Skip to main content

Types of Poses

Lesson 5 from: Lifestyle Family Photography: Posing and Direction

Elena S Blair

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

5. Types of Poses

Lesson Info

Types of Poses

Alright, I'm gonna break them down. We're gonna go through them visually and then we're gonna bring in the family. And I'm gonna have you guys get up and try some of these poses out. This is not my normal shooting scenario at all. I don't use lights, I'm out and I'm in nature, usually. So just keep that in mind, if you want to know about this light, I have no idea okay? I will not be able to help you there. (light chuckle) Alright first one, so this is I like to start with the standing poses because when you first arrive the family is still kinda loosening up. And sometimes my sitting poses tend to be sitting and laying down poses a little bit more intimate, like if I was like, lay down and then put your head in your husband's lap. Right away she'd be like, what? So I kinda wanna get to know them a little bit. And so I start with standing poses, so standing is a great place to start. So the exact formula for this pose, I always start with dad. And so what I gonna tell him, is I want hi...

m to pick up the child and when you ask a parent to pick a child up in the wild, is how I like to say it. They'll just like put them up on their hip, like you would pick up your kid, right? So you have to tell them, I actually want the child to be close to you. So can you put her tummy to tummy, right up against you dad, I want that kid right up against you, okay they understand that. Next, I'm gonna have mom come in and I like dad's shoulders to be square to the camera. And I like mom to be a little bit at a angle, because like I said moms who hired you, you want mom to always look her best. And so a little slight angle is always super flattering on mom especially next to dad who's square. My rule of thumb when I'm posing parents or families and I want an intimate feeling. Is that I don't want any light coming in between the family, so the closer the better. And the interesting being is that when you bring mom in, she'll make space in between her and her husband. It's just weird to get super close in front of someone. So I'll just say nope, a little bit closer. And I'll literally bring them in nice and close. So then I'm gonna bring in the other child and I'm gonna ask him to stand right in front of mom. And I want her arm, over his shoulder. If she just had her arm by her side, or her arm at her hip, it would be a disconnect. You wanna bring him in, and in the final part of that is you ask him to bring his hands up. And I usually am just in there doing it, I'm like put your hands up here, do this. And really fast, but you wanna ask him to bring his hand up because that really just brings it all together. Now the final thing, that you have to say to, this pose would look totally different if they were all looking at me right? Don't look at me, look at each other. Don't look at me, look at each other. You have to say it over and over again, because they're gonna keep looking at you. Even if they hired you for candid photos, they're gonna keep looking at you because that's what they're used to doing. So you could also have mom and dad kiss here, would be cute. I'm just talking about maximizing, this is the exact same pose, different family, different angle. Okay, so here's another fun family standing pose. This is great when you have little ones that are running around and that don't wanna have anything to do with posing. Who wants to get on dad's shoulders? Usually they all do so they take turns, but that's fun too. So you throw one on dad's shoulders, and so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna say dad, I want you to put your little guy on your shoulders and then I want you to wait right here, I'm gonna get mom okay? So just wait right here, he's usually waiting. And then I say mom, I want you to come up. And actually how this pose started and how I like to start it, is I like them to be facing each other in this pose. Because it's like a cute layer of connection, very nice and close. She got giggly and moved away, and this happen which is great because that's better than what I started with. And then I ask them to kiss, this is the moment right after the kiss; it's silly, they think it's weird. They've got a kid on their shoulder, they're like okay we're gonna kiss and the kid's on my shoulder. And it always makes them laugh and it's super fun. Extra kids, this was a long crop. So I kinda cropped out my people. But extra kids, I just put them right in front and if there were multiple kids I would just put them all around, same pose. So this one, I'm showing you how I do it with other families, with more kids What I want you to know is that, all of these poses can be executed with multiple kids, different ages. This one, she's not holding the baby because the kid is older so you just put them in there, same way. Alright so now I'm gonna talk more about a couple of sitting poses that I love. So with any sitting pose I always start with dad because dads has a hard time sitting down on the floor (light chuckle) I don't know why, I don't know what it is about men but maybe they're not as flexible but they have a hard time and I want dad to be comfortable. So I ask dad to sit down comfortably. And I get that question a lot, well what do you with his legs? I let him do whatever he wants with his legs. I want him to be comfortable; so I ask dad to sit on the ground comfortably. Always reminding him to sit up tall. So what I 'll say to him is, you're gonna hate me if you're slouching; if I didn't tell you to sit up tall. So please remember to sit up tall. And I kinda remind him over and over again. So then next I'm gonna bring in mom. And usually during these moments, I have the kids just right next to me while I'm posing the parents. Because I do start with the parents. So I'm gonna bring in mom and I want her to back up against his arm. See how he's kinda like holding on to her and she sort of leaning against him? Again that gives that angle in her body which is super flattering. If she were sitting straight on to you it's not as flattering for a woman sitting down like this. I really like to have them kinda backed up against dad and I ask him to put his arm around her. So then I got the littler one of the bunch and I usually do this with the littler one. I ask them to straddle mom and lean right up against her. And if he's having a hard time with that, if the kid is feeling super spunky, usually they wanna snuggle with mom. I find that this isn't a issue but I will have her tell'em a story. So I say, let's just tell'em a really quick story. Mom is going to tell you a story about a magical