Natural smiles are the most valuable characteristic of Portrait Photography, especially with children. Natural smiles are just priceless, and I have my own ways and tricks to getting children to smile naturally.
I’m often asked to share my secret for getting children to relax and smile naturally. It takes a pinch talent and sprinkle of patience, but it’s easy when you know how.

Natural Smiles |

I’ll never forget the mother of these girls telling me how much she loves this portrait because she finds it so difficult to capture natural smiles.

Here’s my recipe for capturing natural smiles:

I ask them to tell me stories. I ask them to tell me about things they like doing at school and I pay attention to them. I use this especially with children to relax and gain their confidence.  They start to see me as a friend instead of a distant adult.

I put myself at the same height; being petite (yes, I’m a shorty), it’s not difficult. I even sit down on the floor and put myself in a lower eye position so they gain confidence even more quickly.

I don’t ask just for smiles, I ask for different silly faces and noises. I use this in every session so children can become confident at making faces. The true natural smiles will appear from face to face. I pursue the natural face of children instead of the posed one, and I have discovered that children become unaware of me taking the picture when they are moving from one face to another.

I get parents involved. By changing the dynamics and getting parents involved, kids gain complete confidence of the photography situation.

I show the pictures on the back of the camera to the children as well, and they feel truly involved with the creative process. Horaah for team work!

Becoming a families ‘personal’ family photographer and working with them year after year is fabulous. The children get to know me and I get to see them grow up. Every child has their own personality, and I earn their confidence and trust by building that relationship over time.
There are shy, sassy, serious, and laughy kids and all of them are completely different. It’s about capturing their whole personality and all the moods. But, it’s much easier for me to achieve natural smiles with kids when they see me as a friendly person instead of a stranger with a big camera trying to capture their smiles.
I hope that helps. Good luck to you!
Kim Rix Photography
Making Memories Precious