Five family photographer posing prompts and games to try at your next session

Are you a family photographer looking for some new posing prompts to use at your session? Look no further!

I coach all my clients to lower their expectations for kids, especially toddlers when it comes to photo sessions. Why? Because kids are kids! They aren’t perfect, they aren’t made to stand very still and smile for 60 minutes and they don’t always love strangers.

To get magical, joyful, and authentic photo sessions, you need to create a comfortable environment for kids to have some fun and move their bodies. The trick is, you have to do it in a controlled way so things don’t get too wild. It’s a delicate balance.

Over my years of photographing over 500 families, these are my favorite family photographer posing prompts I use at sessions. I don’t use them all at one session and they don’t always work out perfectly. But nine times out of ten, these work perfectly to keep things not only fun but allow you to capture gorgeous photos at the same time. A win-win!

Here are the five fun family photographer posing prompts and games you can try at your next family session!

My Favorite family photographer posing prompts and games:

1 – Parachute:

You need a nice, lightweight blanket for this. The fun part is kids usually already know how to play this game from school or daycare. Have each parent hold either side of the blanket and begin to wave it up and down. Kids will run under the blanket when it is up, trying to get through before the blanket comes back down. For multiple kids, start with one kid at a time so everyone has a turn. Once they’ve gotten the hang of it, have the kids hold hands and run through.

2 – Everybody look at…

Kids really like this because they know how to do it. So it immediately feels like a win to them like “yes, I know who mom is!”. Simply shout out “everybody look at….{X}” for each person in the group. Have your camera up the whole time, shooting quickly. Look for the giggles and the eye contact. If people start spacing out, have everyone “cuddle up close together” and keep going with the game.

3 – Ring around the Rosey

Works great to break up a session! Simply have everyone stand in a circle and begin to sing the song while dancing around in a circle. Sometimes if I need it done again, I’ll have them do it faster or “super slow motion!” to make it more fun. And it can be done with or without parents. Depending on where you are doing your session, you can modify how the song ends to be “and we all jump UP!” instead of fall down.

4 – Races

Kids love competition! A simple one is to have siblings or any other grouping you like (I really like dad + kids for this, too) race from one point to the other. Make sure it is clear how far they are allowed to go. For great shots, have them start away from you and run towards you so you are the finish line of the race. You can do this over and over until kids start getting tired (*if* they ever get tired, I wouldn’t do it more than five times).

5 – Scavenger Hunt

This works great on the beach with shells or rocks but clear directions are key. Ask how many white seashells can you find, for example. Explain you want them to make a big pile of those seashells “here” and indicate where you want them to go. Make it competitive by framing it as “who can find the most white seashells”. You can either photograph the foraging, or use it as a way to keep kids distracted for a few minutes while you sneak some shots of mom and dad.

What did you think? Have you tried any of these family photographer posing prompts before? If you give any (or all!) of these a try, I’d LOVE to know how they worked for you. Comment on this post or shoot me an email to let me know how it all went!

Why do you need family photographer posing prompts and games?

Well, if you’ve photographed even one family session you know – kids need to have FUN if you want them to give you those million dollar smiles. If you want joy and fun in your sessions, you need to give kids a chance to have fun and be joyful. It’s as simple as that!

 

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