Engaging your subject for genuine expressions | Long Island Child & Family Photographer | September Blue Photography

I can spot a fake smile. We moms know our kids’ fake smiles and we know them well.  “Don’t smile like that, give her your real smile!”  I know a child well-trained to give the photographer a “cheese” smile when I see one.  But my goal is to always get a genuine smile and real expressions (even if they aren’t smiles).  You get that by engaging your subject.  I was culling this session and came across a set of frames that were a good example of how I got Andrew to give me that REAL,  melt-your-heart smile.

And as I started writing this blog post, I realized…this little series illustrates two other points very well:

1 – Ever wonder why your photographer may fire off dozens if not hundreds of frames at your session, but you probably see quite a bit less in your final gallery?   We keep the absolute best and ditch the rest.   Out of focus, blurry, under exposed, over exposed, eyes half closed, funky expressions…those go without saying but then there’s the images taken purely for the value of warming up your subject.  Getting them used to hearing that shutter click.  Getting them interacting even as your face, and your eyes are constantly disappearing behind that big black thing in front of your face.  Ever try having a conversation with someone checking their cell phone? You kind of check out too, right?  It’s probably similar to how a child feels when being photographed.

2 -  This is why when someone says “I really just need ONE GOOD picture”  or “just a FEW pics” it really doesn’t make sense.  It’s always hard to explain why it just doesn’t work that way.   It takes time, energy, effort and work to get to that ONE GOOD picture.  Not just one press of the shutter in the perfect location with the perfect light.  One picture? Sure.  One GOOD picture…ah… takes alot more.  The MORE is why you want it in the first place.   Thanks for reading!


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11 Responses to Engaging your subject for genuine expressions | Long Island Child & Family Photographer | September Blue Photography

  1. amraiz says:

    thank you for this blog. ive been a huge admirer of your work and would love to learn a ton more from your techniques as more importantly, i would love to learn your editing methods.

    amazing work.

    thanks for the great inspiration.


  2. Allison Zusmer says:

    Thank you Sandra ! Any advice from a talented photographer such as yourself, I will take!

  3. Megan says:

    Great commentary and examples. And, of course, cute kid!

  4. April O'Hare says:

    That was an excellent explanation into the nuts and bolts of getting a good expression out of a child during a photoshoot. I love how you incorporated photos to show what you are talking about. Love that real smile:)

  5. Aw thank you Allison!

  6. Thanks April, feel free to share and link if you like!

  7. Thanks so much Amraiz!

  8. Charlotte says:

    What a great blog post with some very useful advice that I will definitely try to use at my next ‘child’ shoot.

  9. This is such a great post!! I will be sharing this for sure – love the examples, too. :)

  10. Jim says:

    “…a genuine smile, true engagement and personality” …wonderful. Great photos, the first and the last one are my favorites (can’t decide) :)

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