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How to get kids to smile for the camera

Justa E , Nov 14, 2005; 06:25 p.m.

What do you say or do to get nervous and shy kids aged up to 5 years old to smile for the camera? What methods do you use that have helped?


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Emre Safak , Nov 14, 2005; 06:29 p.m.

I smile myself.

Richard Cochran , Nov 14, 2005; 06:47 p.m.

Have the kid watch her dad make silly faces.

Kim Long , Nov 14, 2005; 07:28 p.m.

In the 3-6 age range, potty humor works surprisingly well. "I smell a fart! Did you fart? Woo-ee! Somebody made a stinkie!" Demoralising, perhaps. Crass? You bet. But boy do you get natural smiles! Potentially offensive to parents, so use discretion. :-D

Jon Jacobson - Grand Rapids MI , Nov 14, 2005; 07:43 p.m.

I use that one with senior citizens all the time.


Just kidding. Good one Kim, I'll have to try that one next. (um, but with young children)

Todd Frederick , Nov 14, 2005; 07:59 p.m.

I fart, and they smile every time! (^U^)

Ok...I make faces, strange sounds (oh, we covered that!), and just the old routine of say: cheeze, pizza, hamburgers, etc.

Dolls and toys don't seem to do it.

I'm also using digital, so I just take many photos in rapid fire and hope for the best...not really good photographic form but it works.

With very young children and babies, have someone quickly wave a piece of cardboard in front of their face and you get a cute startle response.

Mitchell Kirschner , Nov 14, 2005; 08:14 p.m.

With my 2.5 yo daughter, it can be a challenge because she quickly learns my strategies and starts ignoring them and the camera. That said, questions like "Hey, is your nose green?" have gotten me some warm, genuine sparkly smiles. But it is a constant challenge for this Daddy who, in his daughter's words, "takes too many pictures." And when she does tell me that, I take the hint and put away the camera.

Stephen H , Nov 14, 2005; 09:21 p.m.

If you're not in the portrait business, and can take your time, just catch them when they are smiling, as opposed to trying to get them to smile. If they're your kids, try taking them someplace different- new park or playground, something to distract them.

One challenge is to get kids to ignore the camera- get some good pictures when they just forget you're there and go on their way. Ang that works a lot better if you're not forever telling them to smile or look your way.

As with adults, it doesn't require a smile on a face to make a good shot- quite often just the opposite.

And if you ARE in the portrait business...can't help you, sorry!

Todd Frederick , Nov 15, 2005; 12:51 a.m.

I have seen many samples of children portraiture that is very formal, like with antiques chairs and tapestry backgrounds, posed perfectly.

I have no clue how they do it and I'm not really interested.

I want to take photos of children being children, and the way I do it is to play with them.

I'm a retired 5th grade school teacher so I guess I know a bit about kids.

I may take too many shots, but when children play, that's to be expected.

I am attaching a photo from last Monday of a young girl who loved playing around an old huge tree. I just kept shooting while she played.

Girl and Tree

Todd Frederick , Nov 15, 2005; 12:56 a.m.

Hope this image is better. I have no clue why the above is so awful.


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