This is a guest post in the series CREATE Mental Health. All week we will be exploring how different people use creativity to create and maintain mental health. Today’s post is by Jenni Lillie. Jenni is the owner of Awaken Photography, which specializes in wedding and family photography. Welcome, Jenni!
Cut the “CHEESE!”
Photographing kids can be very fun, unpredictable and stressful. When I photograph a family, I can tell right away how their family takes pictures. A lot of times as soon as I point the camera at them they will look at me with a cheesy, fake grin. Sometimes the kids will even yell “cheese,” a prompting born out of repetitive habits and norms.
But there’s a different option out there. If you are tired of the “cheese” smile my suggestion is to “cut the cheese.” Just don’t say it anymore. If you want more natural-looking photos of your kids, do the opposite–don’t demand they look at the camera at all. Follow them around, observe, and snap away. Photograph the details of their day or their lives. Do they have a special blanket, toy or sport? Let them play and get photos of them being themselves. Those will be the memories and moments you cherish.
Finally, it will be more enjoyable and fun for everyone involved to not force the photo to happen a certain way. Removing our expectations frees us to just capture them naturally. There’s always a place for posed photos, so I wouldn’t discard them completely. And when that time comes, get your kids laughing and snap the genuine smiles they have and not the toothy “cheese” grin you may be used to.