Although I love serious thoughtful portraits, sometimes you just want a to capture a genuine smiling image of your children. This is easier said than done! Sometimes they don’t want to smile, or even worse they give you a fake forced smile. Saying cheese does not do the trick. However, there are some surefire ways for making those smiles emerge. Here are a few tips:
1. GET READY
Before asking your child to smile get ready. They will lose their patience quickly if asked to stand still for a long time and wait for you to adjust your camera settings. Get your camera ready, choose a spot with good light, find a non-distracting background and then ask them to pose for a picture.
2. PLAY GAMES
For younger children a simple game of peekaboo behind the camera works well. For older children, try having them play telephone, guess a number you are thinking of or freeze tag.
3. LET THEM MOVE
Involve them in an activity that they enjoy. While they are having fun capture their smiles. If need be, ask them to quickly look at the camera and smile. If they are already having fun, the image will be a genuine smile.
4. TALK TO THEM
Figure out what they are into and ask questions. For younger kids try birthdays and pets. For older kids what do they love? Sports? Music? Keep them talking and they will relax and smile.
5. CUDDLES HUGS and TICKLES
Even the most uncomfortable parent or child will soften and smile when given a big hug.
So now you never need to “say Cheese” again. With these tricks, you will have all you need to capture the happiest faces and most authentic smiles from your kids.
Emmy Fox is a photographer and mother of two.