Skip to main content

Family Posing Guidelines

Lesson 11 from: Posing 101: Couples, Weddings and Families

Lindsay Adler

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

11. Family Posing Guidelines

Lesson Info

Family Posing Guidelines

So what we're going to do this morning, and I guess you guys already got introduced, is we're going to photograph these beautiful little girls. Hi guys. (audience giggles) I got to see photos of them yesterday watching, so they got to watch CreativeLive and see what it's all about. So I have to say this, okay? I haven't photographed a kid in forever, so you will be able to see if all my posing ideas work, and I would say this is more of a posing class than a wrangling class, so if you wanna know how to get great expressions outta kids and how to really get a lot of intense candid shots, definitely go see Tamara Lackey's class. That is what that class is all about. It is all about photographing children. So what I'm going to do is more about family poses and kids poses, so if you really wanna know okay, how do I interact with children, or what can I do for something a little bit different, check out her class. She's great and crazy and whacky and awesome. So what I'm going to do right n...

ow is I'm going to start with family posing essentials. I'm going to give you my top five, and that applies to any family group, whether it's a mom, a dad, and a child, or two children or three children or four, building up. And then I'm going to talk about okay, posing with mom and dad together, with the two of them together, and then with just mom and then just dad, the differences that would actually apply. So my family posing guidelines, see if we get the keynote up there. Number one, okay. The biggest problem I see when people are posing families is they tell them everybody just go stand out there, and actually who was saying that, that that was a problem? They have you say just go stand out there, and then you're trying to work everybody in, and then what you see is you're actually kinda influenced, because people stand in a natural way, which doesn't mean it's good, but then it's too much effort to change everything. So what I recommend you do is pick one parent and you build the scene. And so I will perhaps pick maybe the mother first, so that I can pose her and flatter her, and then build everyone around. So just like I do with groups. I don't just say go sit out there and then tweak. So this is something that is huge. I was looking at inspiration in Pinterest a while ago for family portrait poses, and a huge thing I saw is that the parents get forgotten, and they're slouching and the mom looks wide because she's laying on her side with her hands this side. And another really big one is when they have mom sitting there with a kid on each leg, so she's literally like this, as wide as possible straight on towards camera, and it's not flattering, so what I'll do is I'll kinda try to build with parents first, so that I know they look good, and then fit kids in appropriately. And of course you can tweak if someone needs to be held onto more, so don't forget the parents. Plus, they're the ones spending the money, so if mom doesn't look good. The kids always look cute. If you can get them to pay attention, to really look at the camera, they're still going to look cute, pretty much any pose is okay, but parents, they'll be aware of their poses. And number three, just kinda like with couples, is find ways if you can to turn heads and body languages towards each other. A common pose that I will see for family portraits is where everybody's kinda sitting back to back, legs out, perfectly symmetrical. The same thing with groups is when it's not perfectly symmetrical, then you notice, so I don't aim for symmetry. Maybe balance, so not everybody's grouped on one side, and one on the other. Also, again, I try to have them facing towards each other instead of everybody away and legs out. You could do that maybe with maybe teens, but not with little kids. As soon as body language, anything is away, it's not a united family photo. Doesn't make it horrible, but it's better if body language is together. Number four, what I recommend is either you pose mom first so you can flatter her, or honestly if there's one parent that the kids clearly listen to more, pose that parent first and then build around them. And so I would add the youngest child first, because it's going to be most important for them to be sitting on dad's lap, or right in front of dad, or in dad's arms, or whatever it may be. So as I build, I build that way. An anchor parents, I can add another parent if the kids are older and then they can wait. If not, I do anchor parent, youngest kid, build someone else in, so that probably would be my suggestion. Build just like with in groups. And then number five is avoid lining up heads, side to side or up and down. I know I've seen where people try to do really cute and stack heads, but the problem is it doesn't work nine times out of 10, or 99 out of 100. What happens when you stack people vertically is somebody's slouching. Somebody's on the bottom. Somebody's uncomfortable. When you pose side to side, it's boring again and it's just kind of lined up. So those would be my general five family