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Hello momma! If you are like most moms…..you would love to see your child’s beautiful smile and eyes looking straight at the camera. Perfect! Right? Well, those shots are must haves but not all pictures necessarily need to be with that pose. Here’s a few tips and tricks that you can do to guarantee to help get the results and expressions you will treasure forever. Whether we talking about photographing toddlers or high school seniors, these tips will help you get that authentic smile.
Secret number 1, choose a few items that they love and bring those to the session. If you have a toddler you can bring a few of his or her favorite toys and, “Let him/her choose which one he/she prefers to play with.” If we are talking about photographing a teenagers, you can bring along some of their favorite hobby supplies, musical instruments or sports equipment. It does a few things, it helps him/her to have something special that they are familiar with. It helps ease into the session and gives them something else to focus on, other than the fact that someone is taking their picture. Most importantly it gives them a choice with either or and that makes them feel somewhat independent.
Secret number 2, stay close enough to keep them comfortable. This is great especially with younger kids but also with teenagers because they may take 15-20 minutes just to warm up to the photographer. I like to acknowledge the kids right away by paying attention to them with a nice warm smile and a little small talk. In this case when I work with children I want them to relax as soon as possible and feel important because they are! Their feelings are super important because we want to get images that really do capture who they genuinely are in an unguarded way.
Secret number three…stay far enough away from them so that they do not see your stress. Wait a minute! Doesn’t that contradict secret number two? Nope, they work hand in hand. You see..sometimes some moms might want that picture portrait smile on every single picture and they expect that look to happen during the entire session. When they realize that their child is not smiling or looking at the camera for every single picture, they start to stress out. Nobody wants that. This is supposed to be fun! They might even begin saying things like, SMILE, LOOK AT THE CAMERA, PICK YOUR HEAD UP, WHY ARE YOU MAKING THAT FACE?DON’T DO THAT, without even realizing. Get the picture? Those words might..stress out your child, stress you out and your photographer. Young kids and teens will pick up on that and it will have a negative effect on your images. So, If you find yourself stressing out step back a little and let your amazing photographer handle it. There is a fine balance though momma because you are also an important part of this whole process! When it comes down to it, there is nothing like momma, especially with the toddlers. You know your child. If you are just a tad bit behind the photographer and call out to your child to engage that seems to work well too. We are on the same team.
#4 Just know that sometimes when it seems as if nothing is happening good images might still be brewing in the making. Does that make sense? In order for to get those big beautiful smiles and genuine laughs, you have to have those in between moments when not much is going on. Just like this image. I love it and she’s not looking at the camera, but its adorable.
Portrait photographers are mostly creative extroverted people who love to work with people and find the human spirit intriguing. I can’t speak for every photographer because we all come with different personalities and photographic styles but I think I can safely say that a successful profitable professional portrait photographer has realized that they love to work with people just like an introverted creative landscape photographer might realize that they prefer to work alone without interacting with anyone in a remote location at the crack of sunrise doing landscape portraits. I say this because…secret number 5 lends its self to trust. When it comes to having your kids picture taken, just know that your portrait photographer will know a few little tricks to get genuine expression. When I notice that my subject is stressed about having their picture taken I put down my camera and make direct eye contact and just talk to them. A little smile goes a long way to put them at ease. If I notice that a pose is uncomfortable, I put down my camera, take a moment to find a comfortable natural position for them and that seems to redirect the session in a positive way.
So, bring a few things they like, give them choices, give them smiles lots of love, be at ease and pray for no rain! You know that last one is just a bonus for Oregonians. Also, when you are ready to document those amazing family moments by a pro give me a buzz.
Your friend and family portrait photographer