As a Boise kids photographer, I spend a lot of time trying to get kids to smile and engage. Have you ever noticed that photos of dads with their kids are almost always better than photos of moms with their kids? I have a theory behind this and I believe it’s because when dad is holding the babies, it’s usually mom holding the camera or mom behind the photographer, making silly faces and doing whatever it is that she can to get the kids to smile.

Your interaction with your children as their mother just can’t be beat.

So, as a photographer I’m always looking for my moms to help me get that genuine interaction from their babies. I want you to stand over my shoulder and play peekaboo behind me. I want you to sing a Silly Song and be goofy. (And p.s. I will never ever judge you for doing something crazy just so your kids will crack a smile.)

When you, the mom, are also the photographer, you want to do those same things. So here are a few things that I do to get my kids to smile at me when I’m behind the lens…

Boise Kids Photographer secrets:

1. Be Weird.

Kids respond to weird. They like weird. They especially like it when their mothers are weird, so let all those goofy silly noises and faces out and let your kids enjoy you. Sing really silly goofy songs at the top of your lungs. Snort at them. Act like a monkey. Jump up and down. Have a fake sneeze attack. Pretend to fall over.  Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t get upset if they don’t want to smile. Don’t get upset if they’re just not in the right moment for a photoshoot. You might need to come back at another time, And that’s okay. We’re looking for genuine connection and laughter here!

2. Try to Catch Them Unaware.

Sometimes, I will wait with my camera, anticipating the perfect moment. It might be when they step perfectly into the light, or I know something is going to happen. I wait for that reaction shot, and right as it’s about to happen I yell their name. Blade! Crewe! Bowen! They turn their face and look at me. And usually, if it’s something that they’ve just experienced that’s exciting, they’ll get that big smile on their face and look right into my camera lens. The key is to have all your settings ready to go, so when the time comes you can capture that perfect moment.

3. Play Games with Them.

This goes back to the whole be silly and weird thing. Here’s some ideas:

  • Have them think of all their favorite animals and then act them out. Roar like a tiger! Honk like a goose! Purr like a kitten! Make an animal noise and then ask them if they can guess what you are- can they do that animal noise even better?
  • Tell them that you have Mickey Mouse inside your camera and ask them if they can see him inside there. Tell them to make a funny face for Mickey.
  • Play Simon Says- usually while waiting for Simon’s next instruction they’re staring right into your camera lens in anticipation
  • Ask them if they can touch their tongue to their nose and cross their eyes at the same time- you’ll get that funny face shot, but usually right after the funny shot, they burst into giggles and look right into your camera laughing hysterically.

I don’t know what’s going to be funny to your kids, but for my three boys if you say the word “poop” “toot” or “fart” they’re gonna just die laughing looking right into your camera. So, put your self-consciousness aside, figure out what games and antics work best for your kids and go for it! You’re bound to capture some amazing images. Check out some of our Boise Family Photography galleries for more inspiration!


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Boise Kids Photographer

Boise Kids Photographer