This is the expression I got from my young son this morning as I tried to capture a moment.
He’s young. Small. His own person.
Incredibly vulnerable and yet fiercely independent.
And he is busy. He has a whole world of things to see and explore and touch. It’s all new and fascinating. Ever so much more fascinating than that camera pointing at him.
I know that I’m not the only mother who has experienced this.
So for the moments where you really want that look, I’ve put together a couple of my tips and tricks for you to try.
1. Make a Sudden, Fascinating Sound – Especially useful with the younger kids, this is a great way to get them to look my direction. Once they turn to investigate, I give them a big smile and they will often return it. I just have to make sure that I have my camera ready to go because it can be fleeting. (This method can often only be used once or twice, so I tend to use it carefully.)
2. Patience – For whatever reason, if I have to leave to grab my camera it causes a disturbance in the room. My kiddos will either try to follow me, or it will naturally cause them to shift gears to something else. But I have often found that if I return quickly, quietly, and just sit and wait patiently, trying not to bring attention to myself, the mood will settle and I can capture the image I initially intended.
3. Make It A Game – Staring contest. Simon says. I have them make a funny face or a crazy sound. I make it fun and even give a prize for the winner (ppsssstt…it’s always them). This makes it so that in the future they’re more willing to “play” along when the camera comes out.
4. Engage in Some Help -Is there somebody else there with me? Somebody who can jump in and make it fun? Sing songs, clap hands, and just be all-around silly. I know that my kids get tired of mom, but dad can always make them smile. Just make sure they’re standing directly behind you or right next to you so that the subject is at least looking toward the camera.
5. Reverse Psychology - This is one of my favorites for kids who are old enough to understand it. It’s easy. I tell them, “Whatever you do, don’t look at my camera.” Curiosity will instantly compel them to turn and look. That’s when I take is a step further and jokingly say, “I told you not to look. No, no, don’t do it!” I keep it light and fun and will often evoke a genuine smile as they revel in their cleverness.
I hope these tips can help you the next time you pull out that camera and get a stink eye from your kiddo. Just be forewarned that children are smart little buggers and will learn your tricks and possibly become immune, so use them wisely.