Six years ago when I was just starting out with outdoor family photography, I remember being so nervous before each session. The top source of my nerves was feeling like I wouldn’t have a good “flow”. Filling an hour with unique poses and prompts felt intimidating! The truth is that each family is so unique that I don’t actually have a specific flow. But I do have a mental list of posing ideas that I run through with each session!
Before I get started, I want to put it out there that none of these poses are revolutionary or super creative! My goal is to get *natural* looking joy, excitement, and happiness between each family. I don’t enjoy very contrived looking posing, it’s not my style!
I find that most toddlers and babies need a little while to warm up to me and the idea of the photoshoot. 90% of the time, this means I begin our session with standing poses so kids can be in arms. My go-to is the kid “sandwich”. Parents on the outside with kids in the middle. Kids feel safe and comfortable in their parents arms so it’s a good place to start. Here’s where I attempt to get the ‘money or grandparent shot’ with everyone smiling and looking at the camera. This is so much easier to get BEFORE the kids get comfortable and want to get down and run away!
Once the money shot task is out of the way, without changing position, here are some prompt ideas:
After this first set of standing poses, kids usually get comfortable enough to put down. In my experience (though this is not always the case), this is the perfect time to try to grab individual kid and sibling shots. There is a fine line between comfortable and cooperative and then wild and over it which usually happens by the end ;).
During this period, I recruit parents to help be their goofiest possible selves behind me! For kids ages 2+, I like to start to incorporate simple prompts:
Once everyone is feeling more comfortable with each other and being on camera (I am looking at you, parents!), we move to getting a little more snuggly. An easy way to do this with little ones is seated on a blanket.
Once you get everyone seated, it’s all about mixing up the angles and getting in both close and further away. Families can tickle, snuggle, tell each other stories/jokes, sing songs, etc. Kids can run to parents, climb them, surprise them by running up behind, etc.
When you’re dealing with little kids…let’s say 5 and under, the last 30% of the session is when the antsy starts to kick in. This is when we get creative with posing ideas. Bring on the movement shots, let the kids run/explore, and get images of parents with each kid individually. This allows each child a needed break between shots, plus the fun of being able to run around!
Some of my favorite movement oriented posing ideas for little ones are as follows:
Now it’s your turn! What are some of your go-to poses? For more photography business and posing ideas, come follow me on Pinterest!
"To say that I love each one would be cliche and a total understatement, but seriously... She nailed it. Being a photographer myself, I am very picky and searched dozens of photographers before coming back to lyndsay and booking her and I am so glad I did. I can't even remember the last time I hired a photographer and was this in love with the images and unable to pick just a few favorites. Thank you, lyndsay, for making the photo session easy (with 3 kids), fun and providing this mama memories for a lifetime.”
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