Contest For A Family Posing Guide + 3 Keys for Successful Family Portrait Sessions

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

Contest For A Family Posing Guide + 3 Keys for Successful Family Portrait Sessions

The contest has ended – but make sure to read the article below to learn 3 keys for successful portrait sessions.

The 3 winners are:

Entry 504 – Karen Halbert

Entry 302 – Jeanette Soffe

Entry 54 – Craig Burlingame

For everyone else, Angie was kind enough to give all MCP readers a $50 off code toward the family posing guide, good through September 26th. Use the code MCP at checkout to get 50 dollars off the posing guide

Three keys for successful family sessions:

1. Get on the same page as to what you clients expect and want out of session. Of course I would like to believe that every client of mine wants exactly my style of photography, but this isn’t always the case.
Communicate with your clients and ask them what they want from their session. I try to gauge if they want more posed (traditional) images or if they want more candid images. I usually do some of both, but
it’s always good to know what to focus on more. I will ask them, “do you want most everyone looking at the camera and smiling for most of your family images”? BE SPECIFIC. It’s the worst feeling after they have seen
their images and feeling like you didn’t capture what they have imagined. If they say to me that they just want me to do my thing… then I basically do what I have posted on my blog (a good mixture of posed and candid images).
posing families
2. Be prepared. Bring an assistant if needed. There is so much going on at a family session and it’s completely overwhelming at times. Having an extra set of hands really does make all the difference.  I have my assistant get the children’s attention so I can focus on posing families, light and my camera settings. She also hands out smarties for every little good thing the kids do! Works like a charm.
be prepared for family sessions
3. Have the families interact a lot to create natural expressions. Making up fun games for the whole family to enjoy makes a huge difference. Just telling them to interact or act natural simple doesn’t work. You have
to have them interact! I shoot away while they are playing away and then right after they are done playing I have them look my way while they are still laughing and enjoying each other.
how to pose families

Now it is your turn to enter to win the new family posing guide by Simplicity Photography. We have three guides to give away – so three people will win!

To Enter:

  • Leave a comment in this post on the MCP Blog letting us know either 1) the thing you need the most help with when it comes to photographing families or 2) your favorite family photography tip.
  • For extra entries, pin something from this post to Pinterest and/or share this post on your Facebook page, Twitter, etc. Then leave a comment letting us know you did.
  • For one more bonus entry, join our ALL NEW Facebook Group – where you can interact, learn and help photographers from all over the world. This is more interactive than our Facebook Page, so check it out. If you request an invite to join, we will approve you within 24 hour. Add a comment to this blog post letting us know for your extra credit.
  • Check back on Sunday night, September 23rd, at the top of this post, to see if you are one of the lucky three winners.


Posing Families Guide
Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™
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  1. September 19, 2012 at 8:18 am —

    My favourite tip for family photography – talking to people while I photograph them helps them to relax, especially if you show interest in who they are and what they do…clowning around to get the childrens’ attention also works well…

    Pinned this to my Pinterest page and joined the FB group – hope I’m one of the lucky ones!!

  2. Aimee Stiggins
    September 19, 2012 at 8:18 am —

    I pinned one of the pictures!

  3. Alison
    September 19, 2012 at 8:17 am —

    I need help making everyone happy. In every family session, I have at least 1-2 family members that do not want their pictures taken at all. How can I get everyone to enjoy it?

  4. September 19, 2012 at 8:17 am —

    I really, really need help with posing and gaining confidence with lifestyle-esque shots.
    GL everyone!!

  5. Aimee Stiggins
    September 19, 2012 at 8:16 am —

    I need help with trying to make the family relax and be natural. I feel like I help to pose them but they are so stiff. *sigh*

  6. Suzanne
    September 19, 2012 at 8:14 am —

    I am a member of the new FB group. 🙂

  7. September 19, 2012 at 8:14 am —

    requested an invite!

  8. Suzanne
    September 19, 2012 at 8:14 am —

    I need help posing older kids and teens…

  9. September 19, 2012 at 8:14 am —


  10. Joy Beers
    September 19, 2012 at 8:13 am —

    I am fairly new to photography but it is my passion. I love getting their memories in photos to have for a lifetime. I love…love your webpage, I have learned so much for ya’ll. I just alot of help with interacting & posing the families to get that great photo for them. Winning this would be such a big help for me and put me on my way to where I would like to be in photography, but I still have along way to go. With your help I have been doing good. Thank you for all of your help!! JB

  11. September 19, 2012 at 8:13 am —

    1) I have really been struggling with the “neatness” of my family photos. A lot of the time, I will line everyone up, and think it looks great, only to get home, and realize that someone is slouching, or maybe I should have had someone scoot over a few more inches. I also do a lot of young families, with two children under the age of 4. I can’t afford to pay an assistant, so it’s very hard for me to focus on the technical aspects, while trying to get such small children to look AND smile. I would love to learn some tricks for this!!

    2) Great blog post, and photos! I pinned this article to my “Photography Inspiration” board! 🙂

    3) I also joined the MCP Facebook group, and I am really looking forward to interacting with other photographers!! This will actually be the first photography group/forum, for me…. I wish I would have done this sooner!

  12. September 19, 2012 at 8:12 am —

    I need to remember Smartees – I used fruit snacks last week and got a bunch of pictures of my grandkids chewing! 🙂

  13. Dotti
    September 19, 2012 at 8:12 am —

    I pinned a picture and asked for a group invite!

  14. September 19, 2012 at 8:11 am —

    1) the thing you need the most is a positive and friendly attitude, it will help in the all cases.
    2) Always pay attention with kids and be super safe.

  15. Kerry Gibson
    September 19, 2012 at 8:11 am —

    All tips welcome but would love to learn more for the shy teens – how to help them feel more comfortable in the family photos session.

  16. September 19, 2012 at 8:10 am —

    I would LOVE to have this guide. I think anytime you can expand on what you are already doing and provide more options for your clients, it’s a good thing. I’d love to feel more comfortable in making suggestions and thinking outside the box with my posing directions for my clients. I’ve earned extra points by pinning and joining the new Facebook group! Thanks for this opportunity!!!

  17. Dotti
    September 19, 2012 at 8:10 am —

    I need tips for posing…I run out of ideas…everyone around here wants traditonal poses…and I find that hard to do…I love the interactive photos!

  18. September 19, 2012 at 8:10 am —

    All great points! I am also not afraid to break out the treats for the kiddos. I like to use a longer lens for families with little ones. Sometimes getting a little more space from the camera helps everyone feel more comfortable and at ease with just being themselves.

  19. Lynn Stoops
    September 19, 2012 at 8:10 am —

    Just starting to do family sessions and need all the helps, tips and hints I can find!

    Posting this to my Facebook and joined your new Facebook group.


  20. Lieke
    September 19, 2012 at 8:07 am —

    I need the most help with posing. I can’t seem to succeed in getting natural looking pictures of the kids looking in my direction. Thanks!

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Contest For A Family Posing Guide + 3 Keys for Successful Family Portrait Sessions