Favorite Family Group Poses


Family Group Posing


Lesson Info

Favorite Family Group Poses

Now I want to jump right into what I know you guys are here for. It's about posing. I'm going to walk through initially ... I came up with about 14 poses. So, this was literally ... I don't necessarily think when I'm shooting, I gotta shoot pose one. I gotta shoot pose two. I don't work that way, but what happened is I was going through my body of work of the last 20 years, I was categorizing. I was like, Oh my gosh. I do this a lot. I do this a lot. I do this a lot. Oh, I haven't been doing this for a while and it looks really good. I need to go back to shooting this certain way, and so I compiled them. I found 14 different things that I just consistently do. These are the things I think make people look good, comfortable, authentic. It's the images that the purchase. I'm gonna just show you one single image of each pose to just get an idea of what I'm talking about, and then we're gonna jump right in in a little bit to the live shooting with the family of three. Then, I'm going to ki...

nda keep recapping. The way I've built the program is you're going to then afterwards, I'll show you more examples of how I shot that pose. Maybe it's outside. How did I combine two or three different elements of pose into one pose. So, throughout the day, you'll start seeing those things, and I'll point it out and recognizing that. This would be one of my top poses that I use all the time. On the Shoulders. You'll see more examples, and I'll do that live for you here in a little bit. The Huggle, one of my favorites. So, when you got that pose, where everybody ... It's a little stiff. Maybe it's a little too traditional for what you're trying to achieve. All you gotta do, "OK everybody squeeze. "Huggle each other. "Lean in on each other." It's a lot of mimicking. I don't actually go in and touch and move my clients a lot. I really am just a lot of showing them, mimic me. They kind of just mimic the energy. So, if I'm being excited and talking to them, they're going to react in that sort of a way. And, you never know what you're going to get. One of the things I also will talk about is how I will exchange getting the shot, and that fun expression over being technically perfect. Because of course, you do a shot like The Huggle, it's not gonna be about this persons turned the exact right way, this hand is in the exact right placement. It's way more about capturing the expression, and that reality, and that authenticity of the image. That's a really fun one to do when you got a bunch of teenagers in the shot. I am always like, I bring families together. Mom is always loving it. She's like "Oh, I haven't seen my kids like "actually touch each other for like, five years." And, I got them snuggling and having fun. Just having the eyes look down. So, taking a shot where, of course, you are looking forward, but then just say, "Hey Mom, look down." or "Hey Dad, look down at Mom." It's shutting the eyes. It just add a different element where the focus is going into different subjects in the image. Then I would flip flop and have somebody else look up, and somebody else look over. When we get into the products, I'm gonna talk about shooting to sell, and the products. You need those kind of variety to build collages, to do albums. Some of the products Judd's going to show you how we build and sell. You need variety. It cannot just all be the single shot of everybody looking at the camera. These are things you can do in very quick progression. You will see this live, I will actually shoot knowing that it's not the shot I'm getting but that's building the confidence in the client, then I will get to that shot. So, I'm still shooting ... Cause you don't want them feeling, "Oh, she's not shooting. What am I doing wrong? "Where am I supposed to put my hands?" You know, there are all these thoughts they're going through in their mind. "You look great!" You keep shooting. "Okay, keep turning your head "a little bit more towards the light. " Just giving them suggestions. You might have progression of five, six, seven shots knowing you're getting to that final one that you're going to show and sell and keep. The Whisper. Obviously, he's not whispering in her ear at this point, but it's the reaction that you're getting. Sometimes it is the shot of the whispering, but it's actually ... I have more examples of sometimes people are pushing away from each other. They're laughing. They do get a little closer and snugglier, so I'll have Dad snuggling on Mom. "Whisper something in her ear. "Don't tell me what it is." They just feel silly and they laugh. This would be a series. You just get those real reactions. So, by no means am I a photojournalist. I'm absolutely posing these people, but its more about setting the stage and letting it unfold in front of the camera. Doing things, where they're already in position. I'm in position, and then you just shoot it as, whatever happens, happens. Then, the looking at each other pose. That's a super simple one. I think you guys can envision how that can progress really quickly. "Everybody look at each other. "Oh, do a huggle. "Eyes down." I mean, those can be very quick. You can move from one into the next. We've got just every body looking. Sometimes that's just Mom and Dad looking at each other. Kids looking at the camera. I'll have some examples for you in a bit. From above, I have a ladder I'll be shooting from for a few shots to show you that angle. It's actually a very flattering angle for most people. That can be a bit extreme. You don't want to be above your clients for safety reasons, but above at a slight angle. You can really get some cool, unique shots. Obviously with these girls, it makes their hair look really cool. The things you have to watch for, is when ... If it's just that they're looking up, they will tend to wrinkle that forehead a little bit. I'll probably be talking to some of the subjects live, you'll kind of see me, "Relax your forehead a little bit." There's some little things that might happen if you do that, but it really does create a beautiful, flattering angle on most people. On a Rug. We actually have a rug here in studio I'll use today. I do shoot a lot on rugs. A lot of times, I'll also use that just with my children's photography, but absolutely, multiple group of kids, Mom Dad with the kids. I'll do those breakdown where it's just Mom with the child, Dad with the child. That's one of the things we'll walk through all those different groupings and breakdowns. On a Couch. I'm super excited we're gonna get more into this in the next segment, but I'm gonna literally go through a progression of the ways that I photograph on a couch, and furniture. That's probably the number one prop. I think at one point, we had 32 