no cheese, please
photographing older kids
In the last post we talked about getting natural and candid shots of younger children. In this post we tackle the dreaded “cheese” from the older children – from about 2 to 7 years. While the occasional photo of a toothy grin is cute and funny, is it really all you what you want to remember years from now?
As a children’s photographer, I deal with this ‘smile’ on a nearly daily basis. It’s not their fault… what do you do if someone tells you to smile? Try it. 1,2,3…SMILE. Feel fake? Sure it does! And many kids are so used the camera that the cheesy smile appears as soon as the camera makes an appearance.
One way to combat a phoney, cheesy smile is to make the child smile naturally.
Here are my top 4 tips to help replace the phoney smile with the natural.
1. Be a little silly, act the fool, tell silly jokes. A genuine giggle or a “boy, my mum is crazy laugh” beats a cheesy grin, every time.
2. “Don’t smile”. This has been shared a million times, but deserves repeating because it has about a 95% success rate. Tell your child not to smile. “OK, I need you to hold your smile in now. So whatever you do, Do.not.smile… Uh oh, I see you starting to smile… here it comes…don’t do it!” It works.
3. Make it fun. Try to avoid the ‘sit there on that rock and pose’ type of photos. Running, jumping, walking, rolling around all make for great images. You just need to be ready to capture the magic of that exploding smile that happens when your kids are not focussed on the camera.
4. Kids have moods, sometimes they are happy and sometimes tired or sad. If your kids don’t want to take pictures, don’t force them as it won’t work. There’s always going to be another chance to take photos.
Finally, remember that sometimes the best images of your child are when they are not smiling at all. Sometimes it’s lovely to capture the emotion of a child deep in thought or preoccupied with what they’re doing. As long as it’s real!