7 Kids photoshoot ideas to get them to look at the camera and smile

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Kids’ photoshoots don’t have to be chaotic. Children can be unpredictable but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them to smile directly at the camera. There are ways to work around a child’s temper. These 7 kids’ photoshoot ideas will help you keep the photoshoot under control and get the best portraits as a result.

#1 No yelling

This is the golden rule of kids’ photoshoots. When parents or the photographer is yelling, a stressful environment is built. You want to encourage kids to be in front of the camera and if you’re yelling and getting all worked up about how they look, where they stand, how they pose, they will catch on to that energy quickly and will be less willing to cooperate.

Positive reinforcement is the best for kids. Tell them how beautiful their smile is, tell them they’re doing a good job or what you liked most about their pose. That will make them enjoy the experience and look forward to their next kids’ photoshoot.

#2 Let them move

Usually, kids don’t like posing, especially toddlers. That’s why you should also take into consideration the possibility of taking candid pictures. These can be adorable, they capture real and beautiful moments. Keeping forever the expressions of your kids when they’re being themselves is priceless. So, let them do more than just stand and smile.

You could let them play a game, maybe a simple game of peek-a-boo could get them laughing and showing off their personalities. You could also let them explore the setting of the photoshoot and let them react to things around them. You could even encourage them to run around, spin or jump. If you have several kids you could get them to make funny faces to one another and capture their smiles afterward. The possibilities are endless, and for sure you’ll find an option or kid photoshoot idea that will work for you.

#3 Find a quiet location

If you want a kid to look directly at your camera you need to keep them focused. This can be hard when you’re at a very busy place like a fair, a main street, or a mall. That’s why so many families prefer to take pictures in nature, fields, farms, and forests tend to be quieter.

This will keep the camera as the center of attention for the kid’s photoshoot and will help them look at it. Whatever noise or prompt you make you want to remain the most interesting person or thing around, so try to choose a place that won’t give you trouble.

#4Ask them questions

Having a conversation with a kid can be so much fun. Children don’t have filters, they’ll ask awkward things and be sincere about whatever you ask them. Talking to kids during a photoshoot can help them relax and want to look at the camera. Also, asking them questions about things they enjoy will get them smiling. Here are some questions you could use:

  • What’s your favorite superhero?
  • Have you ever watched (any popular kid movie)?
  • What is the best place in the world?
  • Tell me about your friends…

All of this can be great for kids to smile and get a natural look during the kids’ photoshoot. If the photographer starts talking to them, it can also help them build trust and start to enjoy the shoot a lot more.

#5 Surprise them

Catching kids by surprise is a great way to get to smile or even laugh naturally. There are many things you can do during a kids’ photoshoot to get them to smile big without it being forced.

You could try any of these:

  • Whistle: this will catch their attention. You’ll want to take your pictures quickly because this will only hold their attention for a few seconds.
  • Ask something funny: you could make a funny question to grab their attention and also get them to smile. It could be something like: who has the stinkiest feet in your family? or something to catch them off gard like: What color was Napoleon’d white horse? Anything that will get them to pay attention to you.
  • “Say brocoli!”: insted of telling them: “say cheese” you could try with “brocoli”, it will get them interested and the last vowel will also get them to smile. You could try different words with the same effect.
  • “Do you want to hear a secret?”: When kids are loosing their focus on you, you could tell them this and get them to look at you. Afterwards you can say anything, it only helps to keep them looking at the camera.

#6 Reverse psychology

This will most likely work with stubborn toddlers. Tell them not to do exactly what you want them to do. Like: “oh no, please don’t look this way!”, “No, no, no, please don’t smile!”, “Show me your best frown”. That way you could get them to smile and look at the camera out of spite.

#7 Bring toys

Sometimes, toys can be great aids and prompts. If your kid has a favorite stuffed animal, use it to guide their eyes to the lens. You could also tell them to play around with that favorite toy and get some memorable shots.

This could also backfire, maybe your kid will only want to play instead of taking the pictures, so try to keep control over the situation. Also, keep it simple: only one toy so the kids don’t get too distracted.

Conclusions about kids’ photoshoot ideas

Taking kids’ pictures can be hard but it isn’t impossible. Understanding children’s nature and working around it is a great way to get pictures you’ll truly enjoy looking at years down the line. Use these useful tips to get candid pictures where your kids will be smiling and looking at the camera.

For more family photoshoot ideas and photography tips, keep reading:

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