Say cheese! How many times have we heard that in our lives? Or how about this one..."smile for the camera"! For so long it was ingrained in us to smile when a camera was pointed at us, whether we wanted to or not. How can we possibly be expected to display real emotion when someone is asking you to smile no matter how you're feeling?
My kids are so used to a camera point at their face that they don't even notice me anymore, but while I'm there capturing them, rarely am I asking them to do anything and never have I asked them to smile. Why? Because I would get this...
I nearly fell out of my chair when I started seeing photos like this come home from school. Who's child is this? It can't be mine! Mine has never had such a dead-eyed creepy smile. Mine is the boy who was SO photogenic that it's hard to get a bad photo of him. The one who has the most infectious smile and the best wrinkles around his nose when something is genuinely funny.
The reason I became a photographer was to capture my kids the way I know them. The way they look when something is hilarious (usually has to do with something gross), the way their face looks when they are upset (as long as it's not an emergency I will grab my camera first 🤷♀️), and the way they look when they don't know I'm watching. These are all the moments that I know I will miss the most. As they grow older they will change but these memories will last.
Here are some tips to capture real smiles with your kids!
1- Be silly. Usually if I want to get a genuine reaction from my kids, I'll say something that they know isn't true...the weirder the better. This will get them giggling and it's almost guaranteed to get a good picture.
2-Wait for the moments. Part of being a photographer is waiting for the moments and then still wait once those moments are over. For example, whenever my kids play with their Dad I'm always watching for the genuine reactions to their wrestling or playing...even when it seems to be done there is always a moment worth capturing (bonus points if you can get a parent in the shot too).
3-Find them doing something they love. When my kids are doing the things they love to do, it shows on their face. Find what makes your kids happy and then try taking a couple of shots. Most times the fun they're having will show in their faces. Bonus points if you hand your phone or camera to someone else and jump in the fun yourself. You won't regret it.
A little different from the dead eyed "smile for the camera" photo from the beginning right? This is the way I want to remember my kids when they're little...even if it means I have to make a fart joke to do it.
PS...if you want to capture the amazing personalities of your family in your home, reach out!