Did you just book a large family portrait session?
I’m talking like 7, 8, 15, 20+ family members?
It can be a little intimidating working with so many individuals. And the first question that probably came into your mind was: how am I going to pose all these people? Don’t stress about it! I have you covered! Read though these 9 simple ways to pose large families for portraits.
RELATED PODCAST: Learn more about working with Large Groups on this episode of the Stay Focused Podcast!
1. Have Them Line Up
A super easy and classic pose for families is to just have them line up. This can be done with any number of people and creates a photo that will make certain that no one is hidden behind someone else. By posing this way, it will also allow you to open up your aperture a little more, creating a blurred background.
(shot with 135mm lens @f/3.2 SS/640)
2. Bend Something
Make sure when you have them line up that they are not all standing straight and tall with their hands to their sides. Ask them to bend something or cross something. Bend a knee, cross their arms or ankles, hand in the pocket, etc. This will create a more relaxed look.
(notice how this high school senior “family” has bent different parts of their body, making the portrait more interesting than if they were all standing straight)
3. Put the Kids in Front
Similar to the pose where you line them up, this time create two rows. Any children place in the front row. Pretty easy, right!? Make sure the kids are pushed back near the second row of family members. Once you get some nice, smiling shots of everyone, you might ask the kids to let loose and do something fun or silly while standing in front of the grown-ups. You could have them make a fun face, jump, or tell secrets to each other.
4. Create Rows While Sitting
Another way to pose large families is to create a few rows. With this pose make sure that you have elevation among the rows or else some of the family member will be lost. For example, back row stands, middle row squats, and front row sits. Make sure that you really pay attention to how the legs are bent and hands are placed, especially in that front row.
5. Let Them Have Fun
When shooting a large family, chances are there will be lots of talking and laughing and having fun with each other. So capture that! Get them altogether and let them have fun! Ask one member to tell a joke (try to get a feel of who the jokester in the family might be ahead of time), have them all jump, strike a pose, tickle each other. Then start snapping and capture some fun moments with a large family.
(this fun family decided to strike a pose!)
6. Create a Center of Attention
This is usually best done when the family has a baby or small children in the family (but can be done without small kids too!) Place the smallest child in the center of the family as the main focal point.
Next, ask all other family member to look at that child . This creates a fun more laid back family shot that everyone generally loves because of where the focus falls. You’ll find that you’ll get some pretty sweet, natural expressions from both family members and the center of attention.
No baby in the family? That’s OK! Put the parents front and center, or maybe the grandparents if they are part of the portrait.
(shot with 135mm lens @f/3.5 SS/500)
7. Sit Them on Something
If you have chairs, couches, or stools you’ve brought along, great! You can use those to sit some family members on while having other stand on the sides or back. But what if you don’t have furniture? Look around your environment. Are there steps, ledges, giant rocks, or posts to sit on or lean against. If you see something in your location, use it to pose the family.
(sitting on objects in the environment also creates elevation in the photo)
8. Capture a Candid Moment
Don’t pose them at all. If you are walking to another spot, wrapping up the last pose or just taking a short break.? Hang back and snap a few photos of the family just being them. Sometimes this works and you capture some pretty neat photos and other times it doesn’t. So just give it a try and see what you get!
(shot with 135mm lens @f/3.5 SS/500)
9. Family Groupings
If your large family photo session consists of several smaller families, make sure to watch your groupings. Keep single families together rather than separating individuals based on height, clothing, etc. Then you can line them up, place them in rows or have them sit on something.
Hopefully you feel a little better prepared now for you large family photo session. Just follow these 9 simple ways to pose large families for portraits! Have fun, it will turn out great!
Did this help you find ways to ways to pose large groups for portraits? If it did, I would love know! Come follow me over on Instagram and leave me a DM or just a comment on one of my last photos letting me know you were here!