Everyone loves a beautiful family portrait that shows the personality of each family member and the love they all share – but is getting the perfect shot just completely impossible? I don’t know about you, but family portrait day can often be a source of more anxiety and hassle for me than it is fun and excitement. I worry about how the kids look, if we can all stay clean long enough to get to the photography studio, and what will happen when we all get seated into our perfect pose. Through trial, error, and some great tips from fellow parents and photographers, I’m committed to making this year’s picture more beautiful, more authentic, and more stress-free than ever before. Here are some of the techniques I’ll be using to coax that perfect smile – try them with your family!
1. Don’t Force It
I can tell when my kids are giving that ‘fake’ smile. The smile I’m in love with is the one that happens spontaneously because they’re in a great mood and feeling joyful. When we try and get our kids to smile it takes away the natural flow of the moment and the smile and the expression on their faces simple won’t look right for them. Instead of saying ‘cheese’, try to have actual fun at the photography studio! Tell a joke, bring out a toy, or tell a funny story. Be silly, be real, and let the family you know and love shine though in the snapshot!
2. Lighten Up
Many parents are so stressed out at a photo session they end up turning up the parenting skills a little too high. I think that is we can totally relax, have fun with it, and let it be as imperfect as it wants to be; our kids will pick up on that and relax as well. After all, who can smile when things are so tense?
3. Let Them Help
Often times parents make a photo something kids have to ‘do’ instead of something they get to ‘experience’. From backdrops and poses to outfits and color schemes, keep your kids involved so that they feel as important as they are in the photo. Get their input, hear their ideas, and give them the chance to have their own voice heard.
4. Choose Wisely
When it comes time to choose a photographer – pick one that’s ready to have as much fun with the event as you are. Avoid sterile ‘photo factory’ studios and opt for someone who can take time with your family to get things right. Nobody can smile when they’re rushed for time and feeling pressured – so don’t make that part of the process. Select a photographer or studio that loves working with kids and that will give you more than enough time to let the experience be a memorable one for more than just the photos you’ll end up with.
What tips do you have for keeping kids neat, smiling, and patient during photo shoots?
Share them with us in the comments below!