Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Top Ten Tips for Getting Kids to Smile for Pictures

Your kid is always full of smiles.
Those smiles brighten your day and touch your heart. They look like their true self when they smile. 
Then along comes the day of your family portraits and your kids are giving weird fake smiles or no smiles at all. How frustrating! 
Well, not to worry, we're here to save you!
Here are some things I have learned while photographing 
children over the years, and I hope it gives you 
an advantage on picture day. Best of luck!

Top 10 Tips for Getting Kids 
to Smile for Pictures:

#10: Let them pose themselves for a while.
The kid doesn't want to listen? Great! Listen to them for a while. Just let them know that once they do it their way they are going to have to do some of your poses. Kids are great at making their own poses and sometimes their poses capture their personality better than making them be where they don't want to be. 

#9: Take the photos individually 
and digitally stitch them together
When you are trying to get a group shot, but the kids aren't cooperating, try taking the photos individually and digitally stitch them together. This is a great technique when you have a lot of smaller children. This allows the photographer to focus on each child to get the best shot of them. You can then choose your favorite of each child and arrange a family photo with all smiles.

#8: Interact with them.
Tickle them! Throw them in the air! Hang them up-side-down! You know your kid. How do they like to play? Not only does this generate genuine smiles from your kids, but it also gives action and a fun family look.

#7: Smile back at them.
This is advice for both the parents and the photographer. Sometimes when things are getting tough I just come out from behind my camera and say, "Hi! We're just going to stop for a little minute and just smile at each other," and I give them my best smile. They will usually smile back at me and then I take the pictures. Parents can also encourage smiling by being happy themselves. It's hard to smile when your dad is furrowing his brow and telling you to smile. It's much easier if the parents are good examples.

#6: Bring someone close to them along for the shoot.
Someone who loves them and knows what they like can be a huge asset to getting those big smiles. They can stand right behind the camera and smile, clap, dance, etc., putting your kid at ease and lightening the mood.

#5: Let the photographer take the lead.
I have had to kick parents out of the room before because the kid could not concentrate on me or what I wanted from them. Could you look at a camera and smile with three adults shouting at you giving you commands? It gets pretty hectic. You can offer your assistance, but please help under the photographer's terms. They should know what they're doing and things will work better if you give them control.

#4: Let them say silly words.
I can't tell you how many great smiles I get from children who say potty words. They say "poop" or "stinky bum" and I respond with "Oh my goodness!!! What did you just say!?!" That's when I get my best laughs. Let them know that we don't normally use potty words, but just for the photo shoot they can say anything they want! Boys and girls ages 2-5 seem to really love this.

#3: Get in a good mood before the shoot.
Getting ready for your photo shoot can be so stressful! Don't pass that stress on to your kids. Your mood will set the pace. If you are yelling and they are fighting just before the shoot, the atmosphere is off to a bad start. Although it can be difficult, try your best to grit your teeth and keep positive so that it can be a better experience for everyone.

#2: Don't bribe them to smile.
I am all for bribing kids during a photo shoot, but not to get smiles. Bribes can be great for cooperation and endurance. Stuff like "you can get ice cream afterward if you are obedient," works like a charm to catch their attention. However, it has NEVER worked to get a real smile. Smiles come from being happy, not from bribes.

#1: Be calm! 
Don't get upset. Don't get angry. If things are not going the way that you pictured in your head then relax. You cannot force anything, so just enjoy the experience. If you get upset then not only will your kids follow your actions, but you will not look happy yourself. We want you to look happy too!

If your kid still doesn't smile, don't sweat it. Some of my favorite images of my children are when they weren't smiling...

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1 comment:

  1. What great ideas! I love your work and especially how well you do with kids. I hope you don't mind I Pinned this post. I believe it needs to be seen :)