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How on earth do you make kids smile on camera?!

We’ve all been there. You’re half an hour or more into the session with your kids (or client’s) and it just isn’t working out. I mean, you prepped, you have a bunch of inspirational photos in your phone for this EXACT occasion. How on earth did people get these photos?! How do you make kids happy?! They won’t even pay attention to me.. let alone a huge camera. You’re probably thinking “Man, they must bribe these kids or something.”, well I do ..if my other tricks don’t work.

Has baby eaten? No matter what age.. Hungry kid = Cranky
Make sure baby is napped, fed, and feeling good (sick babies can totally be shot.. they just might not be in the best of moods if something hurts).

Most of the time you’ll hear me asking mom and dad what their favorite thing is. I try to make them feel comfortable with me. That’s ALWAYS important. You want genuine laughs and smiles? Get to know them. Ask them what’s their favorite show, car, toy, book, an-y-thing. Just let them know that you care about what they have to say. This is my favorite thing to do because you can see their face light up when they hear “Mickey mouse!” or “Octonauts!”. Priceless.

“But Jovi, they keep running away from me!” So what? Kids run! Let them. They can’t run forever. It won’t hurt to snap some photos while they’re galloping around (these end up being mom’s favs anyway). Let them get all the giggles and wiggles out while the session is still fresh. Mom and Dad will thank you once their kiddo hits the car and takes a nap.

Melt down? Let them have their moment. If you continue to work with children or if this is your child you’re aware of how common melt downs are. Just like anything else, they won’t last forever. Get some photos of the parent holding them/ calming them. If there’s more than one shoot the other ones for a while. Let them have their space. If you have a full-blown-tranobile-episode then you might have to reschedule.

Surely I’m lying right? Nope it’s that easy.
Look at this session:

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Literally the first Photo. They’re adorable, sitting like two big kids..

but then they ran wild!
Now.. what face looks happier?
are you melting yet?
Yes, sometimes I do tell them what to do, but 99% of the time they’re being picture perfect and I have to make sure my camera is ready for whatever they might throw at me.
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They were running away from me and back to me in these images above.
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Pure. Genuine. Happiness.untitled shoot-8931 copy

untitled shoot-9039These shots were “photo bombs” but I mean really.. look at that face..untitled shoot-9106untitled shoot-9094Oh, and sometimes they don’t even look at all.
untitled shoot-9138at the end of the day, you just want some snap shots of them. You want to capture them as they are and if you do that.. then that’s what I call a success.. YAY!