Capturing Emotion vs Posing During Your Photography Session | Bay Area Photographer

May 8, 2021

Grandma hugging child


family in park


My dad was a photographer for Olan Mills when I was born, and family portraits were important to my family when I was growing up.  I remember getting all dressed up and going to Olan Mills once a year.  


When I look back at those images today, I often laugh.  I laugh at our hair and our clothes.  I like looking at the photos, but I don’t see any emotion in them.  They were all very posed images.  Everyone was smiling and looking at the camera.

For me, as a photographer, photography is the art of telling a story through images.  I want a viewer to feel my images through the authentic connection and emotion that is captured. 

Read on for tricks I use for capturing the essence of your family and the connections you share. 

Family in park

I talk…a lot!

  • Talking helps people relax.  So expect me to ask about you and your family.  What kinds of things do you like?  What makes your kids laugh?  I might ask you to tell a funny story about your spouse or ask the kids to tell their favorite joke.


I look for a familiar location.

  • By choosing a familiar location, I know that my clients will be more comfortable in front of the camera.   If your family loves going out for ice cream every week, let’s do your session at the ice cream parlor.  Telling stories about why the location is important to you will also help you relax and be more emotive.  

Family in park

I ask you to move and enjoy the moment.

  • It’s hard to show emotion and connection if you’re sitting still!  During your session, there will be cuddling, kissing, running, jumping, and maybe even dancing.  All of these things will keep you from just standing awkwardly, wondering where you should put your hands.

Family in park

I give direction without posing.

  • Capturing emotion in your images does require some direction.  I’ll show you where to stand and guide you on hand placement.   I may turn you so that the light is better.  But I won’t pose you perfectly and yell, “cheese.”

If you’re ready for your next family session, reach out today!

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