I got an email from Shauna last week asking for suggestions on getting a good smile from kids. I thought I’d covered that already, and found that I didn’t, so here we go!
If you are able to get an assistant, use one! I rarely have one, but when I do, it helps a LOT. My 9 year old son comes with me sometimes, once I had him be my reflector boy (which I rarely use, but was trying it out) and he was “bonking” me on the head with the reflector and I pretended to get hurt by it saying “ouch” really loud. It got the 2 year old to laugh hysterically. Here is the cute smile we got:
I have found that songs are the key to the young ones hearts. My 17 month old daughter lights up when she hears a song she loves. Find out what they love and sing it (they don’t care if you can carry a tune).
For kids 6-10, I hear they like potty talk. Though I don’t do it myself, they seem to enjoy the idea that daddy wears diapers, or daddy has stinky feet. Make sure dad has a sense of humor before you go doing that though.
That age group, its also fun to say…”tell me about your girlfriend” and whether they have one or not, you will likely get a smile. Get them talking about something they love: sports, their new ipod, a skateboard. What did they do for their last birthday party? What do you want for Christmas? Where was your last vacation? Though some shots will have awkward open mouth faces, inbetween…the thinking…the smiling…capture it.
Lastly, have a handful of words to have them yell out. The one I like to use a lot is “YEE-HAW” the yee part produces a great smiling face. Unfortunatlely, its over used at my home and my daughter likes to draw out her haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww and that doesn’t give me the face I want.
“HOWDY” is another good one. “Happy” or “hooray!” Celebratory words. ”HeeHee” is another one I like. Have them yell as loud as they can (location permitting) AH HA HA haha and after that moment, they will laugh for real.
It is possible to get a big group looking and smiling
Please, please, avoid the dreaded “cheese.” I’m sure it used to work (back in the 1950′s). When we originally introduced it to our children it may produced a good smile, but now it is so over used that there is no smile in the face when it is being said. I often see the mouth forming a straight line (you know what I’m talking about), the kids look scared, or thinking, “just get this done already.” You gotta surprise them, shake it up, get creative. But don’t SAY CHEESE!
Any tips you have? Please share!!!