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Don't Pose as a Christmas Tree
Poses tend to fall into two categories: trite to the point of being cliché (huddled around the fireplace! Piled on top of Dad!) and "creative" to the point of being absurd (dressing up as gift boxes?). This one, somehow, is both. "Doing the first book," Bender says, "we spoke to an Olan Mills [the classic portrait studio] photographer who said they used to force them to push certain poses." So if you've been stuck in an outdated tableau like the "totem pole," the "arm shelf" or the "banana boat," you're not alone.

Do Create a Triangle (Not a Conifer)
Jurick relies on active shots to keep the photos looking fresh: Dad lifting the child in the air, teens laughing, a couple walking hand in hand. But if you're set on a static pose, he says, "get the family in somewhat of a triangular composition." Have Dad sit on the ground and let Mom lean against him. If you have young kids, one can lean on Dad, and one can sit on Mom's lap.