Yes, “cheese” can be a very, very bad word in photography.  Especially when it comes to photographing toddlers and school-age children.  If you are a parent of an older child, you probably already know why.

For some reason, when kids hit the 3-6 age-range, they smile, um, differently (that’s the best word I can come up with at the moment) in front of the camera.  They play and frolic and have fun all day, but then when they see a camera, it’s Joker city.  Smiles get forced and unpleasant.  Teeth are bared.  Eyes are closed.  And sometimes…well, sometimes it looks like they’ve had too much cheese…if you know what I mean…and I think you do.

This effect can be magnified when everyone present forces the children into an unnatural “cheese” expression.  What I’m saying here seems counterintuitive.  We are all taught from a very young age that “say cheese” = smile for the camera.  BUT, I’m here to prove to you that “say cheese” = bad, bad things for kids.  Take this example:

CUTE kids.  Absolutely horrid expressions.  🙂  So, then what’s the solution?  Patience!  Here’s what I captured just seconds later.  They hadn’t even gotten bored of their positions yet:

Which would you rather have hanging on your wall?  Certainly not the pained result of “Say cheese!”

The moral of this story?  Don’t fret if you are a “say cheese” family.  Cheese is always welcome at your photo session.  However, please please please come prepared for a session that will last a teensy bit longer than a studio session at any famous chain store.  I take the time to get to know your kids, let them get comfortable with me, and present me with their natural, beautiful smiles!  It’s well worth the wait, I promise!

*P.S. – Andrew & Alyssa are part of a large family session held recently in Marblehead, Ohio.  This is just one short sneak peek of the goodness that is to come!

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