The Ultimate Guide to Taking Unposed Family Photos


One of my favorite kinds of photography is unposed sessions. I have recently discovered a new love for capturing completely unprompted, documentary-style photos. There is something so magical about pictures that represent authentic interactions and relationships. 

In my personal life, I have been dipping my toe into this style of photography, and it has been so fun! In this blog post, I shared some images from a recent family trip that are all examples of how unposed moments can really capture the essence of family life.

While my client sessions usually include plenty of posing, I have loved incorporating candid, unprompted moments. These images give their gallery depth and variation! It’s also so fun to hear back that those images are some of their favorites too.

I want to share a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for and take unposed family photos. It’s totally doable for anyone who wants to try this style! Let’s dive right in.

Act Naturally

The key factor in successfully taking unposed family photos is helping your clients act naturally. It’s totally normal for people to freeze up and come across as stiff in their photos because they aren’t comfortable in front of the camera. As the photographer, you have the power to help ease their awkwardness and encourage genuine interactions and movements. For kids especially, it’s helpful to have a few toys or games on hand to help them relax.

Use Your Surroundings

When planning your sessions, look for locations that are conducive to simple activities or props. On our family trip, one of our favorite photo spots was this little riverside area. The calm water and close trees made it easy to play and lounge in a hammock. We took some of my favorite photos there! In your sessions, think of ways your clients can incorporate the location to shift their focus from the camera to each other.

Encourage Genuine Interactions

The beauty of unprompted photo sessions is found in the in-between moments, like after a sibling does something funny or a parent cracks a joke. Remind your families that it’s important that they chat with each other throughout the session like they normally would. Don’t try to force a schedule during the session, let things flow naturally. Allow pairs to break off from the group and capture them at a distance. 

Blend into the Background

As the photographer, your job is to blend into the background as much as possible. Let your families do their thing! Sometimes it’s hard to act naturally when you feel the pressure of a clicking camera or constant prompts from the photographer. This doesn’t mean you need to stay silent during the entire shoot but try not to interject prompts into your clients’ interactions too often. Being patient is one of the best ways to get genuine shots.

Be Creative

Unprompted family photo sessions are a perfect opportunity to incorporate storytelling into your images. As different siblings and parents are interacting, look for sequences of events that give insight into the unique relationships between family members. Think outside the box and take photos from different perspectives. Focus on specific things, like eyes, hands, or smiles. 

Unposed family photography is about leaning into what makes each group unique. Every family will naturally gravitate towards different interactions that feel comfortable for them. The memories you make and the moments you capture will be irreplaceable.


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Meet kailee


As someone who wears a lot of hats (wife, momma, nurse, and photographer). I know that those once in a lifetime moments can truly fly by. My mission is to capture those beautiful moments so that you can come back to them years down the road and relive them! The best way to do that if to find out who YOU are and what type of moments YOU treasure the most.

Wanna meet me? I love my cute family, the pop of my Made by Mary necklace over my heather grey sweatshirt, and eating ice cream for every occasion - Tillamook Mudslide is my favorite!

And I can't wait to get to know you!

I’m Kailee

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