Child Photography – The Power of a Fake Laugh

0Comments

You know what? It’s totally cool to fake a laugh while having your photo taken and I encourage my clients (especially children) to try it. It feels really stupid, but it pays off big.

To get my kid clients to laugh, it usually just takes a poop joke or anything silly but sometimes, they just freeze up. So I encourage them to fake laugh. “It’s ok,” I say… “I know I’m rubbish at telling jokes. Tell you what how about we just pretend laugh?” And you can’t make your subjects feel stupid alone – you have to throw the first few out there! Sometimes your crazy, maniacal throw-your-head-back fake laugh is enough to make them laugh for real. And sometimes, it just shows them that it’s ok to look like an idiot.

All the laughs on this page are fake. And yes they all felt stupid but they also paid off in the end!

Great tip for fake laughing: Ask you kids to hold their arms across their belly (like when you’re holding your belly in a for-real gut busting laugh). And then when they laugh for real or pretend, it will look even larger on camera.

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Elizabeth Halford is a Hampshire Photographer and keeps a rockin' photography blog where she writes about photography and business in "real.plain.english".

  • Crystal

    I call this the Chelsea! Another photog I’ve 2nd shot weddings with calls a big fake laugh the Chelsea laugh (I have no idea why!) and I’ve adopted it. So I’ll call out… GIVE ME A CHELSEA! And I get what I need!

  • Charli

    Thanks- I’ll definitely use this technique a lot!

  • My question would be, how do you make an infant laugh? Lately I’ve been pushing the parents to nuzzel the childs neck. I know when I do this with my (very young) nieces and nephews, they bust out in that laugh that only infants have.
    Thanks for another good idea. Jamie.

    http://lafango.com/fortunato_uno#/media/1100162-precious

  • Mya

    I really like your pictures. I ll try to remember it for when i ever shoot kids. Nice article

  • The great thing about the fake laugh is it’s totally okay if it ends up looking fake on the screen. It usually leads right into a real laugh. (not to mention how it will loosen anyone up to go ahead and break the barrier of, “But, I’ll look dumb!”)

  • Great suggestion!

  • I always have the kids tickle each other after we are done with “serious” poses, while they are tickling each other just shoot away. I always get something good out of it.

    http://flic.kr/p/93Z1LS

  • Love it! I captured a cute one the other day 🙂

    [eimg url=’http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1393.snc4/164559_175458595808250_167423459945097_445436_4732501_n.jpg’ title=’164559_175458595808250_167423459945097_445436_4732501_n.jpg’]

  • Fortunato :

    Some babies don’t know how to laugh yet, our daughter started chuckling at around 3 months old, but it was a fleeting thing. She thinks the dog is hilarious. It’s not easy to make a baby laugh. I have heard that on average a baby will laugh by 4 months old, but it’s not some thing they can be coaxed into doing very easily.

  • Teresa

    This article made me laugh just reading about fake laughing!

  • What a brilliant idea! I bet the fake laughs turn to real ones in no time at all!
    I think I’ll even try that the next time someone wants a picture of me (my forced smile pictures sure don’t cut it!)

  • I have had some luck asking both kids and adults to try and look very very serious, with no smirks or laughter. Sometimes, trying to do this will cause them to laugh.

  • Cool idea…and don’t we all need to let loose and be silly sometimes. What better excuse do you need than when working with kids. Now, I just hope I remember to do that next time I take photos of the kids.

  • FLoyd Stearns

    I work for a well known company that creates yearbooks, etc. I touch-up and clean-up photos of pre-school kids. I have found it interesting how some kids just can’t seem to get a smile going on or they try to force it and they look like they’re snarling. Actually, some are hilarious.
    This company’s photographers could learn from this article.

  • dblayn

    Great tip! I feel so lucky when I can make a subject laugh and then make an image while they laugh. I’ve got to try this, thanks.

  • robyn

    I have never been a fan of this, but recently our family had portraits done and the photographer asked my son to do it. And you know what, the photos looked fantastic !

  • This is so true, I used to do the test with people and take a picture with their best smile, then take a picture with a fake smile. In 90% of the cases the fake smile looked much better, the real smile looks stiff and akward.

    Makes you wonder what people think of us when we smile at them… do we really look that fake?

    LOL

  • Naik

    As a usual habit I never lough while someone was taking photo of mine. While I started photography then I found the value and effect of a lough in a photo and started to lough but to be honest it is not so easy to have a fake lough. Thanks

  • jennifer45

    To get my kid clients to laugh, it usually just takes a poop joke or anything silly but sometimes, they just freeze up. So I encourage them to fake laugh.

