with Courtney Slazinik
3 Tips to Photograph the Child Who Doesn’t Smile
3 Tips to Photograph the Child Who Doesn’t Smile

I’m sure most of you are just like me, your story all started with a baby, your obsession to document their every move turned into a very handy skill to have around the house. You thought for sure everyone would love and appreciate your skills and then it happens. That said baby turns into the kid who refuses to look at your camera (yet swears she’s looking right at you) and if you’re lucky you end up with pictures like this…

no smile-11no smile-10

Thanks kid, that was the expression I was going for ;) Sometimes, your kid just doesn’t like to smile for the camera, and if you force it you end up with something tragic like the above picture. Trust me I get it! I’ve spent countless moments frustrated that the look my daughter gravitates to (which is coming soon) does not showcase her super extrovert, giggly self in the slightest. After months of frustration I finally lost hope of capturing that girl and funny thing happened, by taking my focus off of that expression I’ve gained all sorts of unique images of her! So today I’m sharing the 3 ways I’ve embraced my child who doesn’t smile for the camera.

  • No.
    1. Change your focus

    no smile-4

    I know you really want that smile, but by changing what you’re focusing on you end up having memories of your child’s beautiful long lashes, or the baby hair that sweeps across her face. Find the little things about your child that you never want to forget and focus on those. Their hands won’t be this little a year from now, or those teeny tiny toes…

    no smile-8

  • No.
    2. Give them something to do

    no smile-3

    There are times I can tell my daughter straight up wants NOTHING to do with my camera. But I still want to document the moment we are in. So I’ll just tell her to keep doing what she’s doing and ignore me. I’ll sit far away like a fly on the wall, peeking in on her adventures or cuddles with her brother.

    no smile-7

    Other times I’ll get up close, in the moment, but I’m not asking for any interaction from her, I’ll just let her be. These are usually the times I get the most genuine perspective on the moment. I love capturing these candid photos.

    no smile-9

  • No.
    3. Embrace it

    no smile-5


    Here’s where you get to see the expression that my daughter is most at home with in front of the camera. I’ve stopped fighting it and have chosen to actually embrace it, she doesn’t want to smile, fine then, give me those fierce eyes!

    no smile-6

Now I won’t go as far as to promise this last part BUT I’m pretty confident that if you do some of the steps above, well sometimes you’ll get what you want..

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Now there’s my silly Bee-Girl :)

  • Monica Galvan
    July 1, 2015 at 6:53 PM

    Such a great idea for a post. It’s not often you find a child who doesn’t love the camera but it does happen so this is great!

  • Amanda Sue
    July 1, 2015 at 8:54 PM

    I needed this so much!!! I sometimes feel like my kid must be the only kid who doesn’t smile for the camera… all of my other kids do, but my oldest fights me on it so much.

  • Ann Culp
    July 1, 2015 at 11:06 PM

    Instead of asking my grandkids to smile I like the shots where they don’t know I am taking the picture. But to get a smile I start by asking them to make faces such as my silly face or my scary face and before you know it we have smiles all round.

  • dalia ofrat
    July 2, 2015 at 1:04 AM

    It is nice to see a child smile but in my opinion the more interesting and artistic photos are captures with
    other expressions

  • Christian
    July 2, 2015 at 9:10 AM

    Can’t believe the kind of pictures I can get with the kid even focusing on something else.

    Thank you for this awesome tips


  • Laura @ My Friend's Bakery
    July 2, 2015 at 6:44 PM

    It’s like you’re speaking to my soul! lol I have a teenage boy that NEVER smiles, so I have to take pics of him when he’s not paying attention. Once in a very rare while I’ll get him with a smirk, but most of the time it’s not.

  • Dawm
    July 6, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    Thank you! These are brest tips I’m going to try on my husband. (My daughter is grown & gone) A friend has gotten him to smile for photos but he still doesn’t like me to take pics.I hope these will help!

  • Gale
    July 6, 2015 at 8:09 PM

    What lens and settings did you use outside?
    You will love the south. I have lived here all my life. I’ve live in Alabama but just found out we are moving to Florida.

  • Jonell
    July 25, 2015 at 10:09 PM

    I wonder if these will work with my 27 yr old…

  • Elisabeth
    July 26, 2015 at 6:55 AM

    Thanks for this. My daughter hates to smile for the camera!

  • Jennifer
    July 26, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    Thank you, Thank you, for this article. I have a teenage boy who is an extreme introvert and NEVER smiles for the camera and I. I hope to try some of these new ideas for capturing more of his lovely personality instead of his ‘camera glare.’

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