How to Get your Child to SMILE during a photo session

Can you even believe what I entitled this post?

Moi...who tries to stay as far from "CHEESEY" as possible when it comes to family sessions?

Here's the thing...I know that families WANT that picture with everyone smiling...they also want to depict their family how they truly SEE each individual...and THAT has to do with HEART...getting to the CORE of a person...

So what do I do when a little one has just HAD IT with everything for the time being?

First off, there IS some background leg work that must be done...there isn't a whole lot I can do for a grumbly/hungry tummy during a photo session...nor can I do much if little ones are tired because they haven't napped or it's just been a long day already...

However, even if all the "behind the scenes" things have taken place, it still doesn't guarantee that littles will be all smiley and ready to go...

sometimes they are:
grumpy, moody, whiney, bashful, nervous...

Okay, it's starting to sound a bit like Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs...

I digress...

What do I DO to keep things going so that I can be sure that my families leave with the hope that their images will be more than what they ever envisioned in the first place?

Off the bat, it's about THEM...I get down on their eye level and try to let them know that I can be fun and THIS can be fun...and I try to keep that big ole camera OUT of the "picture" right at first.

I also try to let all the enthusiasm of my extroverted personality come spilling out as much as possible...and let them know, that even if they are shy or nervous, they will BY NO MEANS ruin anything...we are here to have FUN and enjoy mom & dad & siblings...I'm just there to watch it all happen!

Sometimes there is a need to engage in crazy stories or asking questions...I've been known to skip & jump and even do crazy stunts...

And remember, I'm not all into "say cheese"...but I AM into,
 "Let's see how high you can JUMP!" and 
"can you race to my finish line?" and 
"tell your sister a crazy joke, but see if you can whisper it so I don't hear it?" and 
"who is ready to FLY?" and
"let's make silly faces" and
"let's play PRETEND"

I keep things moving's not worth the struggle or the frustration for little minds to keep trying to nail a specific shot that isn't happening...again, it's about spending time and making a memory, NOT posing for the most pinterest worthy image

the funny thing is...the more we DON'T try for that type of thing, the more


the images become...

Here are some of my favorite little girls..just BEING themselves...I've used all sorts of "tricks" on them...and I'm never disappointed and we rarely get the same thing twice...because each time we meet up...we're there for THAT moment in time, in THAT season of their lives...

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