Illsley family posed in garden

How to pose for family portraits outdoors

multi generational family posing for portrait in garden

I’m often asked how best to pose a group of people for family portraits outdoors. It’s not easy to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time and smiling. But beyond that, how best to arrange them? By size? Senority? Age?

Grouping people is complicated by a number of factors including height, age, any considerations of mobility, etc. So what’s terribly useful in this instance are props. The correct prop allows for easy arrangement of multiple people of different ages and heights.

The best prop is probably the classic bench. I admit I’ve used these in many family portraits. Partly because I often shoot outdoors in local London parks or in clients’ gardens.

With benches, it tends to be an age/mobility priority, The elder statesmen of the group are normally seated with younger family members standing and in the case of grandchildren, they are often on the knees of the grandparents.

how to pose for Family portrait in park
grandparents and grandchildren posed for family portrait on bench
Grandparents with 8 grandchildren posing for family portrait

I’m not the only one who does this, of course. The photographer responsible for this royal family portrait also made use of a bench, as seen below.

Prince Charles family portrait posed in garden

So next time you are out in a park or garden and need to pose for family portraits, find that bench and use it!


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