Today I am so excited to be sharing with you tips on how to get natural smiles from your beautiful subjects! Libby obviously gets her picture taken a lot and although it may look like she is always smiling and posing, some days when I pull out my camera she turns off the charm and makes me work for it so I thought it would be helpful to share with you some ways to capture those real smiles and expressions that you know and love so much but that are often hard to capture on camera.
Tip 1: Pick a place that your child loves to be or is a comfy and natural place. If you notice I photograph a lot on fuzzy blankets and rugs, that’s because Libby loves to cuddle and play in blankets so it’s a very natural and easy place to photograph her because she’s already happy there. Maybe your kids love playing in their bedroom, or have a favorite chair in the house, sometimes if Libby isn’t being super cooperative I let her choose where she would like to have her picture taken. Of course it has to be a well lit area with natural light so I will often give her three or four choices and then she can choose. Giving kids a little control helps them feel involved and often gets them more excited about get their picture taken.
Tip 2: Let your little bring something special to them into a few of the pictures to help bring out their natural smiles. Libby loves having the animals in the pictures with her so sometimes I’ll ask her who she’d like to have come play with her in the pictures. This day she chose Tilly our bunny and they had so much fun playing together and I just snapped away to capture their cuteness. I usually give a little direction to start like lay here or sit there and then I just let things happen.
Tip 3: I talked about this on my last photography post but I’m going to talk about again here because I think it’s so important to getting great images. Keep moving around. Change angles, stand up, sit down, have your little ones stand up, sit down and lay down. I took all of these pictures in a matter of a few minutes but I got so many great ones because I kept moving and kept Libby moving.
Tip 4: Have fun conversations with your subjects. We usually talk about yummy things we like to eat, funny things our pets do or other silly things that make us smile. Ask them questions that would make them laugh and keep it light and fun. If they’re just not having it, try again another time but usually with a good fart noise or potty joke you can pull them through with a little smile and giggle! Oh the things I have down for a smile, nothing short of standing on my head and spitting nickels or dancing around like a monkey in front of a family of six just to get that smile! Be creative and have fun with it. I never say “say cheese” that is always sure to get you a fake smile. I sometimes ask for a smile, but then immediately do or say something that deserves a smile. It’s hard for us as adults to smile on command so how could we expect our kids to do it naturally. So instead of just saying “smile” or “say cheese” try and say “let me see that beautiful smile of yours” and then say something silly or do a little dance. All of these things will help keep your littles with natural expressions and real happy smiles!
Tip 5: Bribery, yes I bribe my children to hang with me for pictures for five minutes. I don’t always have to do it because a lot of times they’re already playing and being adorable and I just snap away, but sometimes if I have to pull them away from their favorite show or something else I will offer a special little treat reward like some ice cream, a marshmallow or cupcake, depending on what we have on hand. Usually if they are excited about their special treat they give more genuine happy and excited faces.
I hope you enjoyed this tips and find them helpful the next time you go to capture your littles, remember practice makes perfect, so just keep pulling out that smart phone and photographing them when ever you can and you’ll keep getting better and better!
Don’t forget to sign up for my Capturing Sweet Moments with Your Smart Phone class at Pinners Conference in GA this April and use code: LIVESWEET for 10% off registration!! I am so looking forward to it!