Tips to Get a Genuine Smile from Toddlers for Great Photographs

Keep in mind that the suggestions and recommendations that we are going to share with you in this post are not professional. We intend to share with you a few tips and tricks to help you get better images of your children and grandchildren.

1 – Interact with the toddlers

You can begin by talking to your kids. You cannot ask you toddler straightaway to look towards the camera and smile for an excellent photograph. Some children are shy and do not even want to establish an eye-contact with you; let alone smile at you. Keep in mind that that little toddlers can be quite fussy. They have all the time in the world to look everywhere else but towards you until you are ready to relent.

Whenever we come across a shy toddler or a preschooler, we tend to get rid of the camera and indulge in some friendly chatter with him or her. With this lovely little girl, we talked about her favorite TV shows and then began making weird noises such as those of a pig and pretended we could not tell from where the noise was coming; just to cheer her up. Once you have been able to get the kid’s attention, you can bring the camera up and ask silly questions such as

  • Does your dad put on nappies?
  • Can you spot an elephant on my head?
  • You seem older for your age? Are you 25?

Once you feel that she is more comfortable with you, you can extract that genuine smile you are looking for.

2 – Offer a treat

If the toddler is young and a little chattering is not doing the trick, then offering a little treat can work like a charm.

Something sweet can work for you. You can keep Smarties in your pockets while photographing kids. They are small in size, do not create a lot of mess and you can give it to a kid one after one without giving anyone a sugar high. Offer the toddler a candy and give her some time to start eating. You can then be ready to grab a picture as she smirks in sheer delight.

3 – Get the smile out

Do not ask for the smile rather surprise the toddler into one naturally. An obedient preschooler might give you this sort of smile if you ask for it.

Nice try! But this is not exactly what you are looking for. Isn’t it? Ask the toddler to close his eyes and then in a few moments make a loud noise such as a bark or a sneeze. He will be caught gob smacked and will probably end up laughing for a few moments and may even give a smile later on. Be careful with extra reluctant kids since this technique can freak them out.

4 – Sad face

Ask the toddler to make a sad face. You can urge him not to smile until he bursts into a laughter as he will try hard not to smile. Hey, remember to capture the sad face as well.

5 – Scream is the last resort

If none of the above tricks works, ask the toddler to scream as loud as possible. You might need to encourage him somewhat but a large number of kids love to scream. Once they are done with screaming, they ultimately smile. No one can scream as loud as possible and then not ending up smiling. It is natural!


Keep in mind that it is not easy to get a great picture of toddlers. It is quite hard to establish that coveted eye-contact and angelic smile every time you make an effort. It does not seem to work at all on some occasions. What’s really great is that when it comes to kids, smile is not the only expression worth capturing with your camera. Other gestures and postures can also work really well.