couches. Most of these are freebies, garage sales, it's not like I have this huge warehouse of couches that cost a lot of money. I photograph pets on these couches. They get messed up. It's about people feel pretty natural. That's standing, that's the I'm posing stool, can sometimes feel uncomfortable, and so you throw them on a comfy couch, there's something that does just happen that's more relaxed. And then one of the other way I shoot ... My goal with almost every session, if they're coming into the studio, is two looks. So, that could be the same outfit, but two looks for me would typically be, one look that's more some of the images that I showed you, that were like waist up, relationship wise, that huggle, looking at each other, and then completely switching gears, giving them a 5-minute break then it's like we're gonna do some more fun, casual. Just telling them what I'm going to do. Fun, casual shots on a couch. I do have a window light in my studio, so that might then be with window light. The other session might have been with strobes, or window light. It just gives them two very distinct looks. I usually don't try to do too much more than that though. I like to give people a reason to come back. So, what that means, if I'm talking about getting that repeat client, about selling the experience, about wanting to photograph these clients for years to come. With one session I don't want to be shooting inside, shooting outside, going through all the tricks I have in my bag. They're like "Shoot, what are we gonna do next year?" It's about planting those seeds. It is not uncommon in a session ... I might do something like this for a client, solid clothing on a couch, simple. And I'm already saying at the end of this session, "So cool. "I know last year we were out in the field, "this year we did in the studio, "let's be thinking next year doing urban shots. "Let's go downtown by the cool, old warehouse." Really just planting those seeds throughout the whole session, the whole sale, that whole experience. Don't even ... Just make the assumption they're not going to anyone else. Don't give them a reason to leave. Hands and Feet. That is just ... I had to cut out a lot of images, when I show you more because I just have so many. Every session that would be pretty common. I do this with pets, I do this with multiple kids, one kid, maybe it's juts holding the hands. It's the kid sitting at the feet. This is a great shot if you have a family session that comes in that its just supposed to be the kids in the family being photographed, but Mom is there, or Dad is there, I always try to get them in the shots. Now, they may not feel camera ready. They weren't prepared. You can do something like this, and that still shows a relationship. People love this. I love this. Mom's not worried about, "I wasn't ready to be in the photograph." The Pano. Yeah, some of these other traditional crops I had been doing, but you need to stage and pose people a certain way to be able to crop it this way. I have horizontal panos that I will pose, and then these vertical panos, that I probably ... You know, some of these, you will get to a group size that won't work as well, but four to five people you definitely could pull off a pose. Five is probably about tops. A pose like that. Other wise, then I would move to more of a horizontal pano. But then what's cool about panoramics when you sell them, really people need to print those larger. We believe in the power of print. We believe in printing our images. We're in the business of selling prints and wall portraits. Yes, we do offer files, but it's really set up in a way that you do the prints first, value wise. It's really important to us that people let us give them a finish product. Start to finish. So, we can offer products like this. I don't think a client would necessarily crop their image into a panoramic and do this beautiful canvas in a really cool frame if we weren't doing it. The Walk. Another one of my favorite poses. Of course, we've seen the traditional walking towards the camera shot. The whole family holding hands, look at each other, look at the camera, put the kids on the shoulder, doing something fun like that. But then, doing more of a sideways walk. Again, I'll have more examples of this, but that's been kind of a fun pose that we've done some large panoramics for clients that way as well. Selective Focus. That's gonna be all the images I'll be showing. It may be Mom and Dad are in the foreground, kids are in the back ground. The kids are in the foreground. The parents in the back ground, the dog's in the foreground. That works really well and we might have this happen for us today, but that works really well in a scenario where somebody in the session is not wanting to necessarily to sit still or they're running at the camera. You kinda roll with what's happening. I think that's a big piece of it. I don't keep trying to force something to happen that's not happening. I give that power to the clients. I want them to trust me, but I tell them, "You know your kids. "You know your dog. "You know when it's done, or when you need a break." I do not book my sessions super close to each other. I don't know why I don't plan it this way, but it's like clock work. Most of my sessions last about an hour, whether that is a family of three or a family of ten, that's just want I do. If it needs to be shorter, or if we need to take a break, I wouldn't book them that close. I would at least have a buffer of maybe another hour in there so that ... You just have those variables. Somebody running late. You want your clients to be comfortable. In the Air. That can be everything from kids upside-down, throwing them in the air. It creates these outtakes. And again, not photo journalistic, but if you just have people playing and having fun, you can get images like this. Sometimes that's happening before I even plan that. You know, I'm photographing Mom and the girls. Dad and sons over to the side, and he's throwing them up, keeping them busy, and I'll "Oh. Quick, quick, quick. "Come over here to the background. "Let's recreate that." Or sometimes shoot the shot. Maybe the backgrounds okay where I'm at and they don't even know I'm shooting it. And then, of course, the outtakes. This is where when things aren't going maybe exactly what you had planned, or how you envisions the session unfolding. Still shooting those images. I can't tell you how many times those are the images that were selling. Like maybe I was trying to get this quiet smile, and this soft image where everybody's snuggled, but this is what happens. And you know what? That's the authenticity of it. That's how Mom knows her kids. Right? So, that's the image that they're going to do big, or it's part of an album or another product that we're selling.

