©2014 Resa Design PhotographyHere is a look behind getting this shot. It’s not as hard as you might be thinking. You can even do it with your phone!

STEP 1: I laid the blanket out in an area of the yard with even light. This session was purposefully schedule towards the end of the day. I usually allow 2 hours for family sessions. In the fall it’s tricky scheduling them because the later in the fall it gets, the shorter the days get. One year I made a HUGE mistake and forgot about day light savings time and schedule all my sessions after that day at the wrong time. I won’t do that again! NOTE: I faced their chins toward the sun. I did this because I didn’t need their hair lit as much as I wanted their faces lit.

STEP 2: I put the littlest head in the middle. Well relatively in the middle, since there are four kids. Then I planned to put the “biggest” head on the outside, and well I didn’t want the boys and girls together so I staggered them. I wanted the littlest head in the middle so I could get a little bit more angle and pull them closer together by differing the hight a little big. I also didn’t want her head to fall off the side and throw off the proportion of the composition.

HDUGTS_kidsHeads_bSTEP 3: Squish them together. You can see there are a few shoulders overlapping. My goal was to get their heads together as close as possible. This will feel uncomfortable, so if your clients are not into closeness, save the squishy part until the end.

STEP 4: Stepped behind the kids heads. I know! You thought I was right over their bellies right? Tricky, tricky. I was standing behind their heads (see my toes here). Why? 1- no chance of any shadows on their faces. 2- I got them to look a bit more because they almost had to look backwards. 3- it’s more comfortable for the clients, usually, if you aren’t standing “on” them.

©2014 Resa Design PhogotraphySTEP 5: Photograph! I took quite a few pictures in this pose. Them looking right at the camera smiling. Not smiling. And finally I got them to laugh. I’m not sure how, but a fart joke usually does the trick with kids. Also, threatening to tickle can do it sometimes too. Honestly, I usually start with, “Give me your best fake laugh.” If that doesn’t work, I move to the previous suggestions.

HDUGTS_kidsHeads_eSTEP 6: Rotate in editing software and edit as needed. In this case I had to take my toes out of most of the images. I also brightened them up a little bit and applied my favorite filter, all in Lightroom.

©2014 Resa Design Photography HDUGTS_kidsHeads_c

Cheers to happy posing! -Resa


Candid photos are maybe my second favorite kind (right behind black and white). I think one of the tricks to capturing your own kids without them posing, is taking photos often. Eventually I think their brains say, “Oh, there’s mom with the camera again.” Sometimes I take a few posed ones, and then when we are ‘done’, I shoot a few more. Distracted children are also easier to photograph candidly, and whatever they are/were doing is what made you pick up the camera in the first place. So just get them back to that task. Don’t be afraid to recreate an event if you missed it.

CHALLENGE: Take a photo of your kids doing work.
Tying shoes,
Eating an apple,
Brushing teeth,
Making a sandwich,
Cleaning up (does that even happen if you’re watching?)…

Share the link to your photo in the comments below.

When you are photographing a growing family, you usually end up with a few kids who are shorter than the rest. This can sometimes look awkward. You know the photo…. Dad’s head is at the top of the image and preschool boy’s head is just sneaking on the bottom. Or worse, someone bends their knees to get their head closer to the rest, and then just looks all uncomfortable and miss-proportioned.

To compensate for this, try using a prop. In this photo I used an old milk crate. It blended in nicely with the set, which was my goal. (I prefer props to not draw too much attention to themselves and look authentic to the set. I’ll talk about that in a post someday.) By having the shortest child stand on the crate, I brought the focal points closer to the center of the image.

Other ways to compensate for height differences in family photos with children:
-Have everyone sit down.
-Hold smaller children on hips and pose them on outside (so they don’t get hidden in shadows). Here’s an example or like this.

-Sit on a couch like this

I found this shot on Pinterest the other day and I thought it was a great example of working your family’s style. Plus, how well did they rock the stripes? I love the little guy in the suspenders with the red stripes, right next to the girls in the stripped leggings. I personally don’t have the guts to rock such fun outfits, but you can totally tell they are comfortable, this is totally normal for them, and that they must be a super fun family. Props to Simplicity Photography for a great image.

Source: simplicityphotography.com via Resa on Pinterest