How to get that big beaming smile in your family photos

Children are completely unpredictable. One minute they can be relaxed and laughing uncontrollably, and the next, clingy and nervous. I totally understand, I have 2 of them and see many more than that in the photography studio. I can guarantee they will smile for you all day long until you put them in front of a camera, then they have the ability to freeze like a rabbit in headlights.

We certainly want to avoid the gritted teeth and forced smiles during our photoshoot and I have a number of tricks up my sleeve to help encourage this .. patience and getting to know your child being absolutely key!

baby photoshoot newborn smiling in their sleep wearing pink hat baby smiles ely photoshoot

Here are some things you can do to help prepare for your photoshoot: 

1.     Have a think about what makes your child laugh, is it blowing raspberries? Tickles? Playing peekaboo? Some of our favourites are sneezes, parents pulling funny faces behind me and using our sensory scarves to play hide and seek.

2.     My second go to with children over 1 is to talk!! I find many children open up if you can chat about things they love doing, or for example what they have asked Father Christmas for, what they do in the sunshine…etc any topic really that get’s them chatting and takes their mind off having their photo taken. So when you arrive I may ask what their favourite activities are and if they have been doing anything fun recently. (And you never guess, this works great for us camera shy adults too!! We do love to talk!!)

3.     Saying cheese (unless you know this really gets a real beaming grin) is something I find can put children on edge again as they’re suddenly made aware that I am there to take their photos. If you can come up with another phrase that makes them smile, have a practise! My go to when I’m doing school photos for example is to get the children to say something a bit gross (bogey sandwiches is a good one!!) or to shout something really loud as afterwards they always think it’s great and you get some fantastic smiles!!

School photography at Rainbows pre-school, Ely

School photography at Rainbows pre-school, Ely

4.     We love a good sing-song and if it isn’t a rendition of baby shark or if you’re happy and you know it - I’m more than happy to tune into your child’s favourite! We have had Elsa, wheels on the bus and even some rock classics in the past! Alexa comes in handy too! Come prepared with your children’s favourite songs as they’re a great way of relaxing and everyone having fun!

5.     Last but not least, bring their favourite toy! No you may not want it in the photo but starting off with Ted having a cuddle, then sitting next to ..then helping me taking the photos is again another great comfort to children.

christmas photoshoot family child holding cuddly toy sentimental photo with christmas backdrop

 If you’re still worried your little one won’t co-operate and we will start resorting to new toys and mummy pulling her hair out, worry not, HONESTLY! We will get there in the end! Don’t believe me, check out some of my recent reviews on Google here …

Vicki is an excellent photographer and a lovely lady! She makes our baby feel at ease and also us parents. Her photos are brilliant and so natural. We love her! Highly recommended!
— Charlotte Hale, Google review
Once again Vicki from Photographvie has done a brilliant job capturing my toddler perfectly in our latest set of photos, which is no easy task when she doesn’t stay still for long! We’ve booked Vicki for a variety of different ‘mini’ photo sessions and the locations have always been excellent and we’ve always been very pleased with our end photos. Vicki has a wide variety of options for photo sessions available throughout the year so it will be a tricky decision to decide what will be our next one.
— Emma March, Google review

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