Ask a kid to smile and you will most likely get the dreaded forced awkward smile or a scowl. We all know that as soon as someone says smile then majority kids will do one of the two things I mentioned above.
So how can we stop the frowns and forced smile?
I have 5 tips that I have found to be pretty tried and true.
Read on to find out what they are.
Number 1- Take the Pressure Off!
No one likes the feeling of being forced into any situation. Kids are the same. I like to start my sessions off with pictures of the family just interacting with each other. Giving hugs, getting snuggles, that sort of thing.
That way the kids have time to get comfortable in the new space they're in. I will also allow them to wonder a bit while I explain the process to Mom and Dad.
Another point to this tip is to try and be patient with children. Getting angry or yelling will only make the experience unenjoyable for both parents and kids. We want this to be a good, dare I say fun experience for kids so they will have no objections to doing it again in the future.
Tip Number 2- Let the Little Things Go
Try not to stress over how the kids behave and on everything being perfect. Life is messy, real messy and most often then not these are the times that you will look back at fondly, regardless of the way the kids act or how perfect everything looked. Love is all we hope to capture in your photography sessions.
Getting frustrated or yelling will only make the experience unenjoyable for both parents and kids. We want this to be a good, dare I say fun experience for kids so they will have no objections to doing it again in the future. But also so that we can capture real smiles and real emotion in your images.
Tip Number 3- Dare to Have Fun
Life is made up of experiences. That's why I think it's important that your photography session should be an experience and a good one at that!
So let's have some fun, let go of your inhibitions and dance with your baby, do the twist, PLAY! This will for sure give your kids a great experience but you'll enjoy it too!
Tip Number 4- Funny Words, Songs & Tickles
About 95% of children will giggle when being tickled by Mom or Dad. It's a tried and true way to get at least a few great natural smiles.
Depending on the age of the child(ren) simply saying the word Poop will elicit a few giggles. For the younger crowd I will make funny noises for them to smile or laugh for me. And of course fart noises seem to work for most kids.
Some kids will light up at certain music or songs. Which brings me to...
Tip Number 5- You Know Your Kids Best!
Although I may work with a lot of kids they are not all the same, they don't all like to be tickled or react to funny sounds or words. This is where you come in.
You know best what will make your child happy and laugh. Maybe they like to be thrown up in the air, tickled on their neck, raspberries on their cheeks. I encourage you to play and have fun with your child as if you were at home. Pretend like I'm not there.
Some of the best and my favourite pictures are ones where the children are happily interacting with their family or a favourite teddy and NOT looking at the camera. These portraits hold so much emotion and love. They are truly beautiful.
So the next time you have portraits done with your little ones, remember to relax, have fun and trust in yourself and the knowledge you have of what your littles love best.