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  • Writer's pictureArika Mueller

5 Tips for Getting Kids to Smile During Photo Sessions

Anyone who has ever tried to take a photo of a young child knows that getting them to sit still long enough to snap a decent picture can be next to impossible. My initial questionnaire I send out to my client and families always ask if children will be involved in a session, what their interests are, and what makes them laugh. As a photographer this helps me prepare for your session! Now, I have a few tricks of my own such as spontaneous horrid jokes, and spontaneous tickle session from the parents. I even threaten to break out in a pterodactyl screech if they don't smile.
Either way, I promise we will get your kiddos to crack a smile.

Here are an additional five tips that you as the parent can do if you're looking for some pictures of your kiddos that you'll want to hang on the wall!

Bring a few props your child is interested in.
Getting a young child to sit still for a family photo can be challenging. They may get bored or antsy, leading to squirmy movements and uncooperative expressions.
Now I bring a few items of my own to help coax your child into an authentic smile, but one way to help keep your child entertained during the photo session is to bring a few props they are interested in from home! A favorite toy or book can distract them and help them stay in one place. You might also want to consider using bribery - promise your child a treat if they cooperate during the photo session. I often times bring small treats of my own like chocolate that I offer at the parents approval as well!

Talk to your child during the shoot
Even the most well-behaved child can quickly become restless and distracted when asked to sit still for a photo. One way to get around this problem is to talk to your child during the shoot. Explain what you're doing and why, and let them know you're just trying to take their picture. I always do my best to explain to them as well! Depending on the child's age, I even tell a cute story of how in order to take pretty pictures I had to catch a beautiful butterfly that lives in my camera, and their job at the end of the session is to tell me the color of it! I show them their pictures after taking them. Sometimes when they see themselves in the camera and the photo you took they are more willing to pose for you and continue to go along with the session.
In many cases, simply understanding the situation will be enough to get them to cooperate. With a bit of patience and creativity, we should be able to capture some great shots of your little one.

Keep sessions short so kids don't get bored or overwhelmed
As any parent knows, young children can be very unpredictable. One minute they may happily play along, and the next, they may be in full-on tantrum mode. This can make it tricky to know how to structure activities best and keep them engaged. During out session I try not to keep them in one position for too long. Having a fair amount of movement in our sessions keeps the restlessness away. we will snap a few photos and then taking a break so they can run around and burn off some energy before going back for round two. We might even have a dinosaur race!
This will help them to stay focused and avoid getting overwhelmed by the process. Plus, it'll make for some great candid shots!

Make sure they're well-fed and have had plenty of rest before the shoot
First, ensure your child is well-fed and has had plenty of rest. A cranky kid will never cooperate, so you must ensure they’re in good spirits before you start taking pictures. Second, this will help us in avoid taking photos when your child is tired or hungry. Their expressions will likely be less than desirable.
If possible, schedule the shoot early in the day when they’re likely to be at their best. Or after their afternoon nap!
Finally, be prepared to take a lot of photos. Kids tend to move around a lot, so we’ll need to take lots of shots to get the perfect one. With some preparation, we can capture some fantastic photos of your child that you’ll treasure for years to come.

Be patient and take lots of breaks
Anyone who has tried to take a photo of a young child knows that it can be a challenge. Children are naturally curious and tend to move around a lot. In addition, they often have short attention spans and can quickly become bored or restless. The key to getting good photos of young children is patience. It may take several tries to get a child to pose in the way we want, but eventually, we will get the perfect shot.
It is also essential to take breaks frequently so that kids can run around and blow off some steam. With patience and perseverance, we can capture some beautiful memories of your children that will last a lifetime.

With these five tips in mind, we'll get some great shots of your little ones the next time you pull the camera. And if all else fails, remember that even if the photos aren't perfect, they'll still be perfect to you because they're of your precious babies!
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