10 Super Simple Photography Prompts for Families

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10 Super Simple Photography Prompts for Families

Use these 10 Super Simple Photography Prompts for families the next time you are shooting family photos.  Whether you are a hobby photographer shooting your best friend’s family or a professional who takes clients, you need to know how to get people feeling comfortable when you’re about to photograph them!  Getting people to smile and look like they are having a great time can be difficult when you’re posing them into awkward positions and strange angles.

Photography Prompts are a perfect solution!  Instead of moving people into positions that feel weird, try playing with them and prompting them to have fun.  The results will show in photos that look and feel much more natural.

Irina Culic, of Forever Ours Photography (based in the UK), shares a recent family session where she used many of these prompts.  Her work is stunning, and the prompts make the whole process so simple.  Enjoy these ten super simple photography prompts for families that you must try at your next family session!

Photography Prompt for Families #1

Ring Around the Rosie

A great way to get your family comfortable is to start by playing a game.  If you’re working with young children, a quick game of Ring Around the Rosie can get everyone in the mood for fun!  Be ready to catch the family from every angle, and be sure to capture their faces while they spin.  It is entertaining for everyone to have the kids pile on top of dad when “they all fall down.”

family playing using ring around the rosie Photography Prompt for Families
Photo by Irina Culic

Photography Prompt for Families #2

Piggy Back Rides

Who doesn’t like a piggyback ride?  Of course, it’s always a good idea to ask first in case your subject has a not-so-obvious reason they can’t carry the weight of a person on their back, but most parents jump on board pretty quickly for this one!  Kids always love piggyback rides!

mom and dad giving 2 kids piggyback rides using piggyback ride Photography Prompt for Families
Photo by Irina Culic

Photography Prompt for Families #3

Race to the Photographer

Having the kids race to me might be my favorite photography prompt for families.  It is so simple and leads to such a great photo!  Kids love to move, and they especially love to run.  If the kids are already running around, as they were during Irina’s shoot, then you can ask them to race to you and see who gets there first.

boy and girl racing toward the camera using race to photographer Photography Prompt for Families
Photo by Irina Culic

You can also set up a seemingly impromptu race in advance.  In the photo below, I had mom and dad stand in the background holding hands and prompted the little guy to run to me as fast as he could.  This photo is not only super cute but scores big bonus points because that little guy is my very first grandson!  I love his splayed fingers while he concentrated so hard on the race to get to this Hip Grandma!

little boy running to camera using the run to photographer photography prompt for families
Photo by Veronicajune Photography

Bonus Tip

Camera Settings

If you want to get this kind of shot where the parents or the background is blurred out, make a quick setting adjustment.  Be sure to open up your aperture (smaller #) to create that creamy bokeh in the behind your main subject.  For a deeper look at creating bokeh in your photos, read Take Your Photos to the Next Level by Understanding Depth of Field

Photography Prompt for Families #4

Fill in the Blank Questions

This photography prompt for families will indeed produce some giggles.  Have the family sit together and pose for a couple of shots.  Then, when they aren’t expecting it, ask them, “who farts the loudest in your family?”  The reactions will be a hoot!

family photo with mom and dad, one son and one daughter
Photo by Irina Culic

Of course, you can switch this prompt up by changing out the fart question to any number of fill-in-the-blank questions.  Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Who eats the most in your family?
  • Who cries the most in your family
  • Who is grumpiest in the morning?
  • Who is loudest in the morning?
  • Who has the stinkiest feet?
  • Who has the baldest head?

There’s no end to the questions you can ask.  Just fill in the blanks of these questions with whatever you’re comfortable with and according to how old the kids are.  I love this prompt a whole lot for older kids.  You can pepper out several questions in a row to see everyone look back and forth amongst one another.

Photography Prompt for Families #5

The Sweetest kisses

If you are photographing a reluctant mama, then here is a sure-fire way to get a smile from her!  Nothing makes a mom smile bigger than a batch of sweet kisses from her family.  The prompt is simple.  Lean in and give mom some sweet kisses on the cheek!

mom receiving kisses on cheeks from two children using sweetest kisses Photography Prompt for Families
Photo by Irina Culic

Last fall, I had my dear friend DeeAnn of DeeAnn Feick Photography take family photos of me, my husband, and my one son who remains at home (the other four have grown and flown from the nest).  My very favorite shot from the whole session was this one with my husband and my 12-year-old son giving me some sweet kisses.

Mom receiving kisses on cheeks from husband and son using give mom the sweetest kisses photography prompt for families
Photo by DeeAnn Feick, Edit by Veronicajune Photography

Just in case you wondered, even dads can get in on the action and enjoy some sweet kisses, too!

dad getting kisses on cheeks from his children
Photo by Irina Culic

Related from my friends at Digital Photography School:  How to do Gentle Posing: A Collection of Prompts to Get You Started 

Photography Prompt for Families #6

Kisses are Gross!

