Your smile is yours, smile it the way you want to!
When I was a kid, my grandmother once took me to have my photos taken at a professional photographer. I can remember, the dress she put on me scratched the living daylights out of me, I was so uncomfortable and the last thing I wanted to do was smile…. but I had to. Every now and then she would look over the photographer’s shoulder and say “No Adele… smile nicely. Don’t fake your smile, Adele.”
Since that day every time I had a photo taken, that replayed in my head… “Don’t fake smile, smile nicely…”
Today I am that photographer who has to take your kids’ photos and the thing I hear constantly is “Don’t smile like that… smile nicely”
I am a parent myself and I know exactly when my child is giving me a fake smile. But you know what I realized? So what? That fake smile is the cutest smile you might see in the end, and even create a memory of its own. And not only that… once the child relaxes the genuine smiles come out.
The moment you tell your child to stop smiling a certain way, they become self-conscious and try to focus on smiling… and most of the time failing.
My own two sons (photos on this page) have their own ways of smiling and I have to stop myself constantly to not make this same mistake. My youngest one looks more like he is shouting at me when saying “Cheese!” than smiling but its the way he smiles and that is what I want in the end… not a picture-perfect photo of someone who looks like my child but isn’t truly him. But as soon as he relaxes and enjoys himself that true smile comes out.
So my tip today for parents is: stop telling your child how to smile. As soon as they get into the photo session their natural smiles will come out. So try to enjoy a photo session and try not to worry too much about that smile.
Other than that, leave it to the photographer to get your child to laugh naturally. Personally, I try to chat with the kids, get them to see me being silly, relax and laugh with or even at me. If the photographer isn’t funny enough, play with your kids, tickle them, make them have fun, make them relax. And if he/she is not in the mood to smile or laugh, it’s not the end of the world. You will love them no matter what anyway 😉 No photo has to be perfect, even those not so perfect, are timeless.
Photo credit goes to Steve D’Elboux (Pix by Steve) who stuck it out with us, trying to get my kids to laugh without making too much of a fuss. Thank you so much for the amazing photos and timeless memories 😉