No more “cheese!” please!

Cameras are ever-present in kids’ lives these days, with digital cameras being small enough to fit in your pocket, or even integrated into your cell phone. The technology is amazing, and yet it seems harder than ever to take a decent photo of your kids! Here are a few tips to make your next Kodak moment shine.

Keep it simple. Before you click the shutter, remove the clutter. Background objects, logos on clothing, and other visual distractions draw the eye away from your little subject. Try zooming in with your lens or shifting your body a bit to crop out any distracting elements.
Just say no to cheese. When you ask your child to perform a fake smile, don’t be surprised when she gives you more of a grimace – all teeth and no light in the eyes. Instead, engage with your child in a natural manner. Ask her to tell you her favorite joke – you know, the one that always makes her laugh the hardest? Break out the bathroom humor if you must (always a big hit!) Just keep it real, and you can capture those true expressions that you know and love.
Turn off your flash. Photography is all about light, but you want the right kind! Natural light, either outside or near a window, is much more flattering for anyone than flash, which can wash out faces and create harsh shadows. Throw open the drapes or take it outdoors. And check the camera manual if you aren’t sure how to turn off the flash.
Know when to say when. Your child will let you know in his own special way that he has had enough of picture time. Sometimes it’s as simple as a baby who won’t look you in the face anymore because he is over-stimulated, or it may be a little more obvious, like the toddler throw-down on the floor. Know your child’s limits and know when to call it quits! Keep photo opportunities fun and your kids won’t  run from you when you take out the camera.
Get in the picture.  Often, moms are the family historians; we are the ones who make sure that life’s big and little moments are documented and photographed. However, it’s important to make sure that we get into photos with our children. One day when your kids are thumbing through albums from their childhoods, they’re going to want to see you there, living and loving on them. They won’t notice or care that you had twenty extra pounds or that your roots were showing. Hand off the camera and get in the frame. Your future self – and your children – will thank you.
Christy Johnson of Be True Image Design loves to capture the unique connections between children and their families through her modern lifestyle portraiture. When she’s not chasing her own kids around with the camera, she can be found snuggled up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. View Christy’s portfolio and visit her blog at
Cary Heise
Latest posts by Cary Heise (see all)


  1. Great tips! That’s SO true about moms not being in the pictures. I have very few of me because I’m always taking them and my husband is not very good with the camera!

Leave a Comment