8 Ways to Get Kids to Smile Naturally for Photos

It’s easy enough to get children to smile for a photo but it’s another to get them to smile naturally. Parents want more photos of their children but not when their noses are scrunched up and their teeth are clenched.

Whether you will be taking photos yourself or getting a photographer to help you. This is how you can get your children to smile more naturally in photos.

1.     Turn to the traditional game of peekaboo

This tactic works best on kids that are 2 years old or younger. Just make sure that your camera is ready to capture the moment once you start playing. 

2.     A tickle always works too

If you know that your little one is ticklish, use this to your advantage during photo time. You may have to get the timing right though if you don’t want to be in all of the shots. Otherwise, simply embrace this playful moment and capture a few shots with your child.

3.     Toss them in the air

This is another one that works well with kids who are still small enough to be tossed up into the air. Again, this means that a parent or older sibling will need to be in the shot with them but it always results in genuine smiles.

4.     Throw in a bit of reverse psychology

If you’ve ever told your child not to do something, you’ll know how well this works. Basically, if you want to get more smiling shots of your child, tell them not to smile for the camera. As soon as they start to smile, reinforce what you just said in a light tone of voice and they’re bound to bust out laughing, giving you the perfect shot.

5.     Pull a silly face

This is a simple tactic but an effective one. Taking the time to be silly and pull a few goofy faces is often enough to get your children to put on an authentic smile for the camera. Even making funny noises works really well.

6.     Play a game

Children love games, which is why it works so well when you want to get them to smile for the camera. Get your children to pop out from behind something or ask them to see how high they can jump. Just make sure that your camera is ready to capture the fun.

7.     Force a belly laugh

If you want your child to settle into a nice, natural smile, show them how to belly laugh. It will obviously seem forced and fake at first but it generally causes both the parents and the children to laugh uncontrollably once they get going.

8.     Tell them a joke

If your kids are a little older, write down a few silly jokes that you can tell them throughout their session. Knock-knock jokes are a bit hit and there are so many to choose from too. 

If you will be working with a photographer, know that they will be there to provide you with additional guidance during your shoot, so don’t overthink it too much.


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