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Photo Tips

3 TRICKS TO GETTING KIDS TO LOOK & LAUGH AT YOUR CAMERA

July 10, 2024

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Have you ever found photographing young kids to be a little unpredictable? Maybe sometimes even a bit challenging? I know I sure have. Especially in my early days of my photography journey.

I remember coming home from some sessions exhausted and frustrated because nothing went the way I hoped it would. Not only could I not get my clients’ kids to laugh, but sometimes I couldn’t even get their attention at all! It was chaotic.

Nowadays, not only can I get kids’ attention, but I also have some tricks up my sleeve to get them to cooperate and actually enjoy the session. This always results in images infused with genuine laughs and lots of joy, which is why my clients hire me in the first place.

It definitely took time to get to where I am. After lots of trial and error, I was able to develop a family session posing system that gets me the results I want every single time!

In this blog, I am going to share with you my three favorite tricks to get kids to laugh during their family portrait sessions. These are going to make your life as a portrait photographer so much easier. 😉

Trick #1: “There is a Monkey in My Camera”

My first and favorite trick to get children to look at my camera and laugh in family portrait sessions is to tell them that there is a monkey hiding in my camera. Here’s how it typically goes:

I say with lots of excitement while looking at the kiddos: “Did you know that I have a monkey that hides in my camera?!”

Then, I ask if they can see it. Depending on their response, I might say:

  • If they say no: “Well, sometimes if you laugh at the monkey, it will come out!”
  • If they say yes: “Realllly?! WOW!! (with lots of excitement) What color is it?! Is it blue? Yellow? Pink?” (They almost always will say the color, and that alone will get the sweetest smile/laugh.)

Trick #2: “There is an Actual Monkey on My Camera”

A few months ago, I stumbled upon something called a shutter buddy. A shutter buddy is a little stuffed animal that goes on top of your lens, and it is AMAZING.

I do not put the shutter buddy on right away. I typically wait until the point in the session where the kids are starting to lose their attention. At that point, they have already used several of my tricks, and we are starting to lose that initial excitement they had.

Then, I sneak the shutter buddy onto my camera and pretend like nothing happened. They will often point out the fact that there is an actual monkey on my camera, and that is when I act so surprised. The more over-the-top my reaction is, the more it will get them to laugh.

Trick #3: “I Hope Mommy (or Daddy) is NOT Doing Anything Silly Behind My Back”

No one can make kids laugh better than their own parents. Kids love seeing their parents do something silly. It’s especially funny if they do not expect it to happen. It’s even funnier for them if they feel like their parents are “breaking the rules” and doing something silly behind my back after I just said, “I sure hope Mommy/Daddy is not doing anything silly behind me.”

As the parent behind me is performing the silly action, I keep saying things like:

  • “I hope nothing is happening behind my back.”
  • “No one is doing anything silly behind me, right?!”

Remember, your tone matters so much here. Speak with lots of energy and put your acting skills to the test.

There you have it, three of my favorite tricks to get kids to laugh in a photography portrait session. Hopefully, these will help! If you want to watch me making kids laugh during real sessions make sure to check out my new behind the scenes membership for family photographers, “Embrace the chaos”

Until next time, friend!

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I'm More, and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about my sessions, photography tips, travels,  and style. Stay a while and say hello!

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