How To Get Your Kids To Act Natural In Front Of The Camera

toddler in momslap laughing

Genuine Images That Evoke Emotion

Taking photos of your children where they’re smiling genuinely and look natural can be hard to come by. But, there is a way to capture those genuine moments on film without asking them to do anything! Kids love to be kids – being told to pose a certain way, stand still, or do something over again for the sake of capturing that moment on camera doesn’t usually work to get a frame-worthy portrait.

Family Portrait Sessions

I love photographing family sessions because capturing your little one’s personality on camera is such a special thing to have as a keepsake. As mamas we all wish to could press pause on childhood, and experience every single moment of our baby’s wonder and curiosity over and over. Learning when to pull out your camera will present perfect opportunities to capture beautiful memories of your little ones that are natural, organic, and unposed.

mom of three boys smiling and holding kids

Genuine Smiles and Candid Moments

Here’s how I navigate children in my portrait sessions to bring out their personalities in the most natural and “picture-perfect” ways:

Don’t say cheese
I never use this tactic to get children to smile or look at the camera. Saying cheese trains them to smile with their mouth instead of both their eyes and mouth – we want to see the real smile that lasts and makes their eyes light up!

Don’t try to “pose them”
Let me interact with them and draw those smiles out naturally. I will chat with laugh with them and be goofy, so that they don’t feel the pressure to be “perfect” for portraits. Capturing them while they’re doing their own thing will give us beautiful portraits that sum up their sweet personality.

Get them at their best
Make sure kids are well rested and fed before the portrait session. The last thing your little will want is to be tired and hungry at the start of a session. And on that note: don’t feed them sugary foods/snacks the day of our session. They are more likely to crash from a “sugar high” rather than be energized. Bringing a healthy, mess free snack along will hold them over if you’re in between meals.

Let them be themselves
Whether your little one has a rambunctious personality or a mellow one, letting them be themselves during a session is the best thing you can do for them. Kids will be kids – they will want to run, play, explore, sit, bounce around, and cling to you within the span of a few minutes! Trust that the very best of them will be caught on film, and that you will receive the most gorgeous and sweet memories from this season in their life.

If you would like to schedule a summer portrait session, please send me a message to set up our initial consultation. In the meantime, please feel free to visit my portrait session pages for a glimpse into what it’s like working with me!

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The quality of Michelle’s work has been widely recognized by clients and top publications

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