Family Portrait Ideas
Part 2 - Triangular Composition

Family portrait ideas are easy to find once you start thinking in terms of design and composition. In particular, geometric shapes are especially pleasing to the eye as they create a sense of harmony and unity, as you can see from this series of photos based on a triangle.

The first shot is just two people, mother and baby but note that the baby is not really contributing much to the triangular composition and that it comes mostly from the way the mother has positioned her knees. So you can see that one person on their own can create a triangular composition.

The most important point of the triangle is the apex and placing the baby's head high up next to the mother's has led to a strong and captivating composition.

This triangular form is very stable, as there is equal weight to all three sides as the apex of the triangle is almost directly above the middle of the base.

However, in the photograph below we find a different kind of triangle, more like a right-angled triangle if you like. This gives a sense of flowing movement from the father's head, through the mother's and baby's, which is heightened by the arms of both mother and father.

The mother's arms resting on top of the father's also give a nice intimate feel and with the baby snugly placed in the centre there is a wonderful feeling of security and peace to the whole composition.

Obviously, you need three points in a composition to form a triangle but you will always have a result that is dynamic. This is because the eye of the viewer tends to move back and forth along the lines of the triangle.

You will also find that the eye is caught within the lines and does not wander outside the picture. Compositions where there are lines that lead the eye out of the picture are perceived as visually weak by the viewer.

If all three points of the triangle are in focus, and share the same contrast and color, there will be equal weight to each of them.

If we wanted to make a photograph with one flower standing out from two others, we could use a triangular composition but make the two in the background less sharp

But with people we normally find all the faces of interest so it is important that sharpness for example is identical for all of the subjects. So make sure your faces are all on the same plane and then focus on the eyes of one of them.

The final photograph uses an inverted triangle again, similar to the one above but this time the whole shape is slightly at an angle to the viewer.

The resulting composition has more movement in it and seems less formal. By turning mum's head towards dad's for the kiss and waiting for the baby to look up, the photographer has captured a lovely shot that surely will end up framed and on display for friends and family to compliment you on your inspirational and original family portrait ideas!

If you enjoyed reading these family portrait ideas, you might like to read Part 1 of the article if you haven't already done so. Just follow the link.

Recommended Reading

› Family Portrait Ideas Part 2

Top of Page

Subscribe to my Photography Newsletter

* indicates required

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: I'm an affiliate with If you use Amazon and would like to help me earn a little money to enable me to keep providing excellent content, click the link to browse through some great photography books. You do not have to buy a book, but I'll receive a small commission on anything you do buy on Amazon within 24 hours. Thanks for your support!