Inside: The challenge of how to get a natural smile in photos can be hard. With these five Tips to Get Kids to Smile for pictures will hopefully help you in your upcoming photography sessions.
With a plan in place and parents on board, it’s time to get the camera out and capture the pure innocence and bliss that is childhood.
Tips to Get Kids to Smile for Pictures
1. Get down on their level
Literally and figuratively here, if you can have fun like a child and be relatable to a child, you’re not only going to have a great time, but you’ll likely capture some awesome moments. I play a lot of games with the kids in my photo sessions – Hide-and-Seek, or I’ll ask them to find something (like a flower or leaf of a certain color) and then show it to me, or I’ll let them pick the next spot we take photos. It makes them feel like they’re in charge a bit and have a say and sometimes they have the best reactions.
2. Give Mom and Dad a break
Keep in mind that this won’t work for every child you photograph, but usually it makes for great photos that will be a surprise for the parents when they see the final images. Just tell Mom and Dad that you’ll be right back, lead the child to a nearby spot, snap a few photos and then head right back to the parents. Sometimes, unintentionally, parents can be a bit hovering and can actually hold the child or children back from really being themselves.
Have you seen the first part of this series?
Photographing Kids Part 1: How to get Fun Facial Expressions
Photographing Kids Part 2: Top 10 MUST HAVE poses for Kids
Photographing Kids Part 3: 4 Tips for Parents before a Kids Photo Shoot
3. Talk to them
Some of my favorite children photos happened during conversations with them – about their favorite colors, about their soccer team, what they want for Christmas or where they’re going for lunch later in the day. Be genuine and be real.
4. Let them see their smiling face
Probably about nine out of 10 times, when I show a kiddo the back of my camera and they see a mini version of themselves staring back at them, it’s like magic. Use that! I sometimes offer it as a bribe and it works wonders. (“If you can smile for three more photos here at this tree, I’ll show you your face on my camera!”) Obviously, be really careful with little hands near your equipment.
5. Keep them safe
No photo is worth a hurt, cold or uncomfortable child. Always ask parents before you try anything new with their kids during a photo session and make sure they’re alright with whatever you’re about to do. Ask the child, too. (“Is it OK if we go stand on that log over there and take another picture?”) Also, if the weather makes a turn for the worse or a child is really unhappy, think with your heart and not your business mind.
Pictures contributed from: Erin Rachel Photography