Kiddies are completely unpredictable, even the older ones that we expect to sit and smile sweetly. They can be so adorable and easy going and laughing uncontrollably one minute, and the next minute, turn that charm off completely. They will typically smile for you all day long until you put them in front of a camera, then they freeze up like a deer in headlights. We want to get the best smiles we can. Over the years I have learnt what gets those beautiful happy smiles and what most definitely does not. Here is my number one tip and it is not what you would expect.
Do not try to get your child’s attention or tell them to smile (unless I ask you to)
Babies and young children are often overwhelmed when they walk into my studio space. It is large and full of all kinds of interesting things. I am also a complete stranger. So the best thing to do is to sit on the floor directly behind me and say nothing. I need a chance to build a rapport with your baby or young child and get those natural smiles where they look straight into the camera.
Picture this scenario:
You’re a small kiddo and have just walked into a very big, completely new room. A lady with a big black camera is sitting facing you and pointing it at you. And then she is talking to you and making faces. But mom and dad are also frantically trying to get your attention. Mom is on one side of the room and dad is on the other. 
Then because you are just sitting there staring wide eyed at everyone Ouma and Oupa also start calling your name and trying to get your attention. Mom then starts clapping her hands above her head and dad starts promising ice cream. Where on earth do you look and is there any reason to smile? Everyone just looks crazy and making a heck of a noise!
This is the most common scenario I see and 100% of the time ends in wide eyed stares and eventually tears.
One of the first photographs of my session with this little man. He was still warming up to me and getting comfortable.
I need to get your beautiful baby or young child to smile for real at something I say or do. The calmer you are the better things will go. So taking a seat right behind me on the floor, keeping a smile on your face and not saying anything gives me the opportunity to connect with your little one and a much better chance of getting those amazing smiles and laughs.
Once he had warmed up and felt safe with me he was all smiles and happiness.
Here’s to a great session!