Getting Children to Smile for a Picture

Getting ready to take your children in for a yearly picture? Or maybe you are overdue for a family portrait and you want a couple pictures of your children on their own as well. Whatever the case, it is time to get your children to smile for the camera and that job is often much easier said than done. Here are some tips on how you can get your kids happy and smiling while taking pictures:

One Word that isn’t Cheese

“Say Cheese” is used so often and even children get bored of the age old saying and instead of actually saying cheese or even smiling, often they will roll their eyes or just stay in the exact same position. Change things up and try to get them to say some fun words that interest them like “football” or “dance” or “Woo Hoo!” or “Cheeseburgers.” Using different words for the kids to repeat may get them a little more happy and involved in the picture taking process. You could also have the kids repeat some of the lines to their favorite song; this will definitely get them in a better mood.

Keep a Bag of Surprises

For younger children the task of getting them to smile is that much harder, especially if for some reason they are not in a good mood that day. This is why it is important to have a mystery bag full of fun treats, tricks, and toys for those younger children. Keep some balls, rattles, stuffed animals, and more in your bag that you can pull out when singing a song doesn’t work. Sometimes all you can do is distract a young child from crying long enough to get a picture and a bag of mystery surprises works best for that goal.

Have a Conversation

If the children you are working with are old enough to talk then you should have a conversation with them so they become comfortable with you, the room, and the camera. Ask them about their friends, about school, and what they like to do for fun. Once you get them talking they forget about feeling sad, mad, grumpy, and or nervous and they are more willing to smile.


Older children respond to encouragement, if you are quiet while taking their picture they could get self-conscious and nervous about the way they look, the way they are posing, or even the way they are smiling. When the child strikes a really fun or cute or great looking pose let them know and say things like, “Oh that looks great” “You are a natural” “Try that pose again it looked awesome.” These encouraging words and phrases will let them know they are on the right track, will boost their self-esteem and will get them to want to continue.

Try to Explain Beforehand

Younger children become nervous and scared when they are forced to do something new and that means explaining exactly what you are doing, where you are going, and what the children will be expected to do is a great pre-exercise to doing anything new. It may also help to let your children know what you are going to do after getting pictures taken; for example maybe you could tell the children you can go get ice cream after they take some great (smiling) pictures.

Once you have chosen your pictures you have a few different options when it comes to printing, you could always go with printing companies in Carmel, they are top-notch and will give you quality service.