8 Simple Prompts for Natural Family Poses

Natural family poses very rarely happen … well, naturally! The thought of posing for a photo is intimidating for many people, and even more so when parents have to not only consider themselves, but also their kids.

As a photographer, you may worry that this translates into stiff, unnatural poses and fake smiles. We have polled some of our amazing students from the Family Retreat, and they have helped us come up with 8 super simple prompts that easy to remember, but will result in natural family poses and expressions every time!

1. “Tickle the kids!”

Rebecca Lueck (Becca Jean Photography):
“They were cuddled up and looking at daisies, but the little boy was starting to make goofy faces so I told mom to tickle them. Fixed those funny faces right up!!”

tickles create natural family poses
Becca Jean Photography
kids tickled by parents
Aspen Dawn Photo

2. “Give them a kiss!”

Carrie Pfister (Carrie Lynn Photography) shares:
“I just told mom and dad to look at the kids and asked big brother to give little brother a kiss on the side of the head. I didn’t quite get the kiss, but loved this moment nonetheless.”

brother giving sibling kiss during family session
Carrie Lynn Photography
baby being kissed by two siblings
Laura Yost Photography

3. “Group hug!”

A good old group hug will always elicit smiles and giggles, and a twinkle in everyone’s eyes! It doesn’t need any skill other than parents loving on their kids – probably the easiest of all the natural family poses.

family group hug
Shannon McTighe Photography
dad embracing mom and baby
Paige Casazza

4. “Look at someone!”

“‘Look at anybody but me!’ And they did it perfectly!”, said Diane Welter (Diane Welter Images).

natural family posing
Diane Welter Images
Carissa Anthony Photography

5. “Smell her ear!”

This may seem like a weird one, but it works beautifully to create an intimate moment between 2 people. It could be a parent and child, two siblings, or even the parents. You can direct them to just rest their nose against their loved one, but giving that extra direction to actually smell will put a natural smile on everyone’s face!

mom cuddling up with baby
Paige Casazza

6. “Whisper a secret!”

Melissa Bernard (Melissa Bernard Photography) got this great expression by prompting “”Whisper in Millie’s ear what you love the most about her”.

mom whispering in girl's ear
Melissa Bernard Photography

7. “Tip the teapot!”

All it took for these giggles and playful expressions was for Cathy (Cathy Marie Photography) to shout: “I’m a little teapot… tip me over!”

parents tipping kids over
Cathy Marie Photography
playful and natural family posing
Olesya Photography

8. “I’m just checking my settings!”

Sometimes the best prompt is no prompt at all!

Cindy Rawlings (Captured Moments by Cindy) has discovered this little gem:
“I asked them to huddle up in the spot I wanted them in while I got my settings right. (I use this prompt a lot to snap natural shots where everyone is relaxed.) They naturally squatted down and grabbed the littles, I zoomed in on their hands and started capturing.”

family hands together
Captured Moments by Cindy

As you can see, there is no need to memorize a bunch of complex posing prompts. Keeping it simple can create an experience for your clients that will result in those natural, authentic expressions that will delight them when they see their photos.

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