Valentines & her posed smile

My mom always made every holiday special growing up. It was never anything extravagant, stuffy or over the top – just simple little things that said, “This day is special! Let’s celebrate!” I am not very good at doing the same. Thankfully, I live close to my parents. My mom and my mother-in-law never miss a holiday. Cards, candy, trinkets – all the things I never buy. Grandparents are pretty amazing.

My mother-in-law dropped off goodies and special treats to surprise the kids when they woke up on Valentines Day. My mom hosted a little Valentines party for all her grandkids. Well, minus the youngest grandson. He is only 4 months old, but my boys were a bit disgruntled that he wasn’t in attendance representing Team Boys. I told them next year.

I snuck over to the party for a few minutes to check it out. My mom had all the kids laughing with a game that rewarded any ping pong ball landing in a cup with a M&M. (Yes, I know college students play a game with a different prize…kids don’t know that).

50mm, ISO 400, 1/800, f/2.8

2.16Valentines-0150mm, ISO 400, 1/640, f/2.82.16Valentines-0250mm, ISO 400, 1/800, f/2.82.16Valentines-0350mm, ISO 400, 1/800, f/2.8 – chocolate…she was obviously having a great day!2.16Valentines-0450mm, ISO 400, 1/800, f/2.82.16Valentines-0550mm, ISO 400, 1/800, f/2.82.16Valentines-06

My 4 year old recently developed a new ‘smile at the camera face.’ As soon as she sees me taking a picture of her, her new smile automatically pops up. It makes me laugh each time. No matter how much I try to tell her to just smile normal….this is her new normal. I always snap one or two of these smiles because I want to remember this phase and I don’t want to discourage her willingness to let me photograph her.

50mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/2.82.16Valentines-07Photo tip: In order to get a natural smile, I have to catch her when she doesn’t realize I have my camera out. While she is looking another direction, I will get in place and get my settings correct. Then, I will wait for something to cause her to smile and I’ll say something to get her attention. Usually, I have about a second to snap the photo before the double chin awkward posed smile returns. If you have a ‘poser’, you might try that method for capturing a more natural smile.

50mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/2.8


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  • Anniken - My 4 year old is also a poser… he started doing this a cople of months ago… its so hard to get a nice photo of him, but for now we getting tons of funny strange smiles photos… hoping he is back to normal smiles before summer! (and then my youngest who turns 4 in july probably starts).
    But its also good to have to start to take photos a little different, because different views are not always bad.
    And what smart and fun game to play for the kids… think i’ll have to copy that.

  • JenW - Ah, we entered the awkward forced smile phase this year too! My 6yo looks like a serial killer with his crazy eyes opened so wide white shows all around and teeth baring smile. I crack up every time!

  • Emily @everydaymom - Your photos are so beautiful! My 6-year-old STILL has that fake posed smile. I think it comes from having a mom who takes your photo all the time! 🙂

  • Rae - Adorable photos! Grandparents are the best!!
    And that smile…lol! 🙂

  • Byron - She’s four? I had thought her much younger!

    I take it the M&Ms are in the cup on top of the upside-down popcorn box? Or is there a different special reason for having that propped up there? Just wondering….

  • Krystle - Super cute! My daughter (now 7) can get a blank stare kind of smile in pictures… so I ask her for a giggle smile! Then her eyes light up!
    Love seeing your littles! Thanks for sharing your family with us!

  • katie T - I always have to do something stupid to make my eldest son (17) smile naturally. I guess I should be thankful that he smiles instead of rolls his eyes…

  • Maureen - Oh that girl! What a beauty!
    Is this new phase pre or post op? I just wondered if the muscles and her perception of them may be different since the latest op.
    Anyway, she’s gorgeous and those eyes are to melt for!

  • Michelle - So beautiful! My daughters have gone through stages like that. For some of them, it is still hard to “smile” for a picture.

    What a tremendous gift your children have in their grandparents. I do so hope to get to be that for my grand children!

    grace and peace be yours.

  • AshleyAnn - Maureen – it is pre-op 😉

  • Nicole L. - That made me laugh so hard! I couldn’t see her face when I was reading about the pose so when I scrolled down it was a surprise-hysterical!