Tips On Planning and Posing for Family Sessions

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Today’s feature is from Tiffany Bender.

Tiffany says:

“I am so blessed to work with amazing clients, they are what make my job an absolute dream. For this session I was working with a repeat client with whom I really connected with, both personally and professionally.

The first shoot I had with them was epic – and this had to be even more than that! This required a LOT of brainstorming, inspiration, styling and prepping.

I wanted my clients to enjoy the time were spending together and feel like we were creating something magical. The family was full of laughs all evening, we all had so much fun!”

Tiffany’s Photography Tip:

There’s a lot of planning that goes into a Munchkins and Mohawks session, particularly with posing.

A notebook and pen are the perfect tools for creating the list of shots I’m going to capture at the session. I am known to draw stick figure scenes of all the shots I want to capture – they’re not pretty, but they do the trick!

When I’m drawing my stick figures, I’m thinking about creating triangles so that my clients’ heads are at different levels. I start with the family grouping and have poses for them in positions where they’re all standing up and then sitting down.

With groups, I want them to get as close together as possible because I don’t want any gaps between individuals. Most importantly, I draw the scenes exactly as I intend to shoot them, and I don’t compromise when it comes to carrying it out.

It is my job to provide the client with a session that is magical as well as innovative. If it takes 15 minutes to get set up for 1 shot, that’s what we do.

Drawing out the scene shots also helps commit it to my memory as well, and while I’m shooting the session I can also see the little stick drawings in my mind (I still carry my notebook with me though too for quick reference).

That way I also know what setup and posing scene comes next. A posing plan helps me have a smooth session and it ensures that I capture all the posing possibilities I’ve come up with!

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Tiffany used a Nikon D3s (affiliate link) with a Nikon 35mm lens (affiliate link), a Nikon 50mm lens (affiliate link), a Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 lens (affiliate link), and a Nikon 200mm 2.0 lens (affiliate link)to capture these images.

Tiffany Bender is a Pittsburgh, PA Children’s photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Posing.


Composition is a big part of posing. If you need help drawing out some of your own diagrams, we highly suggest this guide all about the breakdown of composition.

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