5 Photography Tips For Getting A Real Smile

Oh, kids. Don’t you hate it when they say “cheese!” and give you that canned grin? That look is something between “This hurts!” and, “Is there something in my teeth?” The fact is, every kid has a beautiful natural smile. When that camera comes out, though, they turn into little smile robots. Would you like to get a natural smile every time? Then read along and discover my 5 fail-proof photography tips for getting a real smile.

Photography Tips For Getting A Real Smile

  1. Relax. Nothing cans up a kiddo faster than when Mom or Dad is tense behind the camera. So loosen up and make a few silly faces. Instead of staring straight into the camera, giving orders, make eye contact with the kids and show them you’re trying to have fun.
  2. Use Reverse Psychology. Believe it or not, if you tell your little ones not to smile, you may very well elicit beaming, radiant grins. So get overly serious, open your eyes wide, and tell them they Must. Be. Completely. Serious. No smiles, no matter what. And be ready, because grins and giggles are on the way.
  3. Capture the action, capture the moment. Instead of asking your kid(s) to stay still and smile for the camera, let them just do their thing. Whether they are going down the slide, swinging at the park, or exploring the backyard, they are happy and in their element – and that makes for great photos.
  4. Be willing to be natural. In the age of digital images, it’s fine to let bloopers happen… and lots of them. Kids have so much energy that it may not be realistic to expect that everyone will be facing forward and smiling nicely. Mouths will be open, one kid is sure to be facing another direction, and the unfortunate bunny ears will likely appear. Let it go and keep shooting. In a moment of pure joy, you’re much more likely to capture something magical. Some of my favorite photos of my clients are the ones where no one is looking at the camera.
  5. Get gross. Once you’ve tried the above tactics, here’s a last resort. Kids think gross words are hilarious, and even more so if a straight-laced adult uses them. So stretch your imagination and let loose. Stinky socks. Boogers. You know what works with your kids. As a warning: you may find these words totally unravel them to the point of no return, so save this tactic for last.

photography tips for real smiles

The perfect photo is one that captures your loved ones in a moment of true emotion. Let go of your idea of perfection and capture your kids just being kids. You may not end up with “perfect” photographs, but you’ll perfectly capture the memories that matter.

I'm Erika and I am a maternity, newborn, and family photographer based near Wilmington, NC. I'm also a mom to two cutie boys, lover of backyard gardening, candles, chocolate and Amazon Prime.

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Strong case of the Mondays got me like...⁠
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But I'm also feeling crazy! Name the film that "case of the Mondays" came from and tag a friend to be entered to win 50% OFF your family photo session in 2024. I will announce the winner on Friday May 3rd. ⁠
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Children see the world not as it is, but as it could be—a place where every corner holds a sprinkle of magic, every moment a dash of wonder, and every heart a touch of pure joy. Let them inspire you to twirl your way into the weekend!
Capturing the miraculous journey of pregnancy through photography has been a truly inspiring experience. It's amazing to see how a woman's body changes to nurture new life. Remember, every stretch mark tells a story of love and growth. 😍
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