You've made the investment in custom portraiture for your child. You've planned the outfit. You've set the date. How do you ensure your child will smile for the camera on the day of your session? The simple answer is.....YOU DON'T!
Capture them as they are
If you're still with me, you might be panicking! No smiles? Isn't that why you take portraits? Yes, and no! A legacy for your child should include their personality, right? I aim to capture all aspects of your child's personality. Of course, I will try to get a smiling shot. I always do! But, I don't get it by saying cheese, bribing or threatening! I get it by playing, joking and having an all around great time with your child.
In the portrait above, this little lady is showing me her latest dance moves. She loves to dance to one particular song. As soon as I started singing it, she started dancing. This was one of her mother's favorite shots from the day because it captured her daughter's personality and how she is right now, at this age!
Sometimes, kids are shy or serious. It's worth capturing this part of their personality too. I realize that forcing a child to smile by saying "cheese" or "smile" might not get the job done. In fact, it might just force a fake smile. I know you didn't hire me to get a picture of a fake smile. So, if your child is being shy, we'll capture that. Then, we'll get onto the silly stuff. Most children, once they warm up, end up giving me tons of natural expressions!
Kids are curious and they love exploring. This little guy was really into putting leaves in his pocket. His Mom says that he collects all kinds of things in his pockets. When he needed a break from the session, I let him wander and explore. Once I started discussing his collection with him, I got a great shot of his curious little eyes. Can you see the excitement in them?
Overall, your child's session should be fun. I ask parents to relax the rules for session time and to prepare their children for the session by describing it as a fun day in the park with Erin. I ask parents not to threaten or bribe their children. Instead, describe the session and incorporate something fun, like an ice cream after the session as a part of the experience! Leave the jokes and fun to me, and you won't be disappointed by the natural expressions that I capture on your session day!