How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures?

How do I get my child to smile for pictures, is a common concern for families, and a question I get asked a lot as a Minneapolis family photographer. It is a common worry for moms when booking sessions, preparing for their photography session, and even at the session.  I few moms have even reached out after the session to see if I have feedback right away on their child’s smile at the session.   So, if you are worried about how do I get my child to smile for pictures, feel better knowing you are not alone.

How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

Prepare Them For The Session | How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

If you have kids, you know their number one question is “why”.  They always want to know the reasons behind things, sometimes to the exhaustion of non-stop questions for their parents.  A tip for how do I get my child to smile for pictures is to explain to them exactly what to expect and why.  I send out a What To Expect Guide for my sessions, that give you a great overview of what to expect at sessions, and a way to help answer any questions parents have on sessions – in addition to little kids.   Take the time to explain what will happen at the photography session, that lots of pictures will be taken, that the pictures will be hung on the wall of your house, and you love seeing their beautiful smiles.  Letting them know the pictures will be displayed in your home is a huge help when trying to figure out how do I get my child to smile for pictures.

When preparing for the session, I would avoid the traditional “say cheese” approach to smiles.  This only leads to a forced, awkward smile. Instead of asking how do I get my child to smile for pictures, focus more on what can I do to make this a relaxed and fun time.  Practicing smiles and worrying about how real they look will only stress them, and you, out.

Let Them Be Themselves | How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

One of the biggest tips for how do I get my child to smile for pictures, is to let them be kids.  Let them be silly, show me their new “trick”, tell me stories that make no sense, be super excited, be shy, and anything else that is them.   While we all want that picture perfect family for holiday cards, the pictures that you will cherish years down the road are the ones that capture exactly who they are at this age. A grin missing teeth, fresh grass stains from a fall at the session, mud on their hands, and all the little imperfect things that are your kids.

Avoid Threats & Keep It Positive | How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

I hate that I even have to bring this up in a conversation on how do I get my child to smile for pictures, but don’t threaten them.  Telling your kid that you are going to take away their favorite toy, not stop for ice cream, or anything else in an attempt to get them to cooperate never works.  It usually has the opposite effect and kids end up sad or even crying.

Instead talk about something fun your family will do after the session.  Things like stop for ice cream, go to a playground, or even things like races or tickle fights will get you much further.  When kids have something positive to look forward to, they have a better attitude.  If you do use bribes, keep it a positive reword.  Phrases like, “just a few more and then we can get ice cream”, will get up a lot further at a session than saying things like, “if you don’t smile we won’t get ice cream”.  I mean, everyone would be sad if someone threatened to take away an ice cream treat.  And if you need a suggestion, The Blast in downtown Northfield has amazing ice cream treats.

 Let Me Take The Lead | How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

If your kids are anything like mine, they act differently for other adults than they do for me.  When worried about how do I get my child to smile for pictures, let me take care of it.  I have a bunch of tricks and games that I use at sessions to get natural smiles out of kids – and adults.

I don’t want to “make” your kids smile, I want to get them to smile.  I want to get them to laugh, be silly, tell me funny stories, and more.  A lot of parents worried about how do I get my child to smile for pictures, will be tempted to stand behind or by me when photographing their kids.  While this seems like a good idea, it can often be counterproductive.  Your little ones are looking at multiple people, unsure or overwhelmed, and can often take longer to get a natural smile than letting me work with them alone.

Make Sure Dad Is On The Same Page | How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

Over the years, I have had a handful of dads that actually love family photography sessions.  Most are there because they have to be, to make mom happy, to get a picture for the holiday cards, or other reasons why they feel forced to be there.

Parents set the tone for the family and the session.  And a dad that’s grumpy about being at the session, can have a ripple effect on the kids.  Especially older kids that can pick up on dad’s non-verbal cues.  If parents set the tone for a fun, relaxed session, it will carry over onto the kids.  And you won’t have to worry about how do I get my child to smile for pictures.  They will all be having a great time, and smiling.

Embrace The Meltdowns | How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

As parents, we have all had days with our kids when things are just off.  It is important to remember that kids have bad days too.  And toddlers have a lot of bad days.

If you little one is grumpy, embrace it.   We have pictures of my daughter at about 2 year old at a family session. And she is GRUMPY.  Arms crossed, death stare at the photographer, and everything.  You know what?  They are some of our favorite pictures.  It was normal for her to have days like this at 2.  At the time, I was frustrated – like all moms would be.  But looking back at the photographs now, I love that we have pictures of that stage of her life.  One of the pictures is still in our front entry way, and one of the first photographs people see when they enter our home.  And so many comment on her face and how great of a picture it is.

And If Everything Completely Falls Apart? | How Do I Get My Child To Smile For Pictures

On rare occasions, when the bottom falls out, we can reschedule.  As a mom, I know that there are times when no matter what we do, our kids will sabotage our plans.  It happens to all of us.  If we get to the point where things are to the point where a fresh start on another day is the best option, we can discuss that option too.  I have extra days added into my calendar for rescheduling.

To book your session, contact me today.  Use the contact form, or email me at Info@StephanieBennettPhotography.com. You can also check on recent sessions on the blog, or follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see what’s new.