Getting a real, genuine smile for a photo can be tricky. If you have worked with me before, you know that I like to keep my photography sessions simple, but trust me, they are far from lame! Ha! My ultimate goal is to create poses that capture natural and genuine moments for families, while also highlighting the beautiful connections between each of you. We also have some fun!


Keeping a pose simple can still create smiles and love.

I love to make posing for photos a fun and playful experience! Sometimes, I like to keep it simple and have a family stand together, and then I'll ask them to look at each other. That’s it! Believe it or not, time and time again that simple pose has create sweet smiling photos. And if I want to add an extra touch of excitement, I might ask the kids to share their favorite animal or trip with each other. This often adds a bit more authenticity. It’s like for a moment they forget that I’m there taking their photos. It’s perfect. NOTE: The specific question I ask will depend on their ages. It's all about creating a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone!


I do ask for one smile on command... "Christmas Card Photo" Then we play and get natural smiles.

Okay, so I love to capture genuine smiles, but let me clarify, I never force anyone into smiling. For that one "Christmas Card" photo we do at the start, I do ask everyone to look at me and smile. I might even jump in the air as high as I can, (which isn't very high at all!) to get everyones attention. Then me move onto poses and interactions I've designed to bring out those natural smiles and affection. For instance, when I ask the kids to run over and give their parents a big hug, it always turns into a delightful and laughter-filled moment. No matter the age.


The "Laughing Smile"

I have to admit, sometimes I like to ask people for what I playfully call a "laughing smile." It's something I do when I notice that their smiles seem a bit tense, forced or unnatural. As you gain more experience in photography, you'll become really good at discerning whether someone's smile is genuine or forced, even if you've never met or seen them before your photo shoot. Interestingly enough, most people don't even realize that their smiles are forced. It's the photographer's responsibility to be attentive and find ways to make families feel at ease during their photo sessions and help them act naturally.


Tickle party for some laughs

It has been easiest for me to get kids to smile and laugh when they are moving and playing together. Another good tip to get some laughs is to have a tickle party during the photos. I always ask it to be soft, gentle tickles. I learned the hard way that some kids, even parents get a little excited about tickles that it makes family member shutdown and actually get mad for being tickled. So, have those tickle parties, but make sure you emphasize that they have to be light and soft tickles. Don’t worry, the soft tickles still make kids and parents laugh.

I hope this helps ease your mind about your photo session and having the perfect smiles. Just come ready to play and love on your family. Keep in mind to have low expectations and just keep smiling and laughing at the silly things that happen during your photo session. Whether it be big or small, just laugh! I promise your session will go so smoothly if you do.

Ellensburg Photographer