Photo Boost | Day Five | Fun Time!

Day Five | Fun Time

The one question I’m asked the most, hands down, in my day to day work as a family photographer is – HOW on earth do I get those natural smiles and just how do I get little kids to co-operate and smile.  As parents it’s the most frustrating part of trying to capture our kids in photos.  Toddlers won’t look at the camera and do what we say.  When they hit 3 or 4 we can finally get them to look at the camera, (even if it’s via a bribe or a threat ) but now they give us that really cringe worthy fake smile.

You know the one.  Where they somehow making a square shape with their mouths. I’m this little guys Mum, so of course I love him and still think this square smile is gorgeous.   But let’s get real.  When he’s genuinely smiling, his whole face lights up, his eyes, eyebrows and everything smiles as well, and my heart just melts!  I want to capture that, those are the images I want to remember 20 years from now, or have up around the house for the day’s when being a 6 year old boy, is well, being a 6 year old boy!
You have to make it fun!  It’s really that simple.  Keep it positive, don’t ask for the smile, make it a game, be silly, crack a joke and no matter what you do, don’t get frustrated and demand in that cranky parent voice that they just look at the camera and smile or there will be no TV again, ever!!!!!  It’s hard not to go there, we’ve all done it.  Honestly though, all it’s going to achieve is the the square smile at best, and what’s more likely, is your little one shutting down and everything going south.  Even worse, if you do this too often, you’ll find they start to resent photos at any time and it’s going to be that much harder to get natural shots.  If you feel yourself heading down this path, just walk away. Try again later. It’s not worth it.

So what to do?  I recommend being silly, acting the clown, or cracking a good poo joke.  Seriously, poo jokes, they work almost every time.  If you little one doesn’t even want to stand there, then give them something fun to do, something to focus on that’s not having their photo taken like blowing bubbles, throwing leaves everywhere, jumping as high in the sky as you can.  Keep it positive and fun, and you’ll tame those monkeys and be capturing real smiles in no time at all!

Hot Tips

Work out what things makes your child laugh in the every day, save them and bring it up again when you want a natural smile.  Make sure your ready to take the photo before you call in your subject, nothing kills the fun like waiting for you to get your settings right.  Find the great light we talked about on day three then call the monkey over.


Try asking them what animal noise they would like you to make, then get it wrong.  Grab those white wedding bubbles bottles, kids love them and the colour won’t detract from their gorgeous smiles.

The Challenge

Take a few shots of your little ones, or ask a friend if you can borrow theirs.  Have fun with it, channel your inner child and capture some gorgeous smiles.    Don’t forget to upload your photo to instagram and tag #photmojophotoboost #myphotomojo #MPMdayfive