How you can avoid letting your kid’s “cheesy” smile ruin the family photo



Say cheese….who in the world came up with this?


When meeting with moms during a design consult before a portrait session, one of their biggest concerns is can I get a natural smile without the cheese? I can!! And so can you. The cheese smile, and we all know what it looks like, is fake and unnatural. Its The one you often see in school pictures. The question is how can you get rid of it.


First never… EVER!!!   tell your child to say cheese for the camera unless you want to deal with this forever. Mothers of very young children can avoid this situation by never letting anyone tell them to “say cheese”. This is a learned reaction that you can stop!

If it’s to late and your children have already learned to react this way for the camera,  don’t worry. There are ways to deal with it.  Believe it or not it starts with you.

Learn to be sneaky when using your camera. The biggest give away is the flash. Try turning it off. More on this in a later discussion. You will be surprised how much better your pictures will look.

You may see your child sitting on the couch reading or paying attention to something else. They have that beautiful inquisitive expression that you love. This is what makes a great image…not say cheese! Quick take your shot before they see you.

You have seen me work with your children. Next time really watch what is happening. The best images are the camera unaware moments. Most parents are so concerned that their children are not giving me the reaction that I want, that they often go overboard during the session, trying to get their children to smile… Or worse, say cheese. This makes things harder for everyone. Most often the relaxed natural look will be the image you will fall in love with…this is really your childs best expression.

Watch how I communicate with your children. Many times I will just start talking, ask them them questions. Sometimes I will chat with you, but I am always watching them- just waiting for the moment they let their guard down. That’s the decisive moment you get your image.  Of course practice makes perfect. This is what I do everyday. And just so you know, my own nieces and nephews will work me just like your children will work you. They know when your upset. So relax, and keep in mind-They will always react differently to another adult that’s in charge. In the end natural is always best.

Follow theses simple tips…

 Never ever tell your child to say cheese

Try turning off your flash so your child is not aware of the camera

Learn to be sneaky

And last but not least… Give your kids a break. Don’t get upset because they won’t do what you want them to do. This will only make them hate having their picture taken and remember, There is always tomorrow to try again!

 Keep in mind there is a reason you get your hair cut by a professional and a reason don’t do your own taxes…even though you could!  When it’s important to capture that innocence that will disappear all to soon… Leave the job to a professional. This is what we are trained to do. 


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