When photographers think about family photos – they are typically thinking about families involving children. Not teenagers, and certainly not adults, but those that involve little ones and cutesy poses that centre around lifts and ring-around-the-rosy. Which are lovely (and I use them all the time when photographing kids) but don’t work when photographing adult siblings.
This means when you hit a photographer with an adult-family inquiry – there is often a little bit of panic.
And I truly do mean panic. I see it regularly in FB Photographer communities – where people are desperately seeking advice on how to pose all adult families in a way that isn’t just super stiff and formal.
So here are a few tips for you on photographing adult siblings and families…
• My biggest piece of advice would honestly be – don’t be afraid to have fun. Play some music, ask some silly questions, get them moving.
• Ask the “kids” what they liked to do with their siblings growing up. Did they arm-wrestle? If you are able to communicate with them prior to, ask them to come up with some ideas as to what they might want to do for a picture – this will help pull into the personal and give you poses you might not have predicted. The gorgeous photo of these three siblings running across the field came from asking them what they might want, as well as the Dragon Ball Z pose that I would never suggest if I hadn’t known.
• Get them to act as each other’s hype squads. Big sisters are the ultimate hype squads I’m telling you – and can help some stiff brothers loosen up and get a laugh. That’s exactly what’s happening in the second photo below (big sister A was off camera being silly as can be).
• See if there is a childhood photo they want to re-create. These are so dang sweet!
• Try “look at…” questions for some group poses. Look at the person who was the loudest as a child. Look at the person who got in trouble the most. Keep them light, and go for the laughs!
• Get every combination of children + parents that you can! I feel like family photos are just a game of musical chairs, where you continuously rotate people around – but I think it’s super important. Sometimes for the social media post you want a picture with just one particular siblings, or for mother’s day just a photo of you and your mom (sorry other siblings).
• Make sure to do a few couples photos of the parents. I’ve seen some parents object to these, saying they don’t need them, but I know how much ‘kids’ appreciate them later in life.
You’ve got this everyone! Feel out the vibe of the crew, and just have fun.