As described by Lisa Bany.


Oh, the uses for Family Portraits! I use this for team building, for brain yoga, for non-verbal communication, for trusting your gut and embracing imperfection, for character and scene idea development, and for performances!

Divide the group in half. Groups gather together as if they’re having a family picture taken, perhaps with some levels, some folks standing behind others who are sitting, etc. If on zoom, see if you can put one team on top and the other on the bottom. I also like to let each group come up with a fun team name for themselves. 

When it’s your team’s turn, someone from the other team will suggest a kind of family, or a famous family, fictional or non-fictional. Your team then has three seconds to morph into a pose of that family. The other team then gives you a second and third suggestion, and each time you have three seconds to morph into a picture of the new family. Three seconds is not enough time to discuss, plan it out, and make it perfect. Three seconds is enough time to check in with your teammates, silently work together, and create a comedic portrait. If you get a suggestion of a family you are not familiar with, you’re in luck! You have a team that has your back. You can mirror someone on your team, and it’ll look great!

Sample of Play:

Team 1 has named themselves Team Amazing

Team 2 has named themselves The Yes Team

Leader: Can I get a suggestion from the Yes Team for a famous family or type of family

Yes Team member: The Musical Family

Leader (counts while Team Amazing pose like Musical Family) One, two, three, freeze!

Leader: Yes Team, what is Team Amazing showing you or saying about a musical family?

(short discussion)

Leader: What family do you want to see next, Yes Team?

Yes Team member: The Kardashians!

Leader: One, two, three, freeze! (Team Amazing are frozen like the Kardashians)

(short discussion on what they’re telling us with their photo, such as sassy, self-centered, etc)

Leader: Next family suggestion from the Yes Team?

Yes Team member: The Royal Family

Leader: One, two, three, freeze.

(Team Amazing pose as royalty, brief discussion on how we can tell they’re royalty)

Switch turns so Team Amazing gives The Yes Team suggestions.