This came up last week when I was discussing a recent blog post with a friend.
She was wondering how in the world I got my kiddos to smile naturally.
Not your "say cheese and please for the love of all that is holy show some teeth!" smile, but their natural, beautiful, full of joy, reaches the eyes and soul smiles.
My children, having been forced in front of the camera for their entire lives, are not always the happiest about portrait time.
So to ease them into it, and get those beautiful faces captured forever, I have a few tried and true tricks.
#1. Bring a prop.
A toy, something they found on the ground, school artwork they're super proud of.
Make that "session" about something other than forcing them to pose and say cheese.
#2. Talk to them!
Talk about their day, ask them to look into your camera when they tell you about it.
Sometimes I don't even hold up my camera till we've been talking for a minute or so.
It's hard being in front of that thing!
#3. Try out a "will you smile for the camera?" once you think they're warmed up enough.
If their still not ready...
talk some more.
Ask them about their favorite cartoon.
Ask them about their favorite things about Mom or Dad.
Talk to them about their most exciting dream.
But most of all just let them tell you about what makes them happy.
You're bound to get at LEAST one beautiful smile.
and when all else fails...
#4. Forbid any smiles upon pain of tickling.
So. Much. Tickling.
They won't even be able to help themselves.