Photography Tip >> How to Capture Real Smiles

One of the questions I get asked most often is "how do you get your kids to smile in pictures?" I will admit that it does seem (from the photos I post) that my kids are always perfect at smiling for the camera. I wish that were the case, but there is a little more to it than that! While they are very used to me taking pictures of them and being in front of the camera, I still have to work at it to capture real and genuine smiles! Because let's face it, an image is not very meaningful to us if the kids are pulling one of those cheesy fake smiles that we know is completely not genuine! Trust me, I get PLENTY of those!!

I have learned over the years that it is all about capturing and creating CONNECTIONS! A pretty photo with a perfect background, cute subject and well-styled outfit means nothing to me if there isn't any magic to it. And I believe that the MAGIC comes from the CONNECTION you either create or capture while you are taking pictures. 

Here are a couple of examples to show you what I mean. In this first one you can see that in the bottom image Emily is giving me the classic fake/cheesy smile that I often get at the very beginning of the photo-taking process. Yep that's when we tell our kiddos to look at us and smile. We all get this more often than we would like right? The top photo is the one I captured when she was really genuinely smiling. Such a huge difference!

 In this next one, the bottom image is that classic look we get from subjects (especially toddlers & teenagers) that simply do not want to smile for us! And sometimes it feels like no matter what we say or do, it's all we are going to get. But then in the top image you can see that I was in fact able to get her acting natural and smiling that true Lizzy Kate smile that we all know and love!

Maggie Holmes Photography Tips

I wish I could tell you in one simple blog post just how I go about capturing and creating connections in my photography, but it's not that easy. And this is precisely how the idea for my PHOTO CONNECTIONS workshop came about. Now all of my secrets, tips and tricks are wrapped up into a 4 week, content rich, online workshop with handouts, videos, a message board, gallery and more! This is the part of photography that I am MOST PASSIONATE about, which means I am thrilled to share it all with you!!

Not only does the workshop cover the process of getting genuine smiles, but it covers things like capturing connections between multiple people in your photos, creating a connection through composition and connecting to the stories in your photographs. Plus each week, there is a BONUS handout as well!!

Girls Balloons Feb 2014-1

Class starts today but registration is open until June 4th, so it's not too late to jump in and join us!! We have a great group already and would love to have you as well! My experience with these classes is that the member gallery also gets filled to the brim with amazing images from the students, which provides even more inspiration and ideas for everyone!!

Find out exactly how I capture magical photographs through connections in this new online workshop!!

>> Register for my Photo Connections Class here <<

ALSO >> This is NOT a class about settings and technical stuff pertaining to a certain type of camera so you can take it no matter what camera you use. The techniques and concepts taught will work with a dSLR, point and shoot or even your phone camera!!

Happy (genuine) Smiles ;)!!


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  • Susana
    May 30, 2014 at 4:14 am

    Woooow!!!, lovely smiles!!!
    I love your work, congratulations!

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