big smiles kids photographyAs a parent, it can sometimes feel like it’s difficult to “have it all” when it comes kid’s photography. You can have the perfect scene, the exact right camera settings, but the one thing that is missing you have little control over: that big, toothy grin that makes all kid’s photography stand out above all the rest. The next time you’re facing a Gloomy Gus or Frowning Francine, try these five tips to generate big files:

Action and Adventure

There’s nothing like play to turn that frown upside-down. Sure, you can’t get poses while they are playing, but you can get bright smiles. Slides and swings are great kid-confiners, as they limit side-to-side motion, so all you need is a fast shutter speed (1/200s, for example) to freeze the action. Select a telephoto lens (one with zoom, preferably) so you can alternately zoom in for child portraits and then pull back for a lifestyle shot.

kid's photography tips for big smiles


Singing songs can be a favorite pastime for kids, you can feel free to turn on a fun tune while you are setting up to shoot. In case they are really in a funk, try changing up the words with a bit of nonsense. Better yet, find them an instrument so they can play along and grab some photos of their inner musician.

Dress Up

Get out some costumes and old clothes – not only is it a great way to get kids to smile, but there’s nothing better than kids wearing oversize shoes, hats, etc. to create amazing kid’s photography. You can set up outdoors for great natural light for your photos, or near a large window to ensure you have good lighting for your photos.

big smiles in kids' photographyMake a Fort

Pull out some sheets and chairs, a few lamps (with cool fluorescent bulbs) and some pillows and cushions and start building! After a few shots of your kids happily immersed in building, head inside their creation and get some close-up portraits of their content and happy faces (use a large aperture, such as f/3.5).

Crafts and Cake

Pull out some paints and other crafts, put together a puzzle, or hand over some baked goods (the messier, the better). Sure, it may not be tidy – but a messy kid is a happy kid!! The most fun set of kids’ photos you may ever get involves a young child (1-3 years) and a big, icing-covered birthday cake!

If all else fails, it might be wise to put off your photo shoot for another, happier day. Of course, no one minds photos of grumpy children – it is, after all, their perfect right to have thoughts and feelings, as well as their own individual personality!

If you are still having trouble capturing the perfect kid’s photos, consider a kid’s photography workshop to help hone your skills!

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