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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Just thinking about having a family photo taken is enough to give some parents headaches. Chances are these are the parents whose children are either camera shy, or their child simply cannot sit still for a photo to be taken. There are a few tricks that parents can use though, that can help make the photo sitting almost enjoyable, and get a smile from your child.


Before leaving for your appointment with a photographer, check to make sure that everyone has eaten. If your child is hungry, you are not going to be able to capture your child’s beautiful smile on film. No one wants to smile when they are hungry.
For infants and younger children, a change of clothes is always a good idea, having a family photo taken when a child is in wet or dirty clothes never turns out well.

Finally, double check the diaper bag, if your child needs one. Make sure all the necessities are packed. With a little preparation, your child should arrive at the photography studio in a good mood.

Eye Contact:

Shy children have a hard time making and keeping eye contact with both the camera and with strangers. If the photographer is unknown to your child, encourage them to spend some time together before starting the session. The more comfortable the child feels with the photographer, the more likely that smile will come out. If your child is just unsure of the camera, try playing “peek a boo” from behind the camera, this almost always brings out a smile.


While pictures of children playing might elicit smiles from adults, they do not make a family photo. For the over active child who just cannot sit still for the family photo, try playing a game with them. The child’s game “Simon Says” is a great one. Though do not start off with, “Simon Says to sit”. You will need to work up to that one. Games are also another great way to get shy or grumpy children to smile naturally also.

Pick a Word:

It does not have to be “cheese”. In fact, many photographers are now recommending that any word but “cheese” be used. Basically, any word that is easy to have repeated back will generally work. Try the name of a favorite cartoon character that almost always will get a genuine smile for your photo.


When trying to get children to smile prettily for the family photo, bribery almost always happens at least once. There are times, when nothing else will work, especially with slightly older children.

Getting your child to smile for your family photo is not impossible. By interacting with your child, and a little bribery at times, you will have a beautiful family photo. To help keep your child’s smile pretty, regular dental visits, like with Colorado Springs Periodontist, are crucial.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want cheery family photos.