9 Ways to Get People to Smile Naturally for Family Photos

Not everyone feels comfortable in front of a camera and this generally leads to forced smiles, something that can easily ruin a really good family photo.

If you have recently booked a photographer to shoot your next family portrait, here are some top tips for getting everyone to smile as authentically as possible.

  1. 55615_2018.12.01_POR_TrailheadWinter-2Get them laughing.Get someone to tell a great joke or a funny story to get everyone laughing, which will produce some real genuine smiles.
  2. Look at each other. Sometimes all it takes is looking at the people you love to achieve the perfect smiles for your next family photo.55113_2018.12.01_POR_TrailheadWinter
  3. Forget the cheese.Instead of using the classic ‘say cheese’ line, incorporate something unexpected into the sentence to elicit smiles and laughter. Using the word ‘money’ instead of cheese also produces a more natural smile.
  4. Take a breath.If you have people who are really nervous, get them to close their eyes, take a deep breath and smile as they open their eyes again.55406_2018.12.01_POR_TrailheadWinter
  5. Give them a compliment.A compliment makes anyone feel good so why not give each other a genuine compliment to produce some natural smiles.
  6. Fake your laughter.While it may feel strange at first, getting everyone to fake a laugh leads to some of the best smiles.
  7. Be silly.Get everyone to stick their tongues out or wiggle their bums for a fun reaction.55254_2018.12.01_POR_TrailheadWinter
  8. Happy thoughts.Get everyone to think of something that really makes them happy.
  9. Relax those facial muscles.Very often a forced smile is due to tense facial muscles. To prevent this, get everyone to scrunch up their faces and relax them to achieve a natural smile.

Overall, make this a fun day out for everyone to set the right mood and the genuine, happy smiles will follow.

Third Eye Photography


How to Make the Most of Your Toddler’s Photo Shoot

There’s no denying that getting a good shot of your toddler can be quite a struggle. Not only are they always moving around but if you happen to catch them on a bad day, there’s almost no way that you’re going to get them to look at the camera.

If you’re working with a professional to capture a few shots of your little one, here are a few tips that will help make the photo session go as smoothly as possible:


  1. Review your expectations.While a professional photographer does have more experience working with young children, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get perfectly posed shots every time. Sometimes, you simply have to embrace the fact that your toddler is busy and energetic and that your photographer will be working with that fact to get you the best possible shots.
  2. Make sure they are rested.A tired toddler is an uncooperative toddler so make sure that they’ve had a nap before the shoot.55715_2018.12.01_POR_TrailheadWinter
  3. Bring a few props along. Sometimes the best way to get your child to sit still is to give them something to do with their hands. Bring some of their favorite books and toys along that can be used during your shoot.
  4. Bring a few different outfits.If you’ll be shooting outside, have a few extra outfits ready to go should your child fall or spill something on their clothes. Being prepared with wet wipes is also always a great idea.54555_ 2018.09.23_POR_Noland
  5. Interact with your child.Help your photographer out by engaging with your child during the shoot. Sometimes calling their name will give the photographer those precious few seconds to capture their face as they look up. Your photographer will, however, guide you on what you should and shouldn’t do.

55722_2018.12.01_POR_TrailheadWinterRemember, when you’re trying to photograph a toddler, patience is key. Your photographer will, however, be able to guide you during the session to ensure that you walk away with the best possible shots of your little one.

Third Eye Photography

Unique Photo Ideas for the Unconventional Family

Having a great portrait of your family is a must-have in every home but there are no rules that say you all need to be in white t-shirts and blue jeans while you pose in a straight line. Your family portrait can be anything you want it to be and should represent your family’s unique energy.

If you’re looking for a few alternative ideas for your next family photoshoot, here is the inspiration you’ve been searching for:

A portrait within a portrait

Instead of having one photo of every family member together, why not incorporate three or four portraits into one? For example, get a fun shot of dad holding a portrait of mom, who is holding a portrait of their daughter. This fun effect will give you something really different to hang in your home.


