I’ve seen and heard accounts from other photographers, of moms who request candid family photos, and when the photos came back, they asked their photographer why there weren’t any shots with everyone looking at the camera.

As a family photographer, I have learned to decipher the true meaning behind the parent’s intent when they say they want candid photos of the family. Do they really want a candid family photo where everyone is throwing their head back and laughing or do they mean something else? Maybe something in between?

According to Wikipedia, a candid photograph is a photograph captured without creating a posed appearance.

A candid photo is the easiest way to capture a person at ease. They’re relaxed and not holding their breath waiting for the camera to pass judgement on them. The tendency to look unnatural and unrelaxed is high, especially when it’s a group of people being photographed. And so we often say we want something candid because we want to look relaxed. We want to look like we own this space, and not the actual ball of nerves that we are inside. 

People have personalities

And it shows it the littlest of ways. A smirk here, throwing their hands up in the air at the slightest hint of excitement, how big their laugh is, the kindness in their eyes. Mom knows her kids and their personalities, and somehow, she wants to see some of that when she looks at their family photos.

Posed but Candid family photo of family of four in a desert hiking trail in Phoenix Arizona

Posed but candid family photo of family of four, photographed at a desert hiking trail in Phoenix Arizona

I’m yet to meet a parent who will go through a planned family portrait session and not want at least one good portrait of the family where every one is looking at the camera.

The challenge lies in nailing a family portrait where every one (especially the adults) looks good and flattering, and the kids do not look like they’re being forced to pose for the perfunctory family Christmas card photo.

The art of posing is one that a professional photographer like me spends a great deal of time learning and continuously perfecting. From posing just one person to posing and directing a group of people, working within the dynamics of a group of people with different energy levels and temperaments, there are so many different things that go into capturing that beautiful, wholesome family portrait that you know mom will want on her wall.

I’d love to create a beautiful portrait of you and your loved ones, something that will make you smile and light you up every morning when you walk past it in your hallway. Call me.