When it comes to the average person and photography, who is getting photographed the more often adults or children? If you have children it is them who we love capturing. Children are always a fun and great photography subject. There are all types of personalities in children, polite and shy to social and rowdy, children are always doing different things and changing every day as they grow. So what tends to be the challenging thing when asking a child to smile? It is getting that natural smile. A natural smile is a huge component of a successful portrait.
The dilemma is that if you ask a child to smile you get this forced caricature of a smile but if you don’t’ ask them to smile you get a depressed looking photograph. To get past this you need to put the child at ease. When a child is nervous he or she will rarely produce a genuine smile. How you get your child to relax will vary from person to person but in general you should be aware of what is making the child nervous. The easiest way to get a loose, natural smile on your subject is to make them comfortable. Joking around with your child, or doing something goofy before you take the shot. Sometimes taking a silly or “angry” picture first works well. When they drop the pose, they’re likely to start laughing. Give them a few seconds to simmer down a tiny bit, and shoot the picture while they still have those signs of happiness in their face, cheeks, and eyes.
2. Don’t Confuse The Child – Even the most cooperative child will not produce a wonderful smile if they are confused. Try to avoid telling them they are smiling “wrong” and instead work to make the him or her happy.
3. Trick Them If You Need To – Sometimes the only way to get a beautiful natural smile is to trick play a little trick on your child. Either snap the photo as they relax their face from a forced smile or get them to laugh. With children it is usually easy to get them to laugh with silly props or by having them say crazy things instead of “smile.” Sometimes the best way to get a true smile from a subject is to smile yourself. After all smiles can be contagious!