Sitting Poses for Family Sessions
Sitting poses for families are beautiful (and practical!) for so many reasons.
Firstly, it shortens the bodies so that the focus falls on their beautiful faces (which is what they want from a family photo after all!). Many parents who are self-conscious about their bodies will find some security in sitting poses, as they are not body-centered at all, and you can position the kids to be in front of the parents. As much as we assure our clients that they are beautiful just as they are, moms especially are hard on themselves, and it’s our job to make sure we pose them in the most flattering way possible.
Also, for younger, active kids that are on the move all the time, sitting poses will allow them to stay in one spot – plus they are usually held by a parent.
Be sure to provide a blanket or quilt for families to sit on (or let them bring one if they have a piece that is special to them). Not only will it keep them dry and clean, it adds a feeling of homeliness to the family photo.
This is the classic 2-parent, 2-child pose. Begin by asking the parents to sit “side saddle”, with their legs to the side and behind them. You may have to help Dads with this one by showing them! Their hips should be together and their heads as close as possible. Then just add a child to each lap.
Once you get the posed shot with everyone looking at the camera, you can then let them interact for some more candid shots. Ask the kids silly questions like “Who has the stinkiest feet – Mom or Dad?” to get genuine giggles. Take turns for “Everyone look at Mom. Now everyone look at Dad”. Lastly, give the signal for the parents to tickle the kids, and capture the joyous chaos that ensues!
So many possibilities with just this one pose!
This is a variation of the classic family pose that works well for families with 3 (or any odd number) children. The 2 parents are still posed the same as in the classic pose, with a child each on their lap, but one child is standing between them.
Make sure that the standing child isn’t too tall – no more than one head taller than the parents. This will allow you to still adhere to the posing triangle principle of making triangular shapes between the heads of the people in the photo.
Because the parents are now not connected to one another in this pose, it is important to ensure that the standing child provides the connection points by touching both parents.
What if there is only one child? Tummy-to-tummy sitting poses where the child is squished between the parents creates a huge amount of connection.
I usually have only one parent and the child pose like this for some special one-on-one images, then simply add the other parent to make it a family portrait.
They can simply turn their heads to the camera for a more posed look, then carry on interacting face to face for some darling candid images.
For families with slightly older children, who may block out the parents when sitting on their laps, having them stand behind the parents works well. This pose can work with one, or more than one child, and can be combined with a smaller child sitting on a parent’s lap in front.
With 2 children, I like to assign a child to each parent. I will usually ask “Who wants to sit with Daddy/Mommy?”, and there is bound to be one child with a preference for each parent.
Then it’s simply a matter of keeping them on the same blanket, but only interacting with that one child – play, jokes, tickles, flying – whatever engages them with that child.
It creates a focus on an individual relationship between parent and child, but since they’re still in the same frame, maintains the cohesiveness of the family unit.
Don’t be afraid to use some props in your family sitting poses. Remember that the session is about telling the story of them as a family, and if that means draping their grandmother’s heirloom knit blanket around their shoulders and cuddling in close, do it!
Sitting poses are also perfect to add that special someone extra … maybe a beloved stuffed animal or blankie, or even a family pet! It all starts with just knowing a simple family sitting pose!
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