I can’t count the number of family photos I’ve taken. As my family is quite big, large family photo poses come in handy when I’m taking annual family photos. You have to squeeze everyone onto the picture, make sure everyone can be seen, and on top of that, you want your family to look nice. No weird poses, no blinking or sad faces. Can be quite challenging, right?
But no worries, I got you! I’ll tell you the poses and tricks I’ve learned in the past years and will give you exact instructions to get the most out of your family photos – even when your family is large! So, let’s dive right into it.
Classic Poses and Ideas
We’ll start off with the most classic poses. These always work great, and if you’re just looking for some quick poses, those are what you want.
I’ll cover three popular methods:
- Triangle Formation
- Hug and Smile
- Sitting Formation
If you need general tips to avoid awkward photo poses, we have an article about that as well!
To achieve the Triangle Formation, people have to pose standing or sitting, or a combination of both, in a way that their heads form imaginary triangles when connected with lines. This method is not only visually appealing but also helps to balance the photo’s composition. In classical portrait photography, we call this concept Leading Lines. Have a look at our Guide for portrait composition if you want to find out more!
Hug and Smile
The Hug and Smile pose is a simple yet effective way to capture the warmth and love of a large family. Have everyone in the group hug each other or put their arms around the person next to them and then smile at the camera. This pose creates a sense of connection and unity among family members, making for a memorable and endearing photograph. You can even experiment with it, form a big circle, and have a shot from above! That also always works great.
A Sitting Formation can be a great choice for a relaxed and casual family photograph. Arrange the family members on different levels, such as on chairs, stairs, or even on the ground, to create a sense of depth and dimension. For a more intimate setting, consider having the group gather around a picnic blanket or in a living room. Mixing standing and sitting positions can also make the family photo more dynamic and interesting.
Modern Poses and Ideas
Now, let’s talk about more fun and experimental poses! As a passionate photographer, the same old classical photos become boring quite fast…
Be sure – photographers always strive for the next best photo, the next best pose. And now I’ll present the best of those to you!
One crucial aspect of taking a large family photo is arranging the group in an appealing and balanced manner. Here are some formations that I’ve found to work well:
V-shape: Position the tallest family members at the center and arrange the others symmetrically on either side of them in descending height order. This formation adds depth and helps capture every face in the picture.
- Dynamic Spiral: Arrange the family in a dynamic spiral formation for a visually interesting and lively composition. Start with the central figures, such as grandparents or parents, and have the rest of the family radiate outward in a spiral pattern.
- Mirrored Symmetry: Try positioning your family in a symmetrical formation against a reflective surface, such as a large mirror or a reflective building facade. This creates a visually intriguing composition. Encourage family members to strike unique poses or interactions.
Incorporating height variations can help create visually appealing images, especially when working with a large group. Here are a few height variation ideas:
- Seating arrangement: Use chairs, stools, or benches of varying heights to create an interesting composition.
- Layering: Position family members at different levels, such as sitting on a staircase or on a slope.
- Weight shifts: Encourage taller family members to lean or bend their knees slightly, while shorter ones can tiptoe to balance the height differences.
And – of course – props can’t be missing for a successful photoshoot! Here are my top 5 props to elevate your large family photo poses.
- Blankets: Have family members sit on a cozy blanket or wrap themselves together in it.
- Balloons: Add fun and color with balloons. Hold them, release them—capture the joy!
- Books: Family members can interact with the books, whether reading or sharing stories.
- Umbrellas: Must do if it’s raining! Use them as functional and decorative props, either open or closed.
- Letter signs: Use letter signs to showcase family members’ names, initials, or fun messages.
Identifying Your Family’s Style
Each family is different. We know that. And yours will have its own inside jokes, quirks, and personalities! In this section, I’ll take you through a few aspects to consider when defining your family’s style, such as personality traits, certain specialties, and outfits that suit your family’s theme.
One of the key components of a successful family photoshoot lies in expressing the various personality traits of each family member. Take some time to think about what makes each person unique, and consider how to incorporate these characteristics into the shoot. You can do this by:
- Incorporating hobbies: If someone in your family loves playing the guitar, include it as a prop to show their passion.
- Expressions: Encourage family members to showcase their personalities through facial expressions, like a younger sibling’s mischievous grin or a grandparent’s wise smile.
Every family has its quirks, some shared and some unique to each member. Capitalizing on these peculiarities can produce heartwarming and genuine photos. To do this, consider the following:
- Shared customs: If your family has a unique tradition or inside joke, try incorporating it into your photoshoot. This could be anything from a special handshake to a secret family recipe everyone loves.
