Ever wish you had a few tricks up your sleeve for getting kids to smile at the camera? I’m here today to help!
It’s often hard to get natural smiles from kids… and let’s face it, simply saying “cheese” often leads to the some of the cheesiest of smiles. So what to do?
I’m the first to admit that bribery goes a long way, but the last thing we really need is blurry photos due to a sugar high and smiles covered in chocolate. Right? So… instead, here are a few tips that will help you get some natural smiles.
- Chit Chat — I have found that some kids are shy or nervous about making sure they smile, just like the practiced at home, which can look fake or forced. If I just randomly bring my camera down and start chatting about school or what they ate for breakfast or who their favorite super hero is, I can get them talking and they’ll smile without thinking about it and then the don’t even notice when I bring my camera back up and start snapping away.
- Catch them off guard — On occasion, I will say something out of the blue that kids aren’t expecting or make it seem that I’m trying to get a cute smile out of one of the children and end up getting great smiles out of everyone because it lightens the mood and takes the focus off of having to force a smile. This helps to get great natural smiles.
- Distraction — Distraction works really well when kids aren’t cooperating at all. My favorite technique is to ask them to make a silly face or a tiger face and I make faces too. The kids get distracted and start laughing or smiling on their own.
- A little humor — My son always makes a funny face when I go to take his photo. Always. He always looks constipated, but as soon as I say the word, he can’t help laughing hysterically. Of course, I’d never say that to a client, but other jokes work great. For example, if a kid is picking his nose, I ask if he has some tasty cheese-boogars that he can share.
- It is what it is — Many of my clients want picture perfect smiles, but I’m more of a lifestyle type person myself. I absolutely love photos where my kids aren’t smiling, whether is a posed shot or just a quick capture. I’m drawn more to eyes than mouths, so I’d rather avoid squinting eyes from big smiles. Sometimes kids just are who they are and I strive to capture them in the moment. If I don’t get smiles, it’s no biggie… I get a lot of great shots anyways.
Want some examples of these tricks in action? Here is a layout I created using a few photos of the silly faces my daughter makes…
Next time you are photographing kids and find that you’re struggling to get a natural smile from your subject… give a few of these tips a try, and see if they don’t help you capture a fantastic shot or two!
About the Author Farrah Jobling is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Denver with her amazing family — Mike, Nicholas (9), Claire (7), Hope (2 yr old puppy) & Kringle (9 mo old bunny). She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.