kitty. And she starts and here we go. And then I get the other children and I have them sit on dad's lap. So I would have one or two, either one sit on dad's lap. You could have one over next to mom, so you can always add kids; I have lots of big families. Kids can always be added to these. And then I asked dad to kiss mom on the temple. And I told her to lean into the kiss, I said he's gonna kiss you on your temple and you're gonna turn towards him, just a little bit. Not too much but just a little bit. And that is how we made this pose. Now you'll see here it is, a little different with another family so I like to show that because it's. Here it is where the 12 year old was who wanted to sit on mom, not the four year old and it still works. So (light chuckle) people ask me that a lot. How do you do these poses with older kids? I do the exact same thing, I make my older kids snuggle with mom all the time. Okay, so this is one of my favorite poses. I get this request for this one, from families quite a bit actually. So again, we can transition straight from the other one to this one so you could go really fast through these poses. But I ask dad to sit on the ground, comfortably. And then I ask mom to lay on the ground with her head in his lap and you wanna make sure that her hair isn't plastered down. You want her hair to be up on his lap, and then I get the little guy again and I ask him to straddle her, just like I did before. He kinda slipped off to the side a little bit. I asked him to kiss her and instead he started playing with her necklace. And I like to point that out about what I actually asked him to do and what ended up happening because this is the idea of getting out of your head and not thinking of these as hard fast rules. You can always take it to the next level. And so he started playing with her necklace which is super cute and then dad was looking at me at first. I said don't look at me, look down at your beautiful wife. And that's how we made this pose. The other kiddo, I don't care where he's looking I just want him to hang out, I just want him to be there with his family. Which is trying to capture a moment here. Here's one where she actually listened to me. (light chuckle) And she kissed her momma. And they looked at me in that one and it was great and I loved it and so I took a picture of it. So that's the same idea of maximizing that pose, getting the most out of each pose. Okay, so finally the last one I'm gonna go through here instructionally before getting the family up who's back there, is you'll see in my work a lot that I really like to romanticize family life after kids. I think we're not talking about vulnerability today but I think that it's probably because it's a vulnerable point for me. When you have kids and all of a sudden you're like oh wait, I haven't seen my husband in like a week even though we live together, it's kinda a weird thing. So when I get families together, I really wanna show their love after children. And this is actually a really easy pose to create. So this is a great thing to do when kids have had it with posing and they need a moment to play. And so I ask mom and dad to get together and face away from me and I tell them this is gonna sound awkward, but I want you to put your arms around each other just like you were watching a sunset, just embrace. And if there's a baby who won't let you put them down, they can hold the baby while they do that, no problem. And then the way that I get the kids to be part of it is I give them boundaries, I say you guys you're gonna get to explore but you gotta stay between this bush and this rock. Okay it's my only rule, and they're like okay, they're usually are totally up for that. And I, to make this image happen; just move myself around. I don't change them at all, I just move around and try to make sure to incorporate enough scenery, good leading lines and all that kinda thing. But you can do that once you set parents up without moving them at all, without moving the kids. So here it is executed a little bit differently, the kids got out of focus, I don't care I love it. It's like a real representation of probably of what their family is like and how cute are they? They said they hadn't had photos done alone since their wedding which a lot of people will tell you. I will tell them to kiss their wife's neck. I'll tell them to grab their wife's butt, sometimes. (light chuckle) And I know that that seems crazy but it's really, they usually really love it and I'm not afraid to continue with these poses even when baby won't stop nursing, that's what this baby is doing. I want to show them that I see this love still in their life and show it through my photography. Hi I was wondering what you tell people to wear? What I tell what? What you tell people to wear, how do you coordinate them? That's a good question, she wants to know what I tell people to wear. So what I do is I have a blog post. I think client education is great, it sets everyone up for success. I have a blog post that gives them ideas but what I tell them first and foremost is that for me, what they wear isn't very important. The reason I say that is because I know there are a lot of photographers, where it is. It's a big deal for them to have stylist that they work with and all of that. It really isn't that important for me. I'm just going back to, I should show you people are wearing a variety of things in my family sessions jeans, dresses; that momma at the mountains was wearing a big sweater and she had her baby in a sling. So I tell them to dress comfortably, I tell them to layer, I tell them to be themselves. So I give pretty minimal vague instruction. Well first of all thank you. Oh you're welcome, thank you. So you're based in Seattle, Yeah. And you shoot outside Yeah. (light chuckle) How does that work with the rain? (light chuckle) It doesn't rain here as much as everybody says, it really doesn't but are you from Seattle? Redmond. Okay so I really ramp up, I'm not talking about my newborn work here right now because that's not what we're talking about. But I do a lot of newborn work between January and April or May. I really ramp up my newborn work during that time and I would say that I do the bulk of my family work between May and October. I encourage my clients to schedule out really early in advance and I have a scheduling system where they book on Friday and there to leave the weekend open and we shoot on the best weather day between Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So that's how I get around it, I have not had one reschedule since I started doing that, for weather. So, yeah I'm a pretty low volume photography though. I do two to three sessions a week.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Family Posing Made Easy

