Ideas for Unique Family Portraits: Tips and Tricks for Photographers

By Edward Stuart in Art Tutorials > Photography Tips

Capturing the right moment can be difficult—but we all want it. We want that amazing family photo (either for our own family, or a client) that showcases each person’s unique beauty, and shows the love the entire family has for each other.

Sometimes, this can seem impossible. . . and that’s why it’s so important to learn about different and unique poses for a family photo, as well as how to make it fun. After all, there are multiple things to consider when planning for a family portrait. What is it that you want to emphasize? What should everyone wear? Finally, how  do you want to compose the photograph?

Take a deep breath—we’ll go through each of these sections one by one.

1. Come up with a main idea, or theme

When shooting a family portrait, the goal is for friends and family to see a wonderful loving family. So think about what you want to emphasize when you are taking pictures, and build around that idea.


Photo by Julie Parker Photography

In this first photo, we see the baby as the main focus, with the parents in the foreground. It seems natural and fun. Having the baby lay down is a great way to keep them calm and relaxed, instead of forcing them to get up and smile.


Photo by Hartshorn Portraiture via

The photo above shows another playful arrangement of that pose. Again, it focuses on the child, with the parents right behind, cheering and supporting. This can be a simple way of showing the love of your family, and a unique way of doing it.

2. Choose a few props

If you want to implement props, keep it simple. You still want your attention to be on the family—but having a sentimental prop (like grandpa’s chair) can really help the essence of your photo.


Photo by Nikki James Photography via

In the photo above, this family is just using simple letters to spell the word JOY. This invokes the family bond, and the lettering creates a unique look for a family photo. The children are all wearing similar shirts, which pull in the colors of their parents’ clothing as well. All of this helps to keep the photo looking very cohesive.

3. Think of creative poses

There are MANY different ways to pose for a family portrait. You want to do things that best symbolize the family as a whole, and even more specifically, things that symbolize the stage of life represented right then—this will stand the test of time when looking through the pictures later.


Photo by Leighkm Photography via Home Stories A to Z

The family photo above is a great example of posing with a unique angle. The angle is from above—something you don’t usually see with family photos. The different ways the parents are laying helps keep your eye flowing through the photo. They’ve also chosen to wear a cohesive color palette—keeping the attention on the amazing composition and their family as a unit, rather than individuals.


Photo by Alisa Florence Photography via SensiblyStyledcom

Lastly, this final photo above is another great idea for a pose—everyone is close in, almost in a giant bear hug, which captures the emotion of the moment perfectly.

4. Don’t forget. . .

• Keep it fun! Don’t be afraid to tell the kids to throw leaves or jump in puddles! These could be amazing candid photos—just save these for the end!

• Picking the right thing to wear can be difficult, so just try and keep it simple. Try and coordinate clothing using analogous colors, or with complementary colors.

• Great photos work when everyone is looking in the same direction. BUT, you don’t have to be looking at the camera necessarily for this—focus on each other, a far off object, etc.

Family photos are great time capsules. . . you get to capture everyone in that exact moment, at that exact age. And over the years, everyone will look back at these creative photos (and photo shoots!) with the best memories.

Edward Stuart is an art and decoration enthusiast as well as an online publisher for Canvas Art. He frequently blogs about art, art history, design, and home decor.


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