How to Pose Children Outside

February 14, 2021
how to pose children outside

Are you stuck for ideas on how to pose your children outside for photographs? Not sure how to position them, or how to direct them?

Now we know that children aren’t always the most co-operative of subjects (I’m going to write a whole other blog post with tips for how to keep them interested) but for now let’s assume that they’re in the right mood, behaving nicely, and you’ve got the chance to get some quick pictures.  What can you do, to ensure you don’t waste this precious opportunity? How do you pose them?

Here’s my Top 5 Tips for How to Pose Children!

1. Bodies

Don’t have them just stand next to each other – it’s the most boring, unflattering thing you can do! If they’re cuddly with each other, have them sling an arm round each other (waists, not shoulders, otherwise you’ll get strangling) either side by side or leaning into each other. This can work as a full length pose or a three-quarter length.

Heads tilted towards each other, even rested against each other, gives you a more connected look.

how to pose children

If they don’t “do” cuddles, back to back often works well. Just watch out for the one child who always wants to lean on the other one!

how to pose children

2. Hands

Don’t leave them dangling.  Hands can go in pockets (one hand in and one hand out works well), or arms can be folded. Even if they’re not keen on cuddles, a good compromise is to have resting hands on each other’s arms – hook a hand over a wrist, a shoulder, or hold an elbow.  It makes them look connected and avoids dangling hands.

3. Use your surroundings!

If there’s a fence, or bench, or tree, get them to lean against it, on it, next to it.  It gives them something to pose and interact with as opposed to standing awkwardly.  Make sure you photograph them at eye level, rather than looking up or down at them – you might have to bend down to ensure you’re on the same level as them.

4. Get them sitting down!

If the ground is wet or cold, get them to crouch or squat.  Then make sure that you crouch too, so you’re photographing from the same level (NOT looking down on them).  This gives you a different angle, makes your children the subject rather than the landscape,  and provides variety in your pictures.  

If you see anything that works as natural steps, use it! It’s a good way of getting full body shots without having them just standing, and a very easy way to pose them. 

5. Use a variety of distances!

Once you have them in a pose, keeping reminding them to hold still, and take 3 variations of it; full-length, three-quarter length (head, shoulders, down to waist) and then close-up (heads only). 

These three images are all the same pose, held still while I moved closer or zoomed in. Full-length shots show off your surroundings; three quarter length are usually very flattering; and head-shots blur the background beautifully to make your child stand out.

And for a bonus tip on how to pose your children: KISS! Keep It Short and Sweet! Children will get bored of posing very quickly. Make sure you allow them plenty of play in between and they’re much more likely to stop for the odd posed picture!

Have fun!

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