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Easy & Natural Prompts for Your Next Family Session

I may have found my way in couples photography, but I got my start shooting a lot of families.

Family photography may just be one of the most reliable niches in photography. Think about it, how often do families you know book annual family photos? Or your wedding couples come back years later for you to document them with their little ones? These are the photos we hang on our walls and pass down for generations.

I’ve always known family photos are important, but since having kids I see the value even more! 

And although you can almost always count on booking a family session as a photographer, they can be tricky to prepare for. You never know what the dynamic will be, if the kids will listen or if you’ll be able to direct everyone in a way that feels natural.

Being able to pose your clients in a way that feels free flowing and authentic rather than stiff and forced is an art that comes with lots of practice. Today, I want to share some of the poses I often used when posing families and a brief explanation of why I love using them in hopes they give you some inspiration when posing your families this summer!

 My recommendation, start simple. Let everyone get used to the idea of a camera being in their face, while you get a feel for the dynamic and energy of the group. 

“Give side hugs! Everyone face me and put your arms around each other!”

I know we’re starting off with a pretty basic pose, but trust me even the most basic poses look better with some strategic direction. Saying “side hug” keeps this one more casual than having everyone in a straight line facing the camera. Although it’s basic, this will be the photo that’s often displayed after the session is all said and done. You can always transition this prompt and tell them "while side hugging... sway back and forth", "bump hips", "tickle the person next to you", or "walk towards me".

“Parents throw the kids in the air” or "Give your kids a bumpy piggy back ride."

Obviously this prompt would only work for littles unless there’s some strong parents that really want to throw their 17 year olds around, lol. But this one is fun not only because you’ll get a shot of the kids in the air, but you’ll also get the moments in between of a lot of laughter and movement.

“Parents stand in the middle, kids circle up and do ring around the rosy around your parents!”

By mid to late session kids are always looking to get out some energy after standing for all of the “normal” photos, so it's always helpful to add some fun ones with action and movement throughout. Ring around the rosy is usually a familiar “game” and one that they’ll have fun with.

“Time for a scavenger hunt, go find flowers and bring them back to me!”

I love giving kids fun directives during family sessions to mix it up and give them a break without them really knowing I’m shooting. It’s fun to capture them interacting together. Plus, they’re usually always excited and smiley when they find whatever you send them off looking for!

“Everyone lay on your backs and snuggle together”

One thing to always keep in mind no matter what session your shooting is having variety of positions. Usually it’s best to have variety of posing styles so your clients feel they're getting a full gallery of unique shots (sitting, standing, laying, etc). This prompt is a fun way to start photos sitting or laying and capture from a new angle. Sometimes giving specific prompts are really helpful so no one is left confused and wondering what to do with their hands, but vague ones like this are great for more organic photos that let them ease into a position naturally, letting you capture their dynamic how it would naturally unfold, rather than a stiff posed photo.

There you have it, easy and natural prompts for your next family session! If you liked these, then you should definitely check out the latest product in my shop, The Posing Deck: Family Edition

For just $19 you get an entire deck of prompts for family sessions divided into three categories: Dynamic, Classic and Family Fun. Shop The Posing Deck: Family Edition, Portrait Edition, Couples Edition and Wedding Edition on my site and bundle to save!

Wishing you the best as you capture moments that families will cherish for years to come!

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