Not everyone was born to be in front of the camera. In fact, we are willing to bet a majority of your clients are a bit uncomfortable when the lens is trained on them, especially if it’s their first time sitting for a family session.
As the photographer, it’s up to you to put your clients at ease so that instead of slightly uncomfortable frozen faces, you get shots with bright eyes, big smiles, and people who are relaxing in their natural habitats. Directing your clients well and helping them into the right poses will result in wonderful portraits pretty much every single time.
You’re dealing with all sorts of different personalities at the same time when it comes to photographing families. Maybe you’ve got one rambunctious kid, one shy kid, a too-serious mom, and a nervous dad—all in one session. That can be a recipe for disaster or a perfect opportunity for some fun and lighthearted moments, but it all depends on you—the photographer—and your level of comfort with any situation that may arise.
Tamara Lackey and our team at Tamara Lackey Studios recently published the Family Posing Playbook for Photographers that you can purchase for download and use as a learning tool to increase your skill and confidence when you are out shooting family sessions. This playbook also includes a separate and condensed Quick Reference Guide that you can take with you when you’re on location.
In the guide, we provide detailed posing instructions from experiences that Tamara has encountered in real life. She articulates what wasn’t working and what she did about it.
An excerpt from her introduction to the guide gets more in-depth:
When I first wrote The Posing Playbook … for Kids Who Don’t Do Posing, I tried to incorporate all of the main things to consider when posing children. There are often a few factors to consider: location, lighting, styling, interaction, mood, expression and, of course posing. The most prominent issue with that last factor, posing, being rather interesting as most kids don’t really do posing.
Guess what: families don’t really do posing, either. But even as people aren’t often professional models, they are often amenable to being moved this way and that. So, how do you adjust them to showcase them as flatteringly as possible and keep their expression fresh so you can showcase them as attractively and as naturally as possible—while also keeping the shot well-framed, well-lit and showing off what matters the most: who they genuinely are at heart, and how they belong to each other?
This book, like my original one for just kids, is all about creating a reference book of past “wins”—challenges I’d faced and how I was able to resolve them to produce attractive and natural-looking poses using a variety of techniques, which I share in detail, along with before and afters, metadata, what lighting I used, and any interpersonal techniques I utilized to shift the mood or refresh expressions. I also share any interactions I may employ in certain situations—and any other helpful technical information that could come into play in that scenario or any others like them. This comes complete with bullet points to quickly reference the main considerations of each pose.
The other common feedback I received over time from The Posing Playbook … for Kids Who Don’t Do Posing was that people tended to read it as a regular book first, starting at the beginning and reading clear to the finish, then they would reference it afterwards as an on-the-go by mobile app, gaining inspiration for poses and references suggestions of things that could help. I realized that since I did the same thing, referenced poses while in the midst of a shoot, that it’d be helpful to collect all the posing suggestions as a separate mini reference guide for this new book, complete with helpful bullet points but not the detailed text, which could always be referenced later in more detail in the main Family Posing Playbook.
The guide also includes:
Befores and afters
We hope you bring the Family Posing Playbook, or at least the new Quick Reference Guide, with you on your next shoot so that you can feel confident you will have a successful session, then be able to turn those images into a beautiful family album.
And, just like your Lush Albums purchases, 10 percent of the proceeds of the posing playbook go to Beautiful Together, a nonprofit Tamara created that works to help improve the quality of life for children waiting for families.
Download the Family Posing Playbook today, and be on your way to creating more beautiful albums