When taking baby photos, you may be wondering how to make a cranky baby smile. Although children, just like adults, each have their own unique personality, there are a few tricks you can try to help coax a cute baby smile out of a reluctant subject.
When Do Babies Start Smiling?
Many proud parents will tell you that their newborns were smiling the day they came home from the hospital. Unfortunately, these cute little smiles are probably just spontaneous reflexes. Babies will smile randomly, even when they are sleeping, until about one month of age.
Somewhere between 6 and 10 weeks of age, babies will begin to smile at environmental stimulation. By the time your child is 2 or 3 months old, she will likely be able to smile right at you when she's happy. Between 4 and 6 months of age, babies smile and look away if they decide the interaction is too intense.
Babies ages 6 to 12 months are fun to photograph because this is when they also start to experiment with laughter. They can smile in social situations and will have more than one type of smile that is used as a method of communication.
Ideas for How to Make Baby Smile
The first thing to remember when taking baby photos is that you can't be shy. Babies can sense when you're uncomfortable. A forced, phony smile from you isn't going to put your child at ease. The best photographers of children know that connecting with their subject is the key to getting a good shot.
Here are a few ideas for getting a cute baby smile out of your child:
- Make funny sounds
- Pop your lips
- Click your tongue
- Wiggle your ears or your nose
- Give a thumbs up
- Play peek-a-boo
- Tickle baby with a feather
- Dance to some silly music
- Put on a mini puppet show
If possible, you may want to ask another family member to help you coax a smile out of your baby. Siblings or cousins are especially good choices; most children are blessed with a natural talent for making babies laugh.
Using Props in Your Photo Shoot
Props are often incorporated into baby photography sessions in order to add interest to the pictures. Part of the reason for this is that baby poses are severely limited during the first year. However, props can also be useful in making cranky babies smile. Toys that are bright and colorful or feature interesting sounds will help capture your child's attention long enough to elicit a cute baby smile. Try using rattles, balls, blocks, dolls, or trucks as props in your baby photos.