Embrace Family Time

There’s nothing better than cuddling and laughing in bed or on the couch with your kids or sharing a meal with your family at a beautifully set table. Getting a few shots of your family spending quality time together can make for a beautiful, yet different type of family portrait.

Make use of water

For something really different, consider capturing your family portrait in the reflection of a puddle or body of water instead of taking a conventional group shot.

Replicate a famous photo

Create a unique family portrait by replicating a famous photo such as that of The Beatles crossing the street. Pick something fun and simple if you aren’t looking to spend money on extra outfits or props.


Take action

Action shots sometimes make for the best family photos. Have access to a pool in your backyard? Why not get a shot of everyone jumping into the pool. Other options could be you and your family spending time at the fair or the beach.

Show your superpowers

Does your family love to play dress up? Why not hire a few superhero costumes that you can use to create an epic family portrait.

Spend time brainstorming ideas with your family as you never know what fun photoshoot ideas might crop up.

Third Eye Photography

Best Natural Backdrops for a Photo Shoot

There are plenty of reasons to shoot outdoors for any portrait shoot. You have the natural lighting, the weather that can enhance the mood, and the simply picturesque scenery. It doesn’t matter if you live in the city or the suburbs there are plenty of natural backdrops you can use during your photo session if you know where or what to look for. Consider these top natural backdrops when scouting out a location for your next shoot.


  1. Wooded areas

Shooting in the woods can be a little more challenging than with other natural backdrops but it is well worth the challenge. If your shoot is on a cloudy day than you have the perfect lighting to take some amazing portraits. If it’s a sunny day than you can creatively capture the rays of light coming through the treetops. In either case, you will have stunning images that will be a little mysterious yet beautiful


  1. Sea, Beach or Lakes

If you are lucky enough to live near the water than you have an amazing backdrop for your photo shoot just waiting for you. These locations are some of the best because they tend to look different with each session. Since the tides are always changing, the weather may be different and the light is cast in various colors you can have a unique location every time you shoot.


  1. Fields

In the spring and summer time, you can’t go wrong shooting in a field of flowers. They can add pops of color to your shoot and can capture a whimsical or fairytale mode perfectly. While fields of flowers can be colorful, cotton fields can also add a whimsical touch to your photo shoot. Shooting as the sun is going down will allow you to capture the light and buds of the field.


  1. Sunset

No matter where you end up shooting capturing the sunset is always a perfect backdrop. From the orange and pink colors reflecting off the water to the golden rays dancing on flowers petals or through treetops, sunset is one of the most picture-perfect settings to capture.

Third Eye Photography


Posing Tips With Just One Child

Planning the perfect family portrait can seem to be more stressful than it should be. From what to wear to how to pose there is more thought and planning that goes into a family portrait so your images turn out beautiful and memorable. When you have a child not only do you have to worry about what you look like in front of the camera but also what your little one is doing as well. Finding the perfect pose with one child doesn’t have to be complex or stressful. Instead refer to the suggestions below to capture your child’s joy, excitement, and your family’s personality.


  1. Holding

Whether it’s a baby or a toddler there are plenty of ways you can hold a child to get the perfect portrait. Holding your child can make it easier to direct them where to look and can keep them more still for the photos. Consider having one parent holding the child while the other kisses them on the cheek or forehead. Or have both parents hold the child between them.


  1. Swinging

Toddlers love it when someone is swinging them around and this can be ideal for getting a genuine smile or laugh. Each parent can take hold of the toddler’s hand and swing them between them.


  1. Parents in the background

Let your child take the spotlight in some of the images. If they can sit on their own, have them in front of the parents who look adoringly at their little one in the background. Keep the child in the foreground in focus while the parents are just out of focus in the background.


  1. Walking together

While you can certainly do the traditional sitting poses with one child there are plenty of sweet moments to be captured by just going for a walk together. Having the child in between both parents hand in hand walking down a tree-lined path or on the beach as the waves hit your feet can be the perfect setting for a family portrait. If the child is too young to walk consider pulling them in a wagon as parents walk with their arms around one another.

