The metalanguage of paintings was a big deal in the Neo-Classical, Romantic, Renaissance periods — each person’s position and pose in the painting was carefully calculated. The viewer, if able to “read” the painting, was privy to “relative status” information that a casual observer missed.

sampleposes Are the couples torsos turned to face each other? Are the kids between them or on the outside? Is the mother the heart of the family and everyone gathers around her? Skilled viewers can read the body language in the photo. Often, the most pleasing shots are those that are true to the personality of the family.

Raise the camera just above eye level so it angles down on the group slightly. This shift visually lengthens and slims bodies. Also by forcing the group to lift their heads slightly to be eye-to-lens hides their double chins.