From a professional point of view, one of the best tips I can give you when it comes to photographing children (or anyone, for that matter) is to stop saying 1-2-3 cheese!
I know we have been using this line for years and have been conditioned to smile when we see a camera but here are a few reasons why asking children to say cheese doesn’t work.
Children act very quickly and their attention span is short (especially smaller kids). When you ask children to sit still and take a picture, you have about 8.5 seconds (some less than that) of their attention. When you take 4 seconds to count down from 3 to cheese, you’ve lost half of the child’s attention time. When children are asked to smile on command, you’ll most likely see a mouthful of teeth clenched together tightly producing a very fake smile. We have all been trained along the way to flash our smiles once we hear the C word and we really can’t produce a genuine smile on command.
Best Children Photography Tip
Here is the best tip when photographing children: to get genuine smiles from your little subjects, engage them by doing something fun!
It’s just human nature to smile and laugh when we’re doing something fun. Tell them some knock knock jokes, play simon says, make funny faces, and do something unexpected like put your socks on your head and hop around like a frog.
You’ll for sure have their attention and get those beautiful, natural smiles you’re after. Make sure your camera is ready and snap away like crazy.
Amy Lee – Amy is a tea lover, chocolate eater and a kale chip maker. She is a children photographer in Vancouver by day and builds Kiwi Crate crafts projects with her kids at night. She shares more photography tips and fun crafts on her blog The Connection We Share.