Want to capture a one-of-a-kind portrait of your child? Then cut the “cheese”.
A few weeks ago I posted a blog on getting more authentic smiles out of your kids called “Help! My Child Smiles Weird in Pictures”. Now I’m here to encourage you that in addition to that picture where everyone has perfect smiles you cut the “Say Cheese!”.
Instead of a big smile, capture the haunting, quiet beauty of your child not smiling. Not running around. Not laughing. Not angling for your attention. Not shouting “Cheese!”. Just who they are at rest, serenely happy, healthy, and whole.
I think you’ll find that you’ve captured something magical.
Brooke in her three year old portraits above and her four year old portraits below.
To try this for yourself:
1. Get on the same level as your child. I like laying on the ground facing each other.
2. Tell them you’re going to take pictures of a bunch of different faces . . . ask them to make a “no smile” face.
3. If that picture looks more “angry” than adorably pensive try asking if they can “see the butterfly inside your lens” and to “look REALLY carefully and quietly to see if you can see it.”
4. If all else fails tell them you need to “get the settings right on your camera” and look busy while suggesting “you don’t even have to smile, just lay there for a minute”
5. Remember that to capture relaxed, calm emotion you have to be relaxed and calm. Your child will mimic your emotions so keep it light-hearted and casual.
6. Crop in close – you don’t need a lot going on in the background. Challenge yourself to zoom in more that you normally would. (Yes, person-who-just-said-they’ll-crop-it-later . . . does that ever actually happen?)
Now your assignment is to try for one good no-smile picture of each of your kids this summer!