Struggling to get your kids to have natural expressions when you point your camera at them? It’s so common!
Watch this quick video below to learn some of my secret to getting natural smiles when photographing children.
Your Life Video Transcript: a few of my tips to get natural smiles every time
One of the secrets to successful child photography is the ability to capture genuine smiles and genuine moments, and while they might look very natural, these moments don’t just happen.
Often when I turn up to a photoshoot, there are many many reasons why a child won’t do what you want them to do. It might be that they haven’t slept the night before, or they are a bit over-excited for the shoot, it could be any number of reasons.
Just because you have a set back like that in your photoshoot, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get great photos and natural smiles from the kids.
So today we are talking about getting natural smiles and emotion when photographing children. Here are four quick tips.
1. Don’t tell them to “smile” !!!
The reason I say this, is because I have found every time anyone tells a child to smile, they will give a cheesy fake smile… No parent wants a photo like that!
2. Be prepared and know the personality of the child or children you are photographing
Before every photoshoot, I speak to parents about their children, just to give me a little bit of an idea of their childrens’ personalities so that I have an understanding of whether they are shy children or hyperactive kids, or is there anything that I need to know that I should be aware of.
More often than not, the mums will tell me about each child and what they are into, so I come to the shoot knowing that if they have a really shy child, I’m not going to put them in the spotlight and yahoo around them and make them feel overwhelmed.
I’ve had a shoot with a very shy little boy before, so the way we got a beautiful natural smile out of him was by me just sitting quietly with him talking to him about his trucks or whatever it was.
3. Be flexible!
Working with children, things often don’t go to plan! You need to work with the kids to be able to get the shots that you want. For instance if a child is not standing still, or if they are a toddler who has just learned how to walk, you need to follow them around and do what they want to do.
4. Take control, direct the kids and get them to do or say something
Just because they are natural smiles, doesn’t mean that they just happen and you just happened to be there at the right time with the camera. There is an aspect to professional photography that, it IS set up to a degree and that’s where your expertise comes in.
As you get better and better, you see the sort of shots that you want to capture happening before your eyes. You anticipate what is going to happen, you get your camera ready with the settings that you want, ready to go, so that when the moment happens you aren’t going to mess it up because you haven’t got the right settings on your camera.
Then you direct the children into doing something.
I often get kids to run somewhere or to say something that will make them laugh (or I say something that will make them laugh). One of my tricks that I often say is “okay, on the count of three we are all going to say…. MUMMY DOES STINKY FARTS!!!” for the shock value and wait for the reaction… :)
disclaimer here: This comes back to rule #2 of knowing the child and understanding what they are into… what a 4 year old might find hilarious, a 10 year might look you at you with complete disdain, or what a boy thinks is the ants pants, a girl won’t care about… so you need to know appropriate ways to interact with your subject!
It’s not that moment that you actually SAY whatever it is you say to make them laugh… You are waiting for them to process what you have just said, and react to what you’re saying.
So you are there, waiting for that reaction.
YOU make it happen. You have anticipated what the reaction will be, you have directed it to make it happen and then you capture it, in that moment.
so let’s recap, the four ways to get more blur are:
1. Don’t say smile!
2. Be prepared and know the child’s personality
3. Be flexible
4. Take control, direct and make the kids DO something
Want even more specific tips to getting natural smiles and getting kids to do what you want? The Kids Through a Lens Beginners Bootcamp is opening soon for enrolment to VIPs – with a special 48 hour early bird price! Jump on the waitlist to be notified here so you don’t miss out.
P.S.To show how patient my fabulously talented cousin Anna is (she’s the person who kept me organised and on track with delivering the Bootcamp – as well as the person responsible for designing all the worksheets and lessons inside the course and making them all pretty!!)
Here is another outtakes video for you hehe. I really struggle at the beginning of every video to get into the groove but it starts to flow eventually… with some prompting from Anna… :)
I hope this has helped you! I would love it if you left a comment or if you have any questions, feel free to ask me anything! my entire business has been built on word of mouth, so I would so appreciate you ‘liking’ and sharing below for me :)
Thanks so much!