I have had so many families ask me if there are any tips or trick I do to get the kids to look at the camera, or behave during the session. I actually have little to do with it, though I find being fun very helpful. There are soooo many little things that help with keeping kids delightful and stress free on camera. Here is a list of things that I have seen or used myself to coax littles to smile:
- Always Bring Bribery!: MM's, Skittles, Money, Ice Cream afterwards..... This is the #1 best way to keep kids smiling! I try and have MM's or Skittles fun sized candies on me to make sure there is some type of reward if the parents forget. "I will give you a quarter for every minute you take nice pictures!" lol I love that one! "If you keep smiling I will get you a double dipped cone!" YUM! These are all great examples of Bribery, but make sure you follow through. Kids are very smart, and will catch on if they think you aren't good for it. :)
- Make A fool Of Yourself: Kids love being....Kids! And if they see mom and dad acting goofy and laughing, they will want to join in! I love on camera tickle fights! The crazier the better. Those smiles are real and you will get a great moment every time. Another great way to get real smiles is to do a staring contest. I love this because you get the before photo of "mom and son" staring intently at each other, then the next photo is of them both cracking up! Make sure to make silly faces to try and make them blink.
- TURN UP THE VOLUME!: Lets have a dance party! If you have Spotify or Pandora on your phone, load a few of your little's favorite dance songs and we will play throughout the session to get them groovin'. If you don't have a phone with this capability, let me know before hand and I will make a playlist! :) This also works with adults, put some random classic dance songs on there to make sure I get you bustin' a move!
- Look Over Here!: This one can get confusing to a child. I am asking the baby/kid to look at me, then the parent is saying the same thing in a different direction. The easiest way to get your little to look at me and smile, this may seem strange, is to play peekaboo behind my back. Crouch down behind me and jump up with a loud "peek a boo!" Gets them every time! Animal sounds are great too, just remember to stand behind me, not to the side. Have fun with it, they will react to you laughing and making a game out of it!
- Snuggle Time: My son really likes this one. It isn't so much to get a laugh or smile, but to get an emotion. Take your little and hold them close. Look into there eyes with your foreheads together, kiss their cheeks, place their hands on your face. Not every kid wants to smile for the camera, lets face it....I am a total stranger to them. So, lets get those little moments that are so special and make sure they are stilled in time. These are always my most favorite with me and my son. They may be more candid, but I remember them so clearly and it always warms my heart.
- IF ALL ELSE FAILS: I will get all the crying photos you need so you can show them on their 18 birthday, or put into their graduation year book. LOL! Sometimes crying can be comical, in hindsight.