On the flip side, when you have preteen kids in your family shoot, they may only last for a couple of those sweet kiss poses.  But some of the best shots are when they make their most natural expression.  This photo shows my 12-year-old son, who was prompted by photographer DeeAnn Feick of Northville, MI, to make his best eye roll while mom and dad share a kiss behind him.  He very happily obliged for this shot, and I love that it is a natural face that we see on the regular at my house!  I know there will come a day when I’ll look back at this photo and remember his salty expression with fondness.  Someday my son will appreciate how much his mom and dad love each other, but for now, ew!

boy rolling his eyes while mom and dad kiss behind him using kisses are gross photography prompt for families
Photo by DeeAnn Feick, Edit by Veronicajune Photography

Photography Prompt for Families #7

How much do you love each other?

Irina shares how she got this sweet photo of these siblings, “I first asked them if they ever fight, and the reply was a lot!  But after I asked if they love each other despite the fighting.  The answer was YES!  Then I asked them to show me with a hug how much they love each other.”

sister and brother hugging
Photo by Irina Culic

As a parent, don’t you love seeing your kids loving one another?  True confession:  I still love when I see my grown adult kids bonding and helping each other out.  A mom never gets tired of seeing her kids love each other.  This prompt is a perfect way to make that happen!

Photography Prompt for Families #8

Treasure Hunt

When you have a family with small children, searching for bugs, sticks, leaves, and rocks can be so much fun.  This photography prompt for families works well if you have camera-shy kiddos at your shoot.  Have mom or dad get them involved in looking for a treasure on the ground (even better if you plan ahead and hide a tiny toy or coin).  When they are engaged in hunting and are paying little to no attention to the camera, you can snap a few shots of parent and child interacting naturally, as shown here with my son and grandson.  My grown son doesn’t always appreciate having his photo taken, so I really love his natural expression here with his son.

little boy and dad searching the ground using the search for treasure photography prompt for families
Photo by Veronicajune Photography

Photography Prompt for Families #9

Make the Silliest Faces

This one works for everyone in the family.  Who doesn’t love to make crazy faces when the camera is on them?  Even my 2-year-old grandson got into the game on this one.  The trick is to be ready.  As soon as the silly face goes away, a great big smile will follow.  Be sure and set your camera on burst mode (or high-speed shutter), to get a variety of smiles as they play out.  It is also essential to make sure you set your shutter speed fast enough to catch the action between faces.  For more about shutter speed, check out Using Shutter Speed to Freeze Action

Little boy sticking tongue out flanked by parents holding hands
Photo by Veronicajune Photography
little boy smiling flanked by parents holding his hands
Photo by Veronicajune Photography
little boy smiling sweetly flanked by parents holding hands
Photo by Veronicajune Photography

Photography Prompt for Families #10

Share Some Wisdom

If you have a family with older and younger kids, this photography prompt for families works incredibly well.  Have one of the older kids reach an arm around the younger brother or sister, look into their eyes, and share a piece of wisdom or great advice.  This prompt works well for father and child or mother and child as well.  If you are lucky enough to photograph a child with a grandparent, you MUST  prompt the grandparent to share some wisdom with their grandchild.

dad and son looking at one another using the wisdom photography prompt for families

Photography Prompt for Families Bonus

Prompts for Mom and Dad

When you are photographing a family, you don’t want to forget a couple of shots with just mom and dad without kids, too.  Irina shared these two prompts she used for her family session, and look at the incredible results!

Look each other in the eyes with your noses close but not touching.

husband and wife looking into one another's eyes
Photo by Irina Culic

In your sexiest voice, tell her what you had for breakfast.

dad whispering in mom's ear
Photo by Irina Culic

You know we had to get in on the action, too, with the sexy cereal prompt…  You never know how that one is gonna end.

man with head back laughing using sexy cereal photography prompt for families
Photo by Veronicajune Photography

Be sure and check out Promptography for Couples – The Art of Prompting for Natural Poses for a whole list of photography prompts for couples.

One thing is for sure, no matter who you are photographing, be sure and keep pressing your shutter as you switch from one prompt to another.  Some of the most amazing shots come from taking a few candids while your subjects are transitioning.  Check out this extra special mom/son moment from Irina.

mom kissing son on forehead
Photo by Irina Culic

Wrapping it All Up!

Once you get into the habit of prompting instead of posing, you will find many ways to use photography prompts for families and couples.  Your friends and clients will love their photos and have great memories of the time they spent with you!

I’ve put all of these photography prompts for families together into a handy cheat sheet for you to clip and use the next time you’re photographing a family.

Cheat sheet showing 10 photography prompt for families

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