Sometimes for children (and dads), it can be like pulling teeth to get a real smile with true emotions. Here are some tips for parents who take photos of children and need help capturing real smiles:
While saying “cheese” will make the corners of your mouth turn up, it doesn’t get the rest of the face to smile. True smiles involve the whole face, especially the eyes.
When I photograph children, I talk with them beforehand and try to establish a little trust with them. The same goes for parents photographing their own kids. Just talk with them, not at or to them. Ask them about their day, share a secret, talking about plans for later – anything to make them feel like this is fun and not a chore.
It’s true. And it works. Saying “No smiling. Under no circumstances should you smile. Stop!” will almost always result in a smile.
Have some fun! Be silly! Have the children show you different faces: angry, silly, sad, confused, happy, surprised. They may not be “smiling” but they’ll have some pretty funny faces for sure!