Capturing genuine and joyful smiles from kids may feel like a challenge. You want to have those sweet, authentic moments frozen in time, but sometimes kids can feel nervous or shy in front of the camera. 

But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to get those natural and happy smiles from your little ones. Here are 7 tips and tricks to try out.

1. Be silly and playful

Kids love when their parents or the photographer are silly and playful. Making funny faces or acting goofy behind the camera can draw out some great reactions from them – you’ll be sure to see some silly things from me!

2. Use props

Bringing along some fun props can be a great way to get kids engaged and excited for the photoshoot. I’ll bring some toys and distractions that I know work well like a bubble machine or a colourful balloon to create a fun and lively atmosphere. You’re also welcome to bring anything that you think the kids might have fun interacting with to help them relax!

3. Incorporate their favourite toys or hobbies

Ask the kids to bring along their favourite toy or a book they love. I’ll often use the toy to play games or do something fun, like throw it high in the air or dance it on the camera lens. This way, they will feel comfortable and happy, and their personalities will shine through.

4. Play games

This can be an excellent way to get kids engaged and relaxed. Games like peekaboo, Simon Says, tiggy or hide-and-seek can help break the ice and create a relaxed environment.

5. Use tickles and hugs

Tickling, hugging or cuddling can often get a genuine smile from kids. Make sure they feel comfortable and safe and show them that the photoshoot is a fun and joy-filled experience.

6. Crack a joke

Come prepared with your best Dad jokes and I’ll bring some of mine! Sometimes, a little bit of humour can go a long way. Telling a joke or making a funny comment can bring out some natural laughs and smiles from the kids. 

7. Give them a break

Remember, kids have short attention spans, and too much posing and direction can make them feel bored and frustrated. It’s always a good idea to give them a break to run around and play, and then come back refreshed and ready to go.

Incorporating these tips and tricks into your next photoshoot can help you capture those genuine and joyful moments that you will treasure for a lifetime. Don’t forget to have fun, be patient and let the kids be themselves.

As a family photographer, I’ve always got plenty of tricks (and toys!) up my sleeve to help everyone feel more relaxed (and that includes you, mum and dad!). 
If you want to book a family photoshoot without worrying about whether your kids will have fun (and behave!), I’m your girl. Enquire now about my family photography services and let’s bring your images to life!


June 7, 2023

7 Tips for Getting Genuine Smiles from Kids

Hannah Redman