As a lifestyle photographer, “posing” is not exactly what it sounds like when it comes to families with small kids. Though I do prioritize trying to get at least one shot of the whole crew looking straight into the camera with pristine smiles, the majority of the time I am focused on capturing family members connecting as they would if I were not there (tickling, snuggles, exploring, singing). In order to prompt natural connection, I often go through a series of "play/connect" poses, especially when I’ve got toddlers or early elementary schoolers in front of me. One of the best parts of family photography for me is also getting creative and making small suggestions to what is spontaneously happening in front of me. Prompted poses not only help kids stay engaged, but they allow the whole family to have fun and stay relaxed throughout the session. Plus, parents are usually grateful for the energy expended as it makes longer car rides home much calmer!
What most people who go through trending candid family shots on social media do not know is that even the most spontaneous moments are due to clear and concise directions from the photographer! Here are just a snapshot of a few of my favorites from recent fall sessions:
“Sneak Up:” I tell a parent(s) to sneak up and surprise their kids with tickles or a tight hug or tell kids to sneak up on their parents! This one never gets old.
“Sky Gaze:” everyone lies down on my prop blanket for some snuggles.
“Toss up:” basic one – dad or mom throws a child up in the air while others watch!
“Parachute:” this one has several names, but kids LOVE it when parents hold the prop blanket and try to catch them with it as they run under.
"Super Hero:” one or both parents try to swing their kiddo towards the camera, either with locked hands (for a larger child) or holding them (best for toddlers/babies)
“Tickle time:” I will ask for this every few minutes (unless a kid clearly expresses no tickles). In any pose, it’s a sure fire way to get everyone to laugh “Group hug:” everyone wraps their arms around each other; cheek to cheek!