posing guidelines. So what we're going to do is we are going to pose, who wants to pose first? Do you guys care? Let me grab my, okay. Oh, everybody wants to pose, okay. (audience laughs) This is good! Excellent. Mom, can I borrow you for a sec? All right, and what I'm gonna have you do, so same thing as the way I would pose mom. Oh, she's ready, she's ready. (audience laughs) Oh, I love it. That's okay. No, come to mom. (laughs) Would you just take a seat on the floor? Yeah. (child whines) Okay, and what I'm gonna have you do, notice I told her to take a seat on the floor, she sits kind of cross-legged, so I'm gonna just have you sit with your hips to the side and your legs out this way. Okay, good. You can call her over whenever you would like, if she wants to. Come here, sweetie. She's like no, I'm done now. (audience laughs) (child whines) So I don't actually need everybody right now. I can kinda build and wait until she's calm. Okay, so can I have Phoebe, please? Hi. Okay, excellent. All right, so, (audience laughs) Well no, I mean, that's exactly it. So what I usually do is take whoever's youngest. Once I get mom posed and flattered well, not straight on towards camera, kind of leaning out to the side, I'll take whoever's youngest and pose maybe on her knee. Okay, so that would be fine. Would you like to come model for me? Okay, so I am looking for lining up heads again, but not straight, I want triangles. So will you sit next to mom on the ground? Okay, so this is what I'm gonna look for. I'm like okay, I got them sitting there. What can I do to tweak to make triangles? Can I have you scoot really, really, really close? Perfect. So right now, everything's a little bunched but it doesn't matter 'cause I would get a close headshot, so no problem. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna have you grab my light. How you guys doing? Good. Yeah, are you happy to be models? Yeah? Do you already feel like models? I've seen Russ take a million pictures of you guys. A million. You're like famous to me already. (audience laughs) Let me see this. Is it on all right? And the modeling light is not on. We'll give it a try here. Okay, I'm gonna grab my camera. Okay, perfect, and can you sit up real straight? Yeah perfect, and everybody lean in towards mom. Good, just like that and let's see. (shutter clicks) All right, I'm gonna have you put your legs down. Uncross them, perfect, and sit up really, really, really tall. Really, really, really tall. Perfect, okay. And now I'm gonna have you scooch your heads in again, one more time. (shutter clicks) And mom, can you grab her hair just a little bit out of her face? Both of them actually. (audience laughs) They have gorgeous, gorgeous hair and I love it. Okay good, perfect. All right, perfect. Ready, one, two, three. (shutter clicks twice) Okay, so all nice and cute for a close shot, but it would not be something that I could pose the length for. So what I'm gonna you do, do you see each other? Aren't you cute? Okay, ready? What I'm gonna have you do, I'm gonna have you sit like this towards mommy. Just like that, perfect. Okay, and what I'm gonna have you do is I'm gonna have you stand behind. Do you care? Can you stand behind mommy? Okay, and I'm gonna have, aw. Aw, sweet girl. And can you put your head right there? Okay, cool. Right there, perfect. And then get back down and hug mommy again. Wanna get back down? Wanna hug mom again? A little taller, a little taller. Good, and will you scoot that way just a little? Perfect. That's cute. (camera beeps) No flash, let me try that again. (shutter clicks) There we go, perfect. Okay, so here you go. Would you put your hand on mom's leg? What? Would you put your hand on your mommy's leg? Good, one more, one more. Ready? One, two, three. (shutter clicks) And stand up real tall. Oh, that's pretty good. (all laughing) (shutter clicks) That's really good. (shutter clicks) Okay, now ready? This is what you're gonna do, ready? You're gonna do this, like jumping jacks. Ready? Just like this. And now come closer to mommy. Yeah, right there. Perfect! Okay, ready one, two, three. (shutter clicks) Good. Can you sit up a little taller? Right there, perfect. And jumping jack legs, jumping jack legs. Good, perfect. (shutter clicks) Okay, so I would just kinda tweak with that. I was waiting for dad. How's dad doin'? We'll see if he's doin' okay. We had some tears. Phoebe and Zoey, everyone thinks you're adorable. You guys are the best. You're on the internet. (audience claps) Yay! All right.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Bridal Couples
Bridal Parties
Couples - Different Height

Ratings and Reviews


All of Lindsay's courses are great. I enjoyed this course. Lindsay is very informative and an entertaining to watch teach. Lindsay's presentations are always well prepared and she gives it her all. Great job Lindsay.

Santosh Mareddy

Lindsay Adler's Posing That little Queens looks Like Awesome,... Loved it


Lindsay Adler is a Creative Live treasure! Her teaching style is consistent, relaxed, easy to listen to, and to the point. Several times now I've intently watched her various classes "live" only to later purchase the class so I can review it again and again...I've never been disappointed. Thank You Lindsay!

Student Work