Have you ever wondered how to make your posing better? Are you looking for natural and relaxed photos, but always seem to end up with clients who look stiff? These natural posing tips can help!

We all want to be able to pose our clients in a way that gives us the photos we imagine, the photos we see all over the internet… We study posing guides and Pinterest shots, and go into our sessions feeling ready, but sometimes, it all falls apart. Something happens and for some reason, we just can’t translate what we have in our minds onto camera for our clients. It feels like good posing is definitely easier said than done. I’ve been there.

But, stress no more. I have found three reliable ways to taking your photos beyond “posing” to getting those relaxed and natural photos you are after. It took some trial and error, but after photographing hundreds of families, I can say without a doubt that these keys are nearly fail proof.


The first key to making your photos look more natural is connection. Nothing screams “awkward family photo!” like family members who look like their afraid of getting cooties. Encourage your clients to get in tight and close, more than what may feel natural to them. Look for small details like making sure there are no gaps between their bodies, and having them lean in towards each other. Even having them lean their heads in towards one another can convey a feeling of closeness that otherwise wouldn’t be there. Take a look at this example below. In the second photo, I asked them to lean their heads towards each other. Just this one small change helped them look less stiff and more connected.

natural posing tips


One of my favorite ways to take the stiffness out of a posed shot is to incorporate some sort of movement. Sure, there are the obvious “movement shots” like walking:

natural posing tips

But don’t stop there! Some of the best ways I have gotten my clients to relax into a pose is by requesting small movements that force their bodies to relax. Movement is so natural for the human body, that even the smallest, most familiar of movements can go a long way towards relaxing your clients. Things about things like having them take in a deep breath and then let it out, or asking them to hold the side of their dress and gently sway the dress back and forth.

In this photo, I wanted the daughter to relax into the moment with her parents, so I just asked her to take a breath and then give dad a gentle hug on his arm.

natural posing tips

And for these phots, I got natural and relaxed photos by asking my client to gently sway her dress.

If you’re clients are too stiff and rigid, it will show in their photos. These small movements put the body in a natural state of motion that causes their bodies to relax.

Get Your Clients on Board

When your clients are on board with a more relaxed style, it opens up so much freedom for your session. When they are expecting the traditional, posed and stiff photos, that is what they feel like they “must do” for you. Communicate to your clients that you love to capture natural and relaxed photos. You can do this by:

  • Showing them the style you want to shoot

Do the photos on your website and social media show relaxed and natural photos that you are proud of? If not, it’s time to replace them. What you show your clients will be what they come to expect from you, so make sure you are using your online presence to display the types of photos you want to take MORE of!!

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  • Preparing them ahead of time for what to expect

Give your clients a Session Guide that tells them what to expect during a session with you! Whether this is something you physically mail them, something you send via email, or a page linked to your website, go out of your way to communicate your desire and intention to help them relax and be themselves so that you can capture them as they really are.

Need a session guide? We have one for you in our Family Portraits Toolkit! You can find it here!

When you are at the session, always start by giving overview of what you anticipate the session looking like, and let them know that it’s ok to relax and be themselves, and maybe not even look at you all the time. Most people are unsure of what to do at a photo session, so give permission to not look at the camera!

Don’t forget to check out our Family Posing Guide & our Couple’s Posing Guide for more posing inspiration and tips!

When you prepare your clients ahead of time, ensure they are connected and even incorporate small but natural movements into your photos, you will see a huge difference! My photos are so much more relaxed and authentic than they used to be, simply from implementing these three things. We stress about posing and get lost in the details, but ultimately the things that make the biggest difference really aren’t that hard to incorporate at all. At your next session, try incorporating these tips, and then come back and let us know how they worked for you!

Looking for more on Posing & Natural Photos?

6 Simple Family Posing Tips for the Photographer
3 Tips to Capture Emotion & Connection
5 Must Read Posing Tips for Families & Couples


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