How to pose large families

I love photographing large families! It is really amazing to see how the whole family can come together and spend some time getting their portraits taken.

It can also seem like a real challenge posing big families. But I have the best trick for you that you can apply to any family or group posing, not just large families. I use this all the time and don’t eve realize I do it anymore.

It’s called…

Triangle posing

Okay, so what the heck is triangle posing? It is using the shape of a triangle, either upright or upside down, elongated or short, doesn’t matter, as long as the heads of your clients form a triangle.

This triangle ensures that everyone in the photo can be seen, which is especially important for large families and groups.

It also means that when you’re posing children, you can pose them in front to create both layers and triangles so they’re not hidden or have to be lined up with the rest of the family.

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Creating these layers are great when you do have to line up the group so that there is more interesting depth to the photo, and not just a straight line of people. Which is what bridal party photos tend to look like, ha!

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This simple and easy way to pose large families will make it so the photo has some depth, interesting highs and lows among the people in the portrait.

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Grouping smaller families together

In large families, there tends to be the main people who gave way to such a beautiful and large family! Usually grandpa or grandpa, mama and daddy.

I like to place them in the middle so that they are the focal point and obviously the whole reason for this family to even exist in the first place!

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From there I try and group the individual families together on either side. Spouses and children stick together so that each individual family is together and forms part of the larger family portrait.

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Sometimes, it’s fun to just have everyone mixed in however they want, but try and keep in mind to group each family together for the formal portrait.

Natural posing

You’ll hear me talk a lot about Natural Posing. I’m not sure if this is an actual official term, I’d like to think I made it up! But either way it means just that: natural.

Natural posing can mean allowing your clients to just enjoy their time at the beach, park, or where ever you have chosen the location of your session.

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It can mean giving them a task like holding hands and walking while enjoying the sand between their toes. Or building sand castles together. Or perhaps a cute hug sesh between all members.

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Then, you the photographer, move a little further from the scene to document how it unfolds. Get experimental, get close, choose a different lens, and if you need to, ask your clients to hold the pose or do the same task again until you feel you got the shot.

This type of posing is really good for relaxing nerves, both for you and your clients. Trust me, even after 10 years of photograph people, I still get nervous.

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Natural posing let’s the session feel a little more relaxed and light rather than pose, pose, pose, and more posing. Which let’s be real, can get a little stiff and boring after a while, especially for little ones.

Shoot the individual families too

Even if my client only wanted a large family portrait, I always take a few of the smaller family units so that they too can have their own individual portrait.

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You don’t have to do a full on session for each family, just take a few group shots and then perhaps a couple of the children alone.

This also adds variety for your clients and can help you get some more orders in for individual prints, gift prints, holiday cards, etc. Instead of only giving grandma and grandpa a large portrait only of everyone.

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Plus, who doesn’t love photos of the children as well!

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Ok! That wraps up todays installment of Photographer Friday! A little short but I hope it was helpful and don’t forget to use the triangle post for interesting layering and making sure everyone is in the shot!

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