Video: How To Get Kids To Smile For A Photo And why bribery gets hilarious results.

Ok, confession. I find it challenging to get a good photo of my kids smiling at the camera. As much as I love photojournalistic images of them, sometimes I just want them to look at me with a natural smile, darnit!

So I’ve tried it all. Asking them politely. Begging them. BRIBING them with CANDY.

But alas, those methods, while easy, don’t get great results. So watch the video above to see what it takes to get kids to look right at you and smile! It’s actually not that hard, and it’s super fun!

Then in the comments let me know how you get kids to look at you and smile!!

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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15 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. That was the best, so cute, and so true! <3 Melissa

  2. I’ve taught my kid to do a fake laugh. She’s now almost 6 and she was about 1 when we started doing it. Obviously it looks very fake, but there is moment before and after when there’s a real laugh or smile in her face and those photos are just authentic and amazing :)

  3. Well done Laura! Your video made me laugh – your kids are so sweet. I struggle with smaller kids like your little one – but you’ve given me some new ideas to think about on my next family session!

    Gainesville, Fl

  4. You are so fun Lauren!! I’d smile for you if you told me a farting bird story too :) How about whoopee cushions, asking the young one to engage you in a who-blinks-first contest, and pretending you (or someone else) is going to tickle them? I find the anticipation of a tickle is enough to get even BIG BIG kids cackling!! Thank you for your generosity in teaching, x

  5. Thanks for the tips. Awesome – Peek a boo really worked :)

  6. So fun! Some great tips. When it gets really hard, a grab a younger bro or sis to stand behind me, that always cracks a smile. Oh, and of course, the fake monkey in my lens, which every single child somehow seems to be able to see!

  7. I’ve found that jangling my keys right above my camera(or having a parent do so) gets the attention and smiles of really young(around 6-12 month) children.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this! I have the worst time with my OWN children haha, and always appreciate new tips. :)

  9. Haha kids are adorable but they can surely cause some problems :D bribing always works!

  10. Kids are a really fussy model group :)

  11. Heyho, photographing really young kids or even shy older kids is really difficult. Photographing them with another kid helps sometimes. A friend, a sibling, even mommy for a few shots. What also works for me is jumping, dancing and twirling (girls in cute dresses love that). Talking to them, asking questions about their favourite toy or even their clothes helps too. Gets them engaged and once they talk about their favourite doll or car print on their t-shirt, you got them.

  12. OMG this is my life. And this totally made my day. Thank you for sharing this little gem :)

  13. Good solid info. They said kids is the hardest to work with in the camera. But in my case, it’s not. I enjoyed working with kids.

  14. Lauren! Captured a baby picture with natural smiling is always challenging. Last time when I was tried to captured my new nephew photos. I have face some struggling moments. Hope I will use your tips and tricks in the next time. Thank you for your real life video and best wishes for your amazing kids.

  15. Amy Bergey says:

    I act like a complete idiot when I am in the studio. I sometimes laugh just thinking about what must be going on in their little minds as they watch me dancing around, making crazy noises, sneezing, playing peek-a-boo and doing whatever is necessary to get that expression. =]

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