. Find out more at www.casaraphoto.com.