Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Preserving Memories: Strategies for Successful Family Portraits


Family portraits are an important part of our heritage. They preserve history. They record family growth. They document changing styles (some good, some not-so-good!). More than that, however, portraits seem to call to us and will garner our attention almost immediately when we enter a room. These, among many other reasons, are why family portraits continue to be so popular. It’s also why portraiture is one of the most popular areas of study at photography schools.

While almost all get looked at, only a few spark the phrase, “That’s a good picture!” Why is it that since most photographers go through photography school, only some family portraits gain compliments while others seem ordinary? The posing strategies and selections of photographers play a big role. Photographers tend to get into ruts taking the same styles of portraits over and over. When you feel this happening to you, it’s time to shake things up with new ideas about posing families.

Natural Sittings (and Settings) Are Popular

First and foremost, keep things light. The days of stiff family portraits where everybody is in exactly the same pose are over! Today, more natural-looking poses (even “formal” portraits) are what give that noteworthy appearance.

Let the family members be themselves. Keep your eye behind the lens, always looking for an opportune shot as family members interact with each other. You’ll also want to encourage natural laughter and smiles rather than forced “cheese” smiles.

Creative Family Poses

Get creative! Use your imagination and a host of props or natural settings to capture moments that are truly unique. For young families, consider placing baby in a bassinet with siblings and parents looking at baby, not at the camera. Perhaps toddlers could play at the edges of brooks or streams with mom and dad.

Other memorable (not to mention adorable) shots could include toddlers chasing bubbles or butterflies and toddlers playing with puppies, bunnies or other small (but tame) pets.

For families with older children, head outside! Fabulous portraits can be created with the family standing behind a fence (smaller kids sitting on the fence). Try a portrait of all silhouettes or of the family gathered on the front porch sipping lemonade. Families can even lounge at the edges of ponds or brooks for creative shots.


While there’s a place to use your tripod, it may not be during a family portrait shoot. If you feel your posing is getting stale, toss the tripod and try alternate angles. Shoot from above or to the side or experiment with lighting. If the family isn’t sure of exactly what they want, offer to take a variety of portraits and let them choose the style they like best once they see the results.

When you break down the barriers that squelch your creativity, you free yourself to produce your best work yet. You’ll enjoy the sessions more, and your clients will be thrilled with the results!

Digital Photography Success | Web Article Directory

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Proverbs 29:18

The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
Psalm 24:1-2

He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
Psalm 104:10-13

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number living things both large and small.
Psalm 104:24-25

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.
Ansel Adams

When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!
Ted Grant

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.
Dorothea Lange

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
Ansel Adams

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
Henri Cartier-Bresson

You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
Ansel Adams

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.
Matt Hardy

Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.
Elliott Erwitt

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.
Imogen Cunningham

You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.
William Albert Allard

If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.
Garry Winogrand

I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good.

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.
Ansel Adams

It can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get.
Timothy Allen


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