Capturing family photographs is a special and sentimental moment for your clients. Whether you will be photographing a portrait session, an event or even an important day such as a wedding – you are creating images that will last a lifetime. In order to ensure you are capturing quality content for your client, there are a few tips and tricks you will need to use in your family photography session.


Depending on what type of photographer you are, in studio or on location, will determine what type of lighting you use in your portraits. A general rule that applies to both specializations of photographers is to use lighting that will highlight, flatter and compliment your subject.

For studio photographers, consider using softboxes in order to diffuse your artificial lighting. You will want to avoid any kind of equipment that will cause harsh shadows or heavy contrast on your subject’s facial features. The softer the lighting, the stronger the portrait.

As for on-location photographers, you will be utilizing natural light to properly illuminate and exposure your client. In this case, you will need to determine what time of day will create the most optimal lighting conditions for your work.

As most photographers know, there are two prime times of day referred to as the “golden hour” for taking images. The golden hour is known as the periods of time during sunrise and sunset in which a soft and delicate hue of golden light is used to encapsulate your portraits. Utilizing either of these pockets of light will allow you to create stunning and visually appealing images.

For family sessions, shooting on location will allow for the most movement, interaction, and action with your images. With this, you can show your family in a candid and comfortable manner by allowing them to truly be themselves.


When capturing family photos, you need to remember that posing will require a bit more effort than a traditional single portrait session.

In order to create images that your client will love, you need to instill a range of poses to showcase their personalities and familial bond.

It is always best to begin with the standard poses such as having the entirety of the group stand or sit depending on the location that you choose. In these situations, you will want to ensure that there is little to no space between each family member. For example, consider arranging them in a comfortable manner such as placing their arms around one another.

Once you have captured these images, you will want to encourage your clients to interact with each other, so that you can create natural and candid portraits of the entire group. For example, a family portrait session of parents with their three young children on the beach could result in the entire family playing in the water, building a sandcastle or tossing around the football while you capture lifelike and energetic images.

Remember that in addition to directing poses, you will need to guide your clients to create natural facial expressions. It is very common for people to tense up or feel discomfort while being photographed, so your job will be to reassure and instill confidence from behind the lens. Encouraging your clients to laugh with one another or even tactics such as telling a joke can allow them to open up and relax during the session.

Connect With Your Client

The final element to creating stunning family photographs is to always connect with your client. Being the subject of a photograph can be challenging for those who are not professional models. This is especially true with family portraits where there is a handful of people with various personalities and ranges of age.

Before you even begin to photograph your session, make it your priority to get to know and understand the people you are working with. Ask them questions about their life, show interest and create a familiarity, so that they feel understood and comforted. The best way to connect with your client isto find commonalities that bring you together. This can be anything from hobbies, to shared upbringings, mutual friendships or similar interests.

By making an effort to get to know your client, you are expressing that this is not just a family photography session, but a shared experience of capturing wonderful memories.

As you can see, capturing great family portraits can be done by choosing the proper lighting, directing the poses of your subjects and connecting with your client on a personal level. Always remember that as a family photographer, you are creating more than just images, you are creating moments that will last for generations to come.