Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review: The Design Aglow Posing Guide for Family Portrait Photography by Lena Hyde

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this product, free of charge, from Amphoto Books, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

Here is the second 'learn to take better photos' book I have for you this month!

The Design Aglow Posing Guide for Family Portrait Photography cover

Perhaps you seek beautiful, professional photos of your family, but hope to forego hiring a photographer and learn the craft of capturing memories yourself. Maybe you are a new parent, looking to photograph your child’s first moments with all the posing techniques of a pro. Or maybe you are a professional or aspiring to become one, and are searching for fresh insight into the very best methods to successful family photography and posing.

THE DESIGN AGLOW POSING GUIDE FOR FAMILY PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY will provide insight and inspiration for family photographers of any skill level. This idea book for novices and professionals alike features 100 fresh, modern poses for newborns and babies, children, siblings, and families. These inspiring ideas come straight from the industry’s biggest names, including Anna Kuperberg, Jose Villa, Elizabeth Messina, Tara Whitney, and Rachel Devine. Each pose is accompanied by tips on directing your subjects and suggestions for alternate shots you can capture using the same setup.

Author Lena Hyde, professional photographer and founder of Design Aglow (, offers an easy and accessible guide for taking creative, compelling portraits of family members of all ages. Both practical and inspirational, this guide is an indispensable resource for family photographers of all levels.


The pictures alone in this book (just look back at that adorable cover!), will have your brain spinning away with adorable ideas for taking pictures of your kids! But Lena gives you much more- she gives you tips on how she took the photo, like what lighting she used, how the backdrop came together, or even how the location was picked. These little tips can be huge in changing how your pictures come out, for example, check out the following tips from the book.

The Design Aglow Posing Guide for Family Portrait Photography toddler example

"Everything’s coming up poses when a baby is learning to pull herself up.stabilize a newly standing tot. For something unexpected and fun, photograph from the side and shoot off-center." Some of the most adorable early pictures I have of Miss Grace were posed like this!

"Make backgrounds as simple as possible (especially with infants and toddlers),  to keep the focus where it belongs: on the connection between your subjects." 

The Design Aglow Posing Guide for Family Portrait Photography turn away example

"A pretty young girl’s portrait shot looking at the lens is a darling capture, but the image becomes more dynamic with her head turned away from the camera. Simply ask your subject to look at a certain focal point (such as a tree or flower) for a natural head position, rather than saying, “Turn your head like this.” This also helps to prevent squinting, make sure the subject isn't looking into strong, reflective light".  You can see your pictures already improving, can't you?

The Design Aglow Posing Guide for Family Portrait Photography family example

"When parents are less than enthused about being photographed, this pose is the perfect one to capture parental adoration while keeping the focus on the little one. Seat the parents on a blanket outside with their adorable child right in between them, making sure they are turned toward one another to portray a feeling of unity, not separation." It also puts the focus on the child! I love these types of photos- to me it shows a more natural family dynamic- there is NO mistaking the love of both parents for their child!

The Design Aglow Posing Guide for Family Portrait Photography twirl example

"Little girls love to be dramatic, whether good or bad, so get your subject to respond in 
a big way by having her flounce her skirt (or twirl), and then telling her a funny joke. If you’re photographing in a field, get a second portrait by having her crouch low so that she is immersed in the wildflowers."

All in all, the book is an amazing set of ideas, that will inspire you to seek out less 'posed' photos, with more natural settings and activities, to get some pretty spectacular photos! I can't recommend it enough if you are always taking pictures of your kids/family!

About the Author: 

LENA HYDE is a professional portrait photographer and founder of Design Aglow (, a premier online resource for professional photographers that attracts more than 400,000 visits each month. Lena's photography has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Casa da Fotografia Fuji in Brazil, and has been featured, along with her design work, in such publications as Martha Stewart Everyday Food, USA Today, People, Life, San Francisco Chronicle, Rangefinder, and Professional Photographer; online at The Knot and Decor8; and in the book Mamarazzi. Lena teaches several sold-out workshops each year and acts as a consultant to top photography studios around the world. You can find her at

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