1. Ask them not to smile- Crazy, right? By insisting that they give you their most serious (or silly) face kids usually can’t help but crack up every time!
2. Play peekaboo- This one works great for the little ones but not so well with older kids who know what’s up. Make a goofy face and then disappear quickly behind the camera, return again a few seconds later with a different silly expression.
3. Offer them a treat- As long as it’s okay with mum and dad, slip the pouting kid a Smartie or some other small lollie that can be eaten quickly. Even if the child is all smiles the entire photo session, what’s a little positive reinforcement to let them know you appreciate how well behaved they are?
4. Show them the difference- Many kids, especially older ones, can easily tell the difference between a fake smile and a genuine one if you show it to them. Usually, once they’re have an idea of the smile you want they’ll try harder to help you achieve it.
5. Shoot a couple photos with mum or dad too- If the child you’re working with is extremely shy try snapping a few images of them with their mum or dad. Chances are you’ll get some good photos of them and their parents and once they warm up you can ask if they want to enjoy the spotlight by themselves for a while.
6. Engage in an activity with them- Ask them to jump, dance, or do cartwheels! Show them that you’re interested in what they can do. Once they stop focusing on your camera and start having fun the smiles will happen naturally!
7. Give them some control- If you’re taking pictures of older children ask for their opinion. Kids like to feel involved.
8. Act like a kid- Seriously, the sillier you act the better! Neigh like a horse or roar like a lion. Just let your inner child loose for a little while and soon the kids will be laughing just as much as you!