How to Pose Families & Create Natural, Carefree and Candid Photos

Houston Family Photographer, Sarah Borchgrevink, uses dynamic natural light, timeless locations, and candid, close knit posing to create fun and carefree portraits.

Simple Tips for Photographing Natural Family Sessions

Howdy, friends! Thanks for visiting my little blog to see some fun and easy tips on posing families in order to create candid, natural, and gorgeous family portraits. My name is Sarah and I'm a Houston TX Photographer offering lovely outdoor family sessions. My sessions are fun, laid back and carefree. However, over the years I have learned simple tips that help the session run smoothly. 

You see, as a mother to three little girls, I treasure the images that are more natural and truly showcase my children's personalities. Photography is a connection to our past, a link to who we are, and will always bring you back to those precious memories, such as babies first steps or a fun milestone sessions. For example, this sweet family I am previewing today has been wonderful to work with over the last year. They began as maternity & newborn clients, and have commissioned me to document their family's outdoor family photography session plus their sweet son's first birthday images. This in mind, they're truly a joy to photograph and I'm thrilled to use their session as an example.

Choose a quiet location

The foundation of a great family session is selecting an environment in which your subjects feel comfortable. I prefer rustic, rural locations such as an open field. This type of location is quiet and will allow your client to relax. It can already be a little bit nerve wracking to have a huge DSLR camera in your face; by selecting a location that's off the beaten path and does not have a lot of traffic, you won't feel like people are staring at you. It'll allow you to take a step back and enjoy the beauty of nature.

To elaborate, when booking a session with me, clients are given a curated location list to browse. This allows you to see sample galleries and different types of sessions from sunrise and sunset, to maternity, child or family. These are locations I have hand selected for quality and aesthetic purposes since it's important the final look be timeless.

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Give your clients an activity or task

I always start my sessions by giving my clients something to do; typically it's something like playing with their children. I will ask them to tickle baby, or make a "baby sandwich" so that baby is on display. It also helps clients relax to have their child in their arms. Assigning a task or activity ensures they know what to do with their hands and they're not awkward standing there, unsure what to do. The session should flow smoothly and not have any weird pauses or parents feeling like you're not leading. Take charge of your session.

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tips for photographing natural family photographs

Take a step back and have fun

When I was a little girl and growing up, having your photo taken generally meant you'd sit in one spot at a photo studio like Sears or JC Penny; you would be perfectly posed like a statue and smile directly at the camera. While it is nice to have a few photos of everyone smiling and looking at the camera, it's also great to have images in which the client is not thinking about the camera. Take a step back. Forget what you've always been told about photography. Simple tips for creating vivacious and fun family photos can including little one being tossed into the air, running, playing, tickle fights, or just cuddling up together. 

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Think about focal plane

Your focal plane is super important in achieving candid, fun photos because everyone needs to be seen. I like for all of the subjects to be on display; it also makes sure everyone is in photo. I typically line my clients up in a cozy position where everyone is comfortable. Don't be nervous to adjust your client. If you can see the bottom of Dad's shoes, just rotate him. If Mom has a leaf in her hair, just remove it; these things are much easier to fix during the session than to worry about in processing. When everyone is lined up in the proper focal plane, you can see all the limbs, expressions, smiles, and also the background.

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Encourage your client and give positive feedback

Clients don't like silence. When they're with you, they may feel like the session is not going well if you don't utter a single word. Keep things light and fun; ask them questions but also don't forget to give positive feedback to them. If you notice Mom is super pretty in the golden morning light, tell her. If baby looks precious, make sure to tell Dad how much you're enjoying time with little one. I promise clients respond well to positive reinforcement and it makes them feel more comfortable. When photographing my clients, it's almost like a little "mini friend date". I say this meaning that you have about half an hour to get to know them; you want to treat them like a friend because family photography is a personal experience. They've chosen you and should have a great time during their session.

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Thanks for stopping by my blog to read about posing families in a candid, natural and carefree manner! I'm excited you've visited and hope these tips are helpful to you! 

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Here's what this client had to say about their photo experience with Sarah:

Sarah has done both our newborn posed session and a first year family session. I have ABSOLUTELY LOVED every single picture she has taken and produced. Sarah is a wonderful photographer and goes above and beyond to help you not only save these memories, but make new ones as well. We will definitely use Sarah again!


Sarah Borchgrevink Photography is a Houston Newborn Photographer specializing in gorgeous posed newborn sessions. Her studio is located in Northwest Houston. In addition to breathtaking baby portraiture, Sarah also offers stylish natural light family photography as well as dynamic outdoor maternity sessions for expecting mothers and couples. Sarah joyfully serves the entire Harris and Montgomery county areas including North Houston, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, Jersey Village, The Woodlands, Magnolia, Conroe, Willis, Montgomery, Humble, Kingwood, Porter, New Caney, Waller, Memorial & West Houston, Katy, Fulshear, Sugar Land, Pearland, Hempstead, Richmond, West University, Rice Village and Porter TX. Connect to chat with Sarah today! Please consider booking your session at your earliest convenience in order to secure your appointments on the calendar.