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Get Kids to Give a Real Smile

I have worked for a couple youth sport photography companies now and just so you know, telling a kid to "say cheese" is so 1990s (or at least that's where it should've been left). When little kids hear this they freak and almost always give their biggest kid smile. Kid smile? Parents and photographers, you know the one where it's amusing for a second but it won't make the wall because quite frankly it looks a little painful.

So how do we get around this? Well for starters we keep cheese on pizza where it belongs (under pineapple, don't fight me on this) and away from iPhones and cameras! Introduce new sayings to your catalog that can generate an authentic smile. You'll want to come up with a few different things to say because you know when you really need that picture they will not be having it!

I'm going to give you some juicy, sophisticated covert phrases and techniques that will help snap that great picture and essentially lead you to become a child whisper. I am even considering ending this post with a major pro-tip that may or may not be worth a ton of money. No objection will made if you decide to Venmo me after I've change your life. Let's begin.


Most young kids are involved in some sort of sport or activity. Try to ask outrageous about themselves and sport they play.

- At your last game I heard you scored 100 goals!!!

- Who would win on a one-on-one, you or LeBron?

- Do you think you're taller than Kobe?


Whether a kid has a pet or not, most have predetermined their favorite animal.

- If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be?

- What's the best pet name you can think of?

- Would a whale be a good pet?

TV, Movies & Toys:

This may be the strongest contender because kids LOVE their favorite characters, so try to come up with unconventional questions about them.

- What's your favorite show/movie?

- Did you ever notice Olaf is always naked?

- What kind of job does Mickey Mouse have?

My go-to phrases & questions because I am a child:

- Say 'stinky feet!'

- Does dad have stinky feet?

- What are you going to eat after this?

Now the key to this is asking these questions with sheer enthusiasm. Keep it playful and fun. Not all kids love being in front of the camera, epsicaly if they're not familiar with you, so it's important to keep the conversation going.

So I've decided to release my final, most important tip. Can you guess what Chapel is doing in the picture above? Perfect smile, perfect body language, this bad boy will not only make the wall but the fridge, the phone lock screen, even the modeling portfolio (no I'm serious, he's a real life model). Okay I think I gave you enough time to guess! He's doing the hokey pokey- head, shoulders, knees and toes, KNEES AND TOES ladies and gentlemen!! My big sis is this young mans mom and has three other kids that are well versed with being in front of the camera, so she actually thought me this one. It's honestly so brilliant! The child your photographing will have so much fun and you'll get those genuine shots you were looking for!

I hope these tips can help you in any way possible! Do you have a better tip? Comment below, I would love to know other secrets!

#photography #northcarolina #NorthCarolinaphotography #tips #photographertips #childrenandfamilyphotography

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