How do you get a child to smile for a photograph? Probably the first thing that pops into your mind is "Say cheese!". The trouble is that while this works, more often than not it results in a forced smile (either "I'm-only-smiling-because-you-told-me-to-are-we-done-???" or "I-am-smiling-super-super-super-wide)?". It can be tricky to catch a candid smile the very moment that you've decided to grab your camera (or phone). So what's the alternative to "Say cheese?"
I've found a couple different tricks that work with kids but mostly they boil down to encouraging the child to play a game, tell a little story, or do something that really engages them...and then catch a real, true candid smile right after the activity. That's why I often use little prompts during my family photography sessions to encourage laughter and natural expressions.
Here are a couple of activities I used at a recent lifestyle session in Toronto - give them a try with your own kids!
1) Play broken telephone
2) Look at the person who is THE craziest (or funniest...)?
3) What is the silliest thing about your brother?
4) Give your mom a nice gentle kiss (then a Wet kiss)
But truthfully there wasn't really any work involved with getting this family to smile naturally since they were so fun loving. Here are a couple more of my favourites from the session.