  • a real laugh

    not a fake one

    but the picture is the fake, since it is a close up crop to achieve the result i wanted

    but what a lovely picture of my children 🙂

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz/4505651736/in/set-72157617668383580/

    Amir

Some Older Comments

  • amir paz February 12, 2011 09:09 pm

    a real laugh

    not a fake one

    but the picture is the fake, since it is a close up crop to achieve the result i wanted

    but what a lovely picture of my children :)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/amirpaz/4505651736/in/set-72157617668383580/

    Amir

  • jennifer45 January 16, 2011 05:24 am

    To get my kid clients to laugh, it usually just takes a poop joke or anything silly but sometimes, they just freeze up. So I encourage them to fake laugh.

  • Naik December 30, 2010 04:31 am

    As a usual habit I never lough while someone was taking photo of mine. While I started photography then I found the value and effect of a lough in a photo and started to lough but to be honest it is not so easy to have a fake lough. Thanks

  • Martin Soler Photography December 29, 2010 08:44 pm

    This is so true, I used to do the test with people and take a picture with their best smile, then take a picture with a fake smile. In 90% of the cases the fake smile looked much better, the real smile looks stiff and akward.

    Makes you wonder what people think of us when we smile at them... do we really look that fake?

    LOL

  • Bwanachana December 28, 2010 02:34 pm

    http://picasaweb.google.com/harry.chana/RaiChana02?authkey=Gv1sRgCOznlIXO0sKvMg#5555585432858560162

    How's this for a fake?

  • robyn December 24, 2010 08:32 am

    I have never been a fan of this, but recently our family had portraits done and the photographer asked my son to do it. And you know what, the photos looked fantastic !

  • dblayn December 24, 2010 03:28 am

    Great tip! I feel so lucky when I can make a subject laugh and then make an image while they laugh. I've got to try this, thanks.

  • FLoyd Stearns December 24, 2010 03:17 am

    I work for a well known company that creates yearbooks, etc. I touch-up and clean-up photos of pre-school kids. I have found it interesting how some kids just can't seem to get a smile going on or they try to force it and they look like they're snarling. Actually, some are hilarious.
    This company's photographers could learn from this article.

  • PatriciaD December 24, 2010 03:10 am

    Cool idea...and don't we all need to let loose and be silly sometimes. What better excuse do you need than when working with kids. Now, I just hope I remember to do that next time I take photos of the kids.

  • Norm Aubin December 24, 2010 02:50 am

    I have had some luck asking both kids and adults to try and look very very serious, with no smirks or laughter. Sometimes, trying to do this will cause them to laugh.

  • Margaret December 24, 2010 02:26 am

    What a brilliant idea! I bet the fake laughs turn to real ones in no time at all!
    I think I'll even try that the next time someone wants a picture of me (my forced smile pictures sure don't cut it!)

  • Teresa December 24, 2010 02:08 am

    This article made me laugh just reading about fake laughing!

  • Tyler Robbins December 24, 2010 01:26 am

    Fortunato :

    Some babies don't know how to laugh yet, our daughter started chuckling at around 3 months old, but it was a fleeting thing. She thinks the dog is hilarious. It's not easy to make a baby laugh. I have heard that on average a baby will laugh by 4 months old, but it's not some thing they can be coaxed into doing very easily.

  • Amanda December 24, 2010 12:07 am

    Love it! I captured a cute one the other day :)

    [eimg url='http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs1393.snc4/164559_175458595808250_167423459945097_445436_4732501_n.jpg' title='164559_175458595808250_167423459945097_445436_4732501_n.jpg']

  • Keith Krekel December 23, 2010 12:28 pm

    I always have the kids tickle each other after we are done with "serious" poses, while they are tickling each other just shoot away. I always get something good out of it.

    http://flic.kr/p/93Z1LS

  • Elli December 23, 2010 11:51 am

    Great suggestion!

  • Tamara Curry December 23, 2010 10:52 am

    The great thing about the fake laugh is it's totally okay if it ends up looking fake on the screen. It usually leads right into a real laugh. (not to mention how it will loosen anyone up to go ahead and break the barrier of, "But, I'll look dumb!")

  • Mya December 23, 2010 09:24 am

    I really like your pictures. I ll try to remember it for when i ever shoot kids. Nice article

  • fortunato_uno December 23, 2010 08:40 am

    My question would be, how do you make an infant laugh? Lately I've been pushing the parents to nuzzel the childs neck. I know when I do this with my (very young) nieces and nephews, they bust out in that laugh that only infants have.
    Thanks for another good idea. Jamie.

    http://lafango.com/fortunato_uno#/media/1100162-precious

  • Charli December 23, 2010 06:29 am

    Thanks- I'll definitely use this technique a lot!

  • Crystal December 23, 2010 06:29 am

    I call this the Chelsea! Another photog I've 2nd shot weddings with calls a big fake laugh the Chelsea laugh (I have no idea why!) and I've adopted it. So I'll call out... GIVE ME A CHELSEA! And I get what I need!

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