My favorite photos are the candid moments taken while playing and interacting with family. Capturing a genuine moment of happiness is priceless. I know moms and grandmas still love those smiling-looking-at-the-camera shots, so here are five of my tips to help you capture authentic smiles on your kids (and dads too) face.
1. HAVE FUN.
No one likes to sit for pictures, especially kids and dads. Make the act of being photographed fun. Instead saying we are going to a park to take pictures, plan a fun activity. Small children love bubbles, sidewalk chalk, flying a kite. Older kids would love being treated to a messy cupcake, fruit or ice cream cone. These small activities will create a fun atmosphere and they will forget all about the camera.
2. LET THEM BE THEMSELVES.
Embrace the crooked smile, the messy cow-lick in your son’s hair; tell them and show them how much you love their uniqueness.
3. AVOID CHEESE. (Not just a tip for the lactose intolerant like me.)
We have all been trained when the camera appears to say “cheese”, but cheese doesn’t give a natural smile that reaches the eyes. In order to capture an expressive smile, have them say words with an ending sound of -“uh.” Have your kids say, “mocha” or “pizza.” If your kid is a natural actor or goofball, give them a scenario to act out, “Show me what you would do if you won a million dollars”.
Ask questions and relate. Ask them to remember a time they had fun with their friends, or funny story that happened at school, or their favorite part of a vacation. Using these stories will help them to create authentic expressions to capture.
5. THE ENVIRONMENT.
The location of your portraits is very important. Pick a familiar place where your family is comfortable. Select a place they have fun visiting such as a favorite park, pool, spot in your neighborhood, or maybe your own backyard. Most kids love the outdoors which already provides beautiful natural light. Happiness and smiles are hard to resist when they are in a place they love.
EXTRA SMILES TIP #1: Are you taking photos of siblings? Have them tell each other silly secrets or give each other bear hugs.
EXTRA SMILES TIP #2: Have a reluctant dad in front of your camera? To get authentic smiles from dads, ask them to do something, it can be a simple task, like helping a little one reach a tree branch, or getting moms hair out of her face. The very act of them doing something will help them forget about the camera and create an unforgettable expression to capture.
Do you have any additional tricks to getting authentic smiles from your kids? I would love to hear from you, comment below!
Don’t forget: Any Enhanced Family Sessions booked during May 2016 will include a custom 3″x3″ Accordion Book designed by me. To receive our thank you gift, make sure you comment below.