How to get a natural smile in photos | Hints and Tricks

Ever look at a picture of yourself and not like it because you knew you were faking a smile?  It’s natural for people to force a smile when someone holds up a camera! Think about it! (Unless you are like my youngest son that glares at me and says “no pictures, MOM!) It’s such a challenge to get him to forget about the camera or phone I’m holding up so I can capture his natural smile, which is AMAZING! My oldest son is more like the first example. He shines all his teeth at me, looking more like he is going to eat my camera than take a great picture! haha!

Then there is me! I’m used to being on the backside of the camera, so being in front of it makes me nervous and anxious! I never remember what to do with my hands and I just feel awkward!

I’m going to give you some hints and tricks I use to get a natural smile in photographs! I even use some of these when I’m in front of the camera!

Get Real!

When know I have to take pictures, I have to spend some time gearing myself up! I give myself a pep talk, repeat some mantras and find a happy place. As a mom, it’s so easy to fall into the craziness of the pre-photography session madness! It’s one of the reasons I dread it so much! That brings us to our next point…!

Natural smile in real moments

Get Ready!

I am a list maker! It’s how I get stuff out of my head and hold myself accountable! If I don’t have a list for it, I have to make one! Getting ready for professional portraits has some prep work! Make a list and get to checking things off! Pre-session stress does not make for natural smiles!

band senior portraits natural smile

A Natural Smile needs material!

There are a few known things that make me smile. If I can pack my brain with them, I’m bound to smile! Good music and good food, watching my kids have a private dance party, or a good snuggle with my boys. I also have a few tricks to making my boys smile! It’s inevitable that they will smile all the way through an ice cream cone! Playing games with them and genuine praise! Try making a list of things that make you smile or things you are proud of! What activities do you enjoy doing? Could you incorporate them into your session?

Be Yourself!

So often, the conversations I have with clients during the shoot lead to some great laughs which leads to some amazing natural smiles! If you don’t worry about forcing out the natural smile and just be in the moment, you will find that the natural smiles come all by themselves! So let the worry go and just be yourself!