5 Top Tips for Getting Natural Smiles from your Children

Polly Blog

Often parents ask me how I manage to get those lovely natural smiles from the children I photograph. So, I thought I would share some of the approaches I try in photo sessions and with my own children. Find my 5 top tips for getting natural smiles from your children below. 🙂

Don’t Ask Your Children to Smile

When children hear those words “Smile” or “Cheese” more than often they will do the opposite and run a mile or pull a funny face. Do the opposite, ask your children when you take the next photo, not to smile! Make a game out of it… ok, mummy is going to take a photo, and I don’t want you to smile… let’s have a serious face. Have fun with it.  Eventually, children burst out laughing.  Not only do you get great smiles, but lovely natural laughs instead. A little reverse psychology can work. 

The Power of Distraction

Children often don’t like being told to sit or stand for the camera, well not for long. If you can give your child something to do, soon they forget the camera is there. If you are outside in the park, ask your child to go find an object, such as a flower or leaf.  Talk about what you found and soon the children become distracted. If you are patient you can capture some lovely natural shots.

Girl counting bluebells

Child’s Play

Where there is play, children have fun! Which is why I introduce as much play as possible into my photo sessions. I’ll often have the children race or have them play silly games with mum & dad or their siblings. Once the kids are engaged in a game, you can capture some very natural expressions and they also forget I’m taking photos. 

It’s Good To Talk

If your child is feeling awkward about you taking an image, trying to get a smile will be tough. When we engage with children and discover more about their funny little world, children open up. I love to talk to kids, ask them questions about their favourite characters or toys for example. Asking silly questions and having a fun conversation will eventually lead to giggles and smiles. 

Photograph Every Day

When your children see you taking photos regularly, they become more comfortable with the camera. When we bring the camera out just for special occasions, camera-shy children can feel awkward to start with. Children will also associate the camera with birthdays, big events etc. The more you photograph, the more the children are relaxed around you allowing you to capture some beautiful photos.  

Hope you found this useful. Feel free to comment below.

Polly xx

2 Comments

  1. Brian

    I find a whoopee cushion a great ice breaker ????????

    Reply
    • Pauline Harris

      Oh – that’s a good one Brian! I’ll need to add that to my kit 🙂

      Reply

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