It’s pretty much impossible to get an authentic looking photo of someone by just holding up your camera getting them to look at the camera and instructing them to smile.
There are people who get paid a lot of money to be able to do this on command, they’re called models. So why do we expect our children to do the same?
My number one trick when it comes to taking authentic and natural photos of kids is to STOP ASKING THEM TO SMILE.
Instead, do the following.
- Invite them to play a game with you
Kids love to play. And the love it even more when you engage with them through play. The game doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to last for longer than five minutes. And it doesn’t have to involve a strenuous amount of activity. Simply ask them if they want to play a game. Explain the rules and aim of the game. Have your camera/phone in BURST mode (very important!) and start clicking away.
- Ask them silly questions
The sillier the better and if you can throw in toilet humour, that’s even better. Some of my favourite questions to ask are: “who in the family has the smelliest farts?” or “who spends the most time in the toilet?” If you want something tamer, ask them embarrassing questions like “who do you have a crush on at school?”
- Get them moving
Ask them to show you how high they can jump. Or get them to run towards you as fast as they can.
- “I bet you can’t…”
Challenge them. Kids love to prove that you are wrong and that they so can do the thing you just said they couldn’t do. “I bet you can’t climb this tree to this branch.” “I bet you can’t do a handstand for longer than three seconds. “I bet you can’t spin around three times without falling over…”
Have you ever wanted to get a good photo of your two kids, hugging and laughing and appearing as though they are enjoying themselves? I’m sure you’ve answered yes but also laughed because that’s practically impossible, right?!
Okay, yes it is if you ask two siblings that don’t get along well at the best of times to hug and look at you and smile.
BUT! I’m going to tell you my secret on how to achieve this if in the scenario I just described above.
Actually, I will do you one even better and literally SHOW you in the video below.
Listen closely at the start as I explain to the kids the rules and aim of the game. Also, pay close attention to the boy in the beginning because he does NOT look like he wants to be there AT ALL.