Class Description

Taking a great portrait of one person can be a challenge, but how do you capture an entire family looking their most authentic selves? Well-known family and children photographer Vicki Taufer will show you how to focus on the relationships and keep your clients relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera.

Vicki will show you:

  • What props and gear you should have on hand to bring out the best in your group posing
  • How to shoot with natural light as well as in the studio, and what lighting you’ll need to highlight all group sizes
  • How to make your clients feel comfortable before the shoot to get authentic images
  • The most efficient workflow to make your post-processing work for you

Whether it’s a group of children with pets or the extended family with grandparents and cousins, Vicki will give you the confidence to tackle any situation and provide your client with images that they’ll want to purchase and hang on their walls for years to come.


DOlores RUsso

All I have to say is - Vicki you are a saint. To handle four kids, dog and their parents too, not to mention a class of students watching...AND YOU'RE TAKING PHOTOS, GOOD ONES!! All I know is, I could not handle that as you have even though I was a teacher for 25 years (K-12, all of them) - and wonderful people like you are far and few between. May you stay healthy and happy and continue interacting with kids and parents - you really have a talent! (I had to turn the sound off on the vid because it was driving me crazy,, with kids, dog, etc etc!)


Fantastic posing class, loved watching Vicki in action. There are so many little things she said to the families she was photographing that really made all of the difference. Jed's product template creation and backend streamlining segment was great too!

Elizabeth Harrigan

I absolutely loved the course!!! The teacher was extremely engaging, so much so, I lost track of time... I learned more from this course than any other I have subscribed to. Both Vicki and her husband are positive and passionate in their delivery. They also have developed a level of expertise and a passion to share their knowledge honestly. It wasn't about ego, but rather, a genuine helpful attitude, which was so refreshing!