As every mom knows, it can be nearly impossible to get that "perfect" shot of your child or children smiling or even looking at the camera. I promise the photos you see on my site are a collection of the best- sometimes the moment right before or right after is a very different scene then what is ultimately portrayed!
So what is the secret? A great camera is helpful, but it's only a small piece of the puzzle. Here are a few tips that can help no matter what camera you use!
1. Go with Their Flow
Telling a kid to "just sit and smile" is almost guaranteed to produce the exact opposite results. You need to engage them in something that will naturally make them want to smile!
Sometimes that means letting them play with legos while you talk to them about their favorite superhero, and be ready for when they look up with that excited grin. Or ask them to pile up leaves and throw them at the camera. Or tell a silly joke to make them laugh. I promise I am not above funny potty jokes to get a smile!
Don't be afraid to get on their level and be in their activity. Engage them, don't force them. Then let the scene naturally unfold and you'll be surprised at the results!
2. Know your Light
Photography is all about good light. If you are out in the middle of the day, be sure to pick a shady spot out of the intense sun. The light is harshest and least flattering when it's directly above, so try to find time in the day when the sun is low in the sky- early morning or before sunset are great times.
3. Be Patient and Take Breaks
Kids don't always have your stamina, so know when enough is enough. If they are getting skirmy or disinterested, change the scene, do something different, distract, get a snack and regroup. A perfect location cannot outshine a screaming kid, so don't be afraid to change up what you're doing if it's not working. You can always go back!
4. Make it a Game
Kids love games and to feel like they are involved. Asking them to "help you take a picture of mom and dad" or play "red light green light" all of sudden makes what you're doing more of a game then a chore. If they are having fun the smiles will come naturally!
Looking for more tips? Digital Photography School has a great eBook with a lot more helpful guidance on taking great photos of your kids!