Are you struggling to break through those forced, reluctant and cheesy camera smiles?
Kid’s will often smile on cue when the camera’s in your hands but it’s not always a natural smile.
If your child is looking bored, asking for a smile often results in expressions like this
When you are really looking for this
Here are some of my tips I use in the studio which can help you at home.
Take note of when your kids are at their best to be able to settle and engage with you.
Is your idea to take photos after school preventing them from a regular wind-down activity?
Every child is different and will have their optimum time.
Position yourself at your child’s level rather than pointing the camera down at them
Sometimes it means sitting or lying on the floor.
Try creating an activity or conversation between you and your child that they will enjoy.
Have the camera ready but don’t stress the point about having to take photos.
You should have already tested the lighting conditions with some photos first.
It may take a few minutes for the conversation to lead into something that they genuinely find amusing, be patient.
It’s ok if they smile only occasionally.
One or two natural expressions are better than a series of stilted unnatural smiles.
What activity can you be involved in that will engage and amuse them and allow you to capture the special moment?
I use a small soft ball, one that won’t damage anything for a multitude of games and tricks.
In case it comes flying back to me camera in hand.
Is there a sibling or another parent that can engage your child right behind you?
Try creating a game that is entertaining.
Make sure they are at camera level if you would like photos looking into the lens.
I secretly asked mum to whack me on the head with a balloon from behind.
Then I pretended I wasn’t expecting it much to the amusement of her daughter who roared with laughter.
Experiment by taking photos of those in-between moments.
Not every photo has to be looking at the camera and smiling.
Your conversation can lead them to expressions of inquisitiveness, wonder and trust.
Sometimes expressions are more natural when they are caught up in their own thoughts.
Simplicity works best.
Where are you photographing? What is in the background?
Having a plain background or one out of focus will draw all the attention to your subject.
If you’re outside bright shade is much easier to work with rather than direct sunlight.
If you’re inside at home sometimes a quick de-clutter can help.
Doors can make nice props.
Simplicity with clothing can make a huge difference.
Patterns, pictures and logos on clothing can be really distracting.
Soft pastels will blend much easier than bold primary colours.
Most importantly make sure the overall experience is a positive one for both of you.
It will make the task easier next time and your child will be more enthusiastic.
I hope this article will help you become a better children’s photographer.
Feel free to contact us if you would like to leave any feedback or find out about our children’s photography packages