boy, child, toddler, memories, park, location, family, photography, irvine, californiaWe’ve all heard it before, right? We want our kids to smile, and we say the most common phrase in the photography world… “say cheese!”. The problem is that we train our kids to smile on command in our day to day snapshot photography. In fact, sometimes (without really knowing it or intending for it to happen) we train our kids to have a sort of an anxiety about having their picture taken because we are asking them to smile rather than causing them to smile. For ages we’ve heard the phrase “say cheese” to invoke the child to put their mouth in a position that sorta kinda looks like a smile. It becomes forced, and either the child grows increasingly nervous if the smile is unacceptable, or a picture is taken that lacks a genuine smile.

In the world of snapshot photography, photos are taken quickly and attention to detail is not usually a high priority. Even casual photography should bring out someone’s personality in the best way possible. The most effective tool to accomplish this is through a relationship with the subject. A constant interaction between the photographer and subject can bring out real laughter, smiles and even a somber look if desired. The key is to establish a comfort level, especially with kids, making them feel comfortable and engaged in the experience. Before they know it, it’s all over and you’ve got a set of images that you’ll both treasure for years to come.