- Individual quirks: Each person might have a peculiar habit or talent that adds flavor to the family dynamic. Encourage them to showcase this quality during the shoot, whether it’s a particular stance or an amusing facial expression.
Outfits and Themes
Lastly, the outfits and themes you choose for your family photoshoot can go a long way in defining your family’s style and making the photos stand out. Here are a few ideas:
- Color coordination: This classic approach involves choosing a color scheme for the entire family, ensuring that everyone’s outfits are harmoniously coordinated. This could mean wearing the same color or complementary shades.
- Themed outfits: Selecting a common theme for the family, such as a specific era, can create memorable photos that reflect shared interests. Just imagine your family donning vintage clothing from the 1920s!
- Individual style: Alternatively, you can celebrate the uniqueness of each family member while still maintaining a cohesive look by combining different outfits that still work well together.
If you need further advice, we actually devoted an entire article about finding the perfect outfit for your family photoshoot!
Location and Settings
As a photographer, I understand that choosing the right location and setting for large family photo shoots can be tricky. Not only to get the best photos but also to make the photoshoot a pleasant experience for all family members. Let’s discuss some key points to consider when deciding on the perfect spot for your large family photo session.
Indoor vs Outdoor
The first thing to decide is whether you want to shoot indoors or outdoors. Indoor locations offer more control over lighting and the environment but may require more preparation, such as arranging furniture or background decorations for a cohesive look. We recommend considering areas with consistent lighting and avoiding shadows for best results.
Outdoor locations, on the other hand, often provide a more natural and vibrant setting, making the photos feel more relaxed and authentic. However, you will need to take into consideration factors like weather and crowd presence. It’s essential to choose a place that is comfortable, safe, and easily accessible for all family members. Plus, plan for a backup location in case of unexpected weather changes.
Benefiting from Natural Light
For both indoor and outdoor photoshoots, I believe in utilizing natural light whenever possible. Natural light creates a warm and flattering effect, making your family photos look more vibrant and lively.
When shooting outdoors, the golden hour — the hour just after sunrise or before sunset — provides the most flattering light, as it softens harsh shadows and gives a warm, glowing effect. Overcast days can also work in your favor, as the clouds act as a natural diffuser, creating even and soft light.
For indoor sessions, try to choose a location with large windows and open spaces to let in as much natural light as possible. If possible, position your family members near the windows or schedule the session during the time of day when the room receives the most sunlight. Make sure to avoid dark and heavily shaded corners, as they can be unflattering and make it challenging to capture clear, crisp images.
Our Opinion on Large Family Photo Poses
As a photography enthusiast, I believe that large family photo poses can be both creative and fun. I’ve found that incorporating a mix of traditional and candid poses can result in beautiful images that truly capture the unique dynamics of a large family.
In my experience, preparing poses only does this much. The real deal are the members of your family! They should have fun and let their personality shine through. By incorporating a variety of poses and applying some of these tips, you can ensure that your family photos are both memorable and unique.
Anyhow, I hope these tips helped you get inspiration for your next large family photoshoot. If you need further help, we’re sure these articles will help you out as well:
Also, have a look at our Pinterest to stay up-to-date with the latest photography trends!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some creative indoor poses for large family photos?
Indoor photo sessions can be fun and full of creative opportunities. I recommend using your home’s unique features, such as staircases, windows, or cozy living areas. You can arrange family members on different stair levels or have everyone sit around a large window to capture beautiful natural light to create memorable poses.
How can we include grandparents in family photo poses?
Grandparents often hold a central role in families, so it’s essential to include them in your family photos. You can have grandparents hold hands with their grandchildren or embrace their adult children. In large family photoshoots, consider having grandparents seated with children or grandchildren around them to emphasize their importance and evoke a sense of familial warmth and love.
What are some ideal poses for a family of 6?
For a family of six, there are numerous pose options that effectively showcase your family’s bond. One idea is to have parents in the center, hugging or holding each other, with children standing or kneeling around them. Alternatively, you can arrange family members in a staggered line to create an engaging and dynamic composition. Remember, diverse poses can help to highlight each family member’s personality while still giving a sense of unity.
What color schemes work best for large family photos?
Color schemes can greatly impact the look and feel of your family photos. Earth tones, pastels, and neutral colors usually work well for large family photos. Consider your home’s interior design or the photo location to help pick a color scheme that complements the environment. Finally, feel free to consult with your photographer for expert advice on color coordination.