You’ve had the idea in your head for months and now the date is in the diary for your perfect family photo session. You’ve spent even longer than that searching online for a photographer who can provide the style and feel that you want. You’ve researched and bought the outfits to make sure you all match and look on point.
The day is finally here and for some reason, your little one is just not playing ball. Maybe they didn’t sleep well the night before or maybe they sense the change in routine. Whatever it is, asking them to “SMILE” on cue won’t make your family photos and here’s why:
Not smiling actually shows personality
It might sound crazy, but it’s true!
You might’ve caught this on my Instagram story, but I recently photographed a little girl during her dance rehearsal who flat out refused to smile. Her teachers sat on the side of my pop-up studio, begging her to smile and what should’ve been a 10 second headshot photo, ended up taking about 15 minutes with breaks, bribes and multiple interventions. As a result, I ended up capturing a really moody looking little person in her beautiful costume for her first ballet show. I felt a little deflated, but mostly nervous to show her parents, who were undoubtedly really looking forward to seeing her photo.
The moment came, and Mum and Dad were both in hysterics: “She never ever smiles for a photo!” they told me as they proceeded to buy multiple copies for family and friends. Which leads to my second point…
It will make an awesome memory one day
One day, all we will have is memories and vibrant stories of our childhood, parenthood and beyond. What we often lose sight of is that the photos we take today are the memories we will hold on to for years to come. Beyond that, the photos are moments in history for the generations that come after us. So it’s always more than just smiling for a photo.
You can avoid the dreaded fake smiles
You know the ones I mean! They kind of resemble creepy gremlin smiles and usually have a matching over-the-top pose to accompany it. Yeah, lets avoid those…
It sets the tone for the session
First and foremost, my sessions are laid back. I aim to explore moments and get the little ones comfortable. Sometimes that can take time, so it means being patient and waiting for the moments to reveal themselves. Telling them to smile can take away from the unexpectedness of it all and more often than not, being told to do something on cue repeatedly leads them to the do opposite. Let’s face it, our kids are rebels by nature.
Of course this is all age dependent, but in short, I like the little ones to direct me and my camera – it’s way more interesting and natural.
Encouraging children to be themselves normally leads to smiling anyway
In being curious, engaging and often silly (I just described myself by the way) you’re almost guaranteed a smile anyway.
So relax parents! We will get the image that your grandchildren will show their children. It’s all relevant, beautiful and part of your ever-evolving story.