Capturing snapshots with a child’s natural expression takes a patient and fast
photographer mom. But there are a few tricks of the trade.
Professional Photographer Heather Gibb shares her tips for getting a great
1. Say no to “cheese”
That’s one phrase you will never hear me say at a session. Kids become
trained with that phrase to give their canned smiles. You will get the same
smile every time. Don’t force the smile as it only creates strange fake smiles.
If you are going to use a word, try a new one that is weird or funny like
pickles or feather fight.
Sometimes the best expressions are no expressions
2. Use reverse psychology
We all know that once we’re told not to do something, we want to do it. Tell
the child- don’t smile, let’s see how long you can go w/o letting your smile
Also telling them not to look at you will usually result in them peeking out at
3. Be silly and have fun
I will ask silly questions if their under 5 like does a cat say oink, oink?
If dad is there, it usually works really well if he’s a sport and will do a silly
dance or make faces.
Make it a game if you are trying to get them to do something specific.
When all else fails with the 5-12 year old range and especially boys — potty
talk usually works.
4. Let siblings and family interact
Here again, games with siblings can really work well. Telling the kids to have
a staring contest, laughing or jumping contests works well. Also telling them
to tickle your brother, hug your mom, tackle dad.
5. Give the child something to do
Give them something to do so that they aren’t focused on you or the camera.
Play peek a boo, hide something, or chase bubbles. Don’t just tell a child to
“look at me”, that’s boring for the child and they want a fun experience.
Heather Gibb is an on-location photographer specializing in newborns,
babies, children, seniors and family photography. She serves Utah, Davis
County, Salt Lake County and Utah County.