When you take pictures of your child(ren) do you get smiles like what you see on the left? Are you nervous that you’ll spend all kinds of money on a portrait session for your children to come away with forced smiles or worse yet, tantrums?
People ask me all the time, “What’s your secret? How do you get them all to look at you and smile like that?” The truth is that I inject all children with a smiling serum when their parents aren’t looking. I kid, I kid. In all seriousness I am at the ready to make a complete fool of myself to capture genuine expressions. If I had any super power it might just be getting natural expressions from children. Furthermore, I don’t quit until I get what I’m after. You won’t ever hear me tell them to, “say cheese.” Why? Because I know that “say cheese” produces cheesy smiles that are not genuine and that is not my goal. There are exceptions but generally speaking this is what I’ve found.
I’ve been around children regularly for decades. I know what makes them tick, what makes them laugh, what makes them simply happy. I was a teacher in my pre-photographer life. I spent my days studying the behavior of little ones, learning all that I could about how to “reach” them. This served me well when I became a mother years after. Four children later and yes, I’d say I’m pretty much an expert at manipulating children to do what I want them to. HA! And in this line of work I’d say that’s pretty important! My success rate is unmatched. Unless your children are feeling under the weather due to sickness (and then we shouldn’t be holding the session anyway) I’m 100% confident I can get your children to emote like their true selves.
How? We play together! We pretend! We talk about things kids love to talk about. I love learning about what your child is interested in and kids want to be heard so I find it pretty easy actually.
Some parents give some thought to this aspect of their session and come prepared. They start paying attention in the days/weeks leading up to their session thinking about what makes their children laugh. They keep a mental list and re-visit those topics at the session. “Remember when…” can bring out very natural smiles. I’ve even had parents play favorite songs for their children on their phones during sessions and we’ve busted out dancing together. It’s fun!
So if you are ever nervous about this aspect of the photo session my advice is trust in your photographer that she knows what she’s doing! Making children smile is one thing that I’m never nervous about! 🙂