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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Benefits of tummy-time according to American Academy of Pediatrics as shared on theBump.com:⁠
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-Practice for milestones like rolling over, sitting upright and crawling⁠
-Strengthens gross motor skills⁠
-Engages lesser-used muscle groups⁠
-Prevents plagiocephaly (aka flat head syndrome)⁠
-Helps baby master head control⁠
-Alleviates gas pain⁠
-Exposes baby to a different environment⁠
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Some babies love it and others not so much. Either way, it's good for them! How's it going for your baby or how did your babes like it? ⁠
“Erika was great with our kids and overall it was a laidback experience. Although both the weather and our small kids were somewhat uncooperative, Erika took some beautiful pictures which made a great use of the beach landscape and light. Highly recommended.” - Emily R.⁠
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I’m blushing! It’s comments like this one that keep me going, and few things make me happier or motivate me more than happy clients. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t read them on my more challenging days. And, Emily, the feeling is mutual—you were a dream to work with!⁠
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Thinking about booking a family photography session? You can find out more on my website! All the info you need is in the link in bio!⁠
Oh, how I'd love to go back to those first weeks and months. I was ever-present, yet never really there at all.⁠
My head was elsewhere, caught up in all the shoulds, in the baby books, the apps, the impossible schedules; all the perceived perfections of motherhood that felt so at odds with what you were telling me you needed.⁠
I followed my heart every single time. But never with conviction. Always apologetically as though I were somehow giving in. Not doing it right.⁠
I fought it. Like a quiet war. It was exhausting.⁠
I'd love to go back and mother that version of you, but as this version of me; the mum I am today. ⁠
More relaxed, more rested, more sure, no longer seeking approval, embracing the fact that I will be happily rocking my boy to sleep until he doesn't need it anymore.⁠
It's not just our babies that grow.⁠
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Words by: Mother Truths ( @mymothertruths)
I'm enjoying getting personal with y'all. Hope you don't mind!⁠
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Five years ago, I would not be able to imagine that I would be living the life I am now. There have been twists and turns for sure, and some of the challenges have been grueling to say the least, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I'm talking illness, surgery, major lifestyle changes, major personal life changes. The kind of stuff that makes you look back and not even recognize who you were. ⁠
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I have come so far and now have the clarity of mind to see how everything that has happened in my life has made me the person I am today. And I truly love who I have become through it all. What’s something positive or seemingly negative that happened in your personal life in the past five years that you didn’t see coming and that has built you up to be the badass you are today?⁠
Whenever I’m feeling stuck, I write in a journal—just a stream of consciousness, whatever crosses my mind goes on the page. Almost every time, I notice the same pattern: fear of judgment. My inner critic is telling me that no one will like what I do.⁠
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When that happens, I try to remind myself to play my own greatest hits. I make a list of the times when I did work I was proud of, made a client happy, or got positive feedback—anything that contradicts the judgmental  voice in my head. It helps me to move forward without fear. We all have that voice in our heads. The trick is to recognize it, not believe it, and put that imposter syndrome back in its place.
I am so grateful that I can do what I love as my job. Thank you to all of my clients for the ongoing love and support. I am lucky to have each and every one of you! 🥰

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