Shooting help: Getting kids to laugh

There is nothing better than images of children giggling and laughing. But, as photographers, we all know those giggles and laughs usually don’t occur naturally. We have to really work for them! We asked our readers their favorite ways to get kids to laugh while photographing them. Hopefully these can help you to pull out those smiles and laughs at your next shoot…

Images: Jean Smith Photography


Potty Jokes! LOL, it always works! – Julian N

Show me your serious face! No smiling! – 

Emily P


I ask them if they farted… True story. – 

Susie S

Monkey on my head! – 

Jennifer L

Parents pretending to bop me on the head always works for some reason. Or really strange animal noises. Or fart or poop talk with the older kids. They think THAT’S hilarious. – 

Sarah H


Animal sounds…the wrong ones. – Stephanie J

Ask them their favorite song and then sing it wrong! Always gets a laugh. – 

Stephanie L


Snort! – Robyn R

I tell them Mom or dad has a booger. – 

Laura J

Funny faces and silly stories! – Erin M

Knock knock jokes….really lame, silly ones. – Katie D


I’m a HUGE Sandy Puc fan! I do the say, “Mommy’s a Monkey!” OR “Daddy wears Diapers!” It always gets a laugh! Or I ask them if they want to hear my puppy sound….then I meow or roar or make some other ridiculous animal sound. LOL! It makes me laugh too because I am such a goof!

Jenny B

Parents making rabbit ears behind my head and making silly faces. – 

Kim G


I run after them or roll on the ground with them
. – Nikki E

I say daddy wears diapers! And the kids just lose it. – 

Denise L

Acting like a tickle monster and tickling them! – Allison E 


Ask them if they have a boyfriend/ girlfriend. They usually laugh and say that is gross! – 

Kristin A


Make up nicknames for mom & dad!

Carmen A

I talk Donald Duck to them. – 

Judi M


Dramatic fake sneeze! – 

Carmen M

I love to have them race mommy or daddy. Nothing is funnier then playing with your mom and dad
. – 

Keri Ann M


Play Simon says. – 

Karen S

Ants in my pants dance!

Sarah H

I ask them to