How to eliminate fake smiles during your photo session

How to Get Real, Genuine Smiles From Your Kids

Kids are completely unpredictable. They can be so adorable and easy going and laughing uncontrollably one minute, and the next minute, turn that charm off completely. They will typically smile for you all day long until you put them in front of a camera, then they freeze up like a deer in headlights. We want to avoid the gritted teeth and bug-eyed forced smiles during our session.

Here are some things you can do:

1. Make a list of things that your child thinks are funny and send it to us prior to the session. This way, we can be prepared and add these things into our bag of tricks.

2. Also give us a list of icebreakers for your child. Tell us the kinds of shows they watch, music they listen to, friends’ names, favorite story, etc. This will give us something to talk to them about, and will help them forget they’re in front of the camera.


3. I will often have them shout out a funny phrase which will get so many different responses and great smiles. For boys, I do really silly like (I love worms on pizza!)


4. Try out a couple of jokes with them. During the session, we can ask them to tell us a joke and this will typically loosen them up as they tell it to us.


5. If there is a song that your child loves, load it up to your phone and bring it along with you, or be prepared to sing it for them during the session.


6. Okay Lastly, let’s talk bribes, rewards or incentives. Some parents use them. Some don’t. I tend to encourage the children with motivated encouragement. I use words that reward how well they are doing vs if you hug your sister I will get you a ice cream when we are done. I have far more success with encouraging words. To be honest, after doing photography for almost 10 years I have developed a set of sneaky tools and tricks that allows me to get those REAL smiles, all without bribery! Often just having mom and dad leave the area where I am photographing takes the pressure off the kids to “smile”, and just be themselves with me!

What tricks have worked for you? Tell us in the comments below!

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