Ratings and Reviews

Kristen Anderson

I would recommend it because it shatters a few misconceptions about building a lifestyle photography business that a newcomer like me battles on a daily basis. So much information on the internet and just so much of it is false and should even apply. But we do, we waste our time and resources on pursuing phantom myths about the business and we suffer. Our families suffer. Elena addresses some of those misconceptions here and gives you some tips and models to follow to help navigate as a new start up business. She made me feel like my passion for this is not misplaced and to keep going. This isn't an all encompassing tutorial on everything you need to have a successful business. If you are looking for that, you won't find it...and heaven help you if that's your goal. But, it does do what it says it will do. Help you learn and understand the necessity of posing in a lifestyle shoot and implement poses that will put you and your families at ease and on the path to a successful session. I'd definitely recommend it for it's price point. It was very useful.


Elena Blair is a talented, positive and creative teacher. She is a great communicator, and builds you up as the student to be proud of where you are as an artist, while at the same time, motivating and inspiring you to take it to the next level. It was really neat to get a front row seat to her process. She is very energetic, and offers a refreshing perspective on how to run a session and a business. Awesome class! I can't wait to see what she does next!

fbuser 4acdd96d

Excellent course and great teacher. I love how clear and conscience she is. I also appreciate how she gives specific examples of her work, and step by step instructions on how she sets everything up. There are so many tips that I will be incorporating. I would highly recommend this course.

Student Work