5 Tips for Taking Candid Family Pictures

For Photographers

If you follow my photography at all you probably know by now that I love the lifestyle/natural feel for my photos. Sure I’ll get some of those posed “typical family photo” shots as well. But the majority of my shots will be getting those real, raw moments. I love when my clients look at their gallery and quickly email me back telling me how I captured their personalities perfectly. That’s what I want. 

Everybody gets a little awkward when they’re put in front of a camera and told to smile. It’s just uncomfortable. And if you pose everyone like dolls and then run back to your camera and yell “say cheese!” you’re going to get a lot of stiff people with forced smiles. I’m going to share some of my go-to tricks to get clients to loosen up for natural candid photos.


1. Ice Breakers

I like to start my session right off the bat with some ice breakers. I will tell them a general area to stand or sit and then say something like “don’t worry about posing yourselves or looking at me, I’m just getting the lighting right”. This immediately allows them to relax and forget about the camera. Usually they’ll turn and start talking to each other or start playing with their kids and they’re thinking we haven’t started yet while I’m happily snapping away getting those real moments.


2. Tickle Fight!

I love to randomly yell out “tickle fight!” in the middle of taking pictures. Especially when the kids start getting restless. Constantly switching things up and moving around is key to keeping little ones happy. And tickling each other is such a great way to not only make the kids happy, but also to break out the real laughter for everyone. Once the tickling has winded down I’ll hurry and say “okay now everyone look at me and smile!” And all of a sudden instead of stiff uncomfortable smiles, I have relaxed genuine smiles. Works like a charm.


3. Walking

Walking or even running poses are a classic favorite. Remember those restless kids I was talking about? This one’s perfect for them. In this particular session cute little Norah kept saying she was done with pictures and she wanted to go on an adventure. Instead of saying “nope sorry, you have to sit still and smile for me right now,”  I ran with it and we took a break from the photoshoot to go on a little adventure! I told her to hold her mom and dad’s hand while we went exploring and voila: cute pictures and a happy kid. Win-win.


4. Look at each other

Clients get so tired of constantly looking at the camera making the same exact face. So switch it up! I love to just yell out, “Now everyone look at mom!” “Now everyone look at Norah!” “Now everyone look at ME!” I’ve found when you are switching it up quickly like that they have no time to think about it and you get that candid & natural shot you’re going for. Plus then when you finish with everyone looking at you once again, by that time the forced I’m-Done-With-This smile is gone!


5. All the snuggles

Snuggles, snuggles, and more snuggles. Big group hugs, eskimo kisses, all of it. It’s what those emotional pictures are made of people. This is where you capture the true relationships and love in a family. They always end up being my favorite pictures from the session, and they’re usually your clients favorite too. So remember: when in doubt… snuggle!



Meet the Blogger.

Thanks for stopping by!
I'm Alexis. Photographer, World Traveler, Wife, Twin Mom, and lover-of-all-things-pumpkin.

Here you'll find the sessions I've done, advice for photographers and future clients, and the occasional personal post starring my favorites humans.

I like to keep it real, if you dig that then I'll probably dig you.

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Email: alexisfoustphotography@gmail

Located in Northern Utah
Available for Travel Worldwide


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