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  1. Having fun

When it comes to taking images that involve kids, whether it is just one child or multiple children make it fun. You want to capture the true happiness of the family so play around in the fall leaves or kick your feet in the water. When you have more fun during your shoot you will capture the most memorable poses that won’t need any direction.

Third Eye Photography

Best Props for Family Photos

You have coordinated your outfits perfectly and chosen the most stunning location. But aside from the clothing and backdrops how else can you make your family portraits more memorable and meaningful? Sometimes it is the smallest details that can make your family photo stand out from all the others and these small details tend to be the props you use in your photos. While you can use just about anything as a prop, the ones you choose for your family portrait should have meaning to your family. The right prop will not only give you something to interact with and make you feel more comfortable in front of the camera but should also share who you are as a family. When choosing the perfect prop for your family portrait session consider these suggestions.


  1. Think about what you do together as a family.

You want you family portraits to really capture you as a family so when thinking of props just think about what you all enjoy.


  1. Quilts.

Quilts that have been handed down from generation to generation or just one that has been handmade by a family member are great for photo shoots. They can be used to sit or lie on, wrap up in or display in the background.


3.Sports items or hobbies.

Does your family sit down to watch a favorite team together? Do you all play a sport together? Wearing your favorite sports team jerseys, bringing along some golf clubs and balls, footballs, bat, and gloves, can be great for family shoots. These items not only give you something to interact with but also let everyone know what you like to do as a family.


  1. Holiday props.

Family portraits are great to use for cards or gifts so the holidays are the perfect time to book a photo shoot. Bringing items along that relate to the holiday season are great. Whether it’s tinsel or tree ornaments, or scarves and gloves, the holidays offer a number of fun and unique props to use during your family photo shoot.


  1. Something for the kids.

Balloons, bubbles, finger paints, ribbons or simply their favorite stuffed animal. Having a variety of items for the kids to play with not only keep them occupied and more cooperative but will also help capture their genuine joy.

Top 7 Milestones For Your Family Photo Album

Family photo albums, digital or traditional, hold unique and special memories. They are filled with the life you have created with the ones you love and the family you grew from the very beginning. But with so many years of time spent together how do you know what moments you should include in your album? Here are the seven most important moments that you’ll want to have documented so you can look back on and smile on years later.

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  1. Baby Firsts

Documenting your baby’s firsts are memories you’ll want to capture and reflect on in the years to come. From the first steps, first holidays and first birthday, these are all special occasions that you’ll want to photograph.


  1. Birthdays

It not uncommon to have pictures of every one of your child’s birthdays but there are a few that you’ll want to have some extra picture of. As mentioned, the first birthday is always a significant milestone but so are 13th, 16th and 18th birthdays.

  1. School days

The difference a year makes will astonish you when you compare their first day of school image to their last. Have your camera ready for their first day of preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade, middle school and then high school. Then capture them on their last day of school so you can compare the two. Once your children get to a certain age they most likely won’t be as cooperative for the first and last day of school picture so when they are young you should take full advantage of it.


  1. Dances

When your little one gets ready for their first school dance is a moment you’ll want to have in the family photo album. Whether it’s their first middle school dance, high school dance or prom, this is a moment that you’ll want to look at and enjoy when they are older.

  1. Achievements/Hobbies/Activities

Kids will bounce from one activity to another rather quickly. Whether it’s different sports like baseball, gymnastics, or golf or more creative hobbies like pottery, painting or dance there will be times when you’ll want to have your camera close by to get a quick picture. Including these types of images in your family album will not only bring a smile to your face as a parent but will also remind your kids of the things they used to love to do when they need a reminder.

  1. Graduations

While you have many proud moments throughout your child’s life, watching your child graduate will bring on a whole new level of pride. From kindergarten graduation to their high school graduation, these are significantly important days in yours and your child’s life.


  1. Weddings

From your wedding day to your child’s wedding day and even your parents 50th wedding anniversary, you’ll want to include these in your family album. Weddings are not only one of the most important days in your life but they are a day that marks a new beginning. The new beginning for your family as well as the one your children will have. They are days filled with love, joy, and laughter which is what your family album is all about.

Please visit Third Eye Photography to book your next event!