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5 Reasons Unposed Family Photos Are Just Better | Oakland Family Photographer

Written By:

Maryam Salassi

Jan 12, 2021

I am a BIG fan of unposed family photos.

There’s an idea out there of what the “perfect” family photo should look like—sitting together on the couch or under a tree, smiling at the camera in carefully coordinated outfits. There’s nothing wrong with this type of photo, but it can be stressful. The perfect outfits, the perfect hair, the perfect pose, perfect behaviour from the kids…it’s a lot! And the results tend to be a bit stuffy.

In the end, no family is perfect (what is perfect, anyway?!) and so why should that be the goal for your family photo session?

Unposed family photos are exactly as they sound—candid photos of your family, typically in the midst of a fun activity or going about your normal routine. And in my opinion as an experienced Bay Area family photographer, they’re pretty awesome. 

Here are a few reasons why you should consider taking the unposed route!


mom and dad sitting on couch with baby and two kids popping out from behind the couch


1. Capture real life 

Striving for perfection doesn’t reflect the crazy, beautiful chaos of real family life—which is perfect in its own way! 

An unposed family photo session is the best way to capture your family’s real emotions and connection. It gives me the chance to snap pictures of the things you love most about your family. It’s all about those little moments that matter most, like your kiddos eating their favorite cereal for breakfast or playing together in the yard. 

You’ll be able to look back at your unposed, lifestyle family photos years down the road and have a good laugh (and maybe shed a nostalgic tear or two) as you reminisce about what life was like during this special time.


two brothers playing in the ocean with the waves crashing over their legs


2. It’s easier for kids

An unposed family photo session allows kids to be themselves. 

Kids are kids, and if you let them do their thing, the images are true to life and more appealing. Not only does this make it much easier to capture their unique personalities, but not having to force little ones into poses lets them feel more comfortable and in control. And comfortable kiddos means less fussing (although that can be pretty cute on camera, too!).

Unposed photos allow for flexibility. If one approach isn’t working, we switch it up. We try playing with their favorite toys, running around to burn off some steam, walking to the park, cuddling up with a picture book…we find a way to make it work! 


two kids sitting on stoop talking


3. Movement is magnetic

Adding some movement to your photos is a great way to make them more interesting and unique. It creates emotion, which draws the viewer into the photograph. Still poses just don’t have the same magnetism!

Your family photographs will be more dynamic, and will have the ability to bring you back to a specific moment in time. 


mom swinging toddler daughter around as dad sits on back porch in oakland backyard


4. Crazy photos make great gifts

Do you really want to send another formal Christmas card with a photo of your family looking prim and proper? Or do you want to be the family who puts a huge grin on the face of everyone who opens your mail this year?

Family photos always make lovely presents (especially for the grandparents—they can never get enough!). But by showing your loved ones a little slice of what your family is really like, you’re offering them a real gift. 

Whether you choose to share a sweet and sentimental moment full of emotion, or a hilarious mishap that was caught on camera, unposed family photos are sure to stand out.


two girls in bedroom with one squishing her face


5. You can have fun during unposed family photos

What sounds more fun: spending hours striving for perfect poses, or spending hours playing and enjoying your favorite activities together?

As a lifestyle family photographer, my job is to capture your family without much interference. I may throw out the occasional queue and am happy to offer guidance when needed, but in general, you get to do your thing and leave the photos up to me!

Whether it’s spending a day together at the beach or a park (there are so many awesome outdoor locations for family photos in the Bay Area!), getting a treat at your favorite ice cream store and strolling around the city, or snuggling up in the comfort of your own home, you get to spend your session enjoying some quality time with your family.


three kids running through house with stuffed snake


Now that you know some more about unposed family photos and the reasons why they rock, it’s time to book your session! Contact me here so we can chat about your lifestyle family photo session in Oakland or the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area. 

You can also find more helpful information about family photos here:

How to prepare for your family photography session

Dressing for family photos: mixing patterns

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