Let’s face it, taking pictures of your kids is a crap shoot. Getting a real smile takes not only effort but requires a sacrifice to the gods. Miracles like that don’t just happen. While I know perfection is unrealistic and I love a good story that goes along with a horrible picture, I am human. I want cute photos of my kids!
Early on I tried everything. Jumping around flailing my arms, making silly faces, and playing peek-a-boo only wore me out. Nothing worked consistently. If it worked at all. I was always disappointed or frustrated that the pictures I got didn’t match what I saw in my head.
I love the fact that we live in the digital age. Being able to take 15 snaps of the exact same picture does help to increase my chance of getting at least one good picture. However, it doesn’t guarantee it.
Then it happened. I figured it out!
People always commented on how many photos I had where my kids were actually smiling. How did I do it?! No fake smile. I used to make a joke that my kids were just preconditioned because I took a lot of pictures. It always seemed easier to say this than to explain the ridiculous thing we actually do.
Now, I will let you in on our secret.
Have you ever noticed when you smile for real your eyes smile? All of the muscles in your face seem to engage. I realized this is the key to getting the authentic, genuine happy look. But how do you force that without it looking forced? You fake it!
So I know you are wondering how faking it guarantees my kid will flash a real smile. You see there is tons of research out there that suggests smiling boosts your mood and that your facial expressions can trick your brain into influencing positive emotions. When I ask my kids to stop what they are doing and smile, they are not always happy about it! They fidget. They don’t focus. Typically they don’t want me to take their picture. A real smile is never going to happen under these conditions. So I get them in the mindset first.
I simply say, “Now fake laugh”. It has turned into a joke. The moment I say it they begin fake laughing ridiculously. It is over the top! Within seconds they are sincerely laughing at each other. Their body has now been preconditioned to smile, engaging their eyes and all of their facial muscles.
It sounds so stupid, right?! I promise It works! Try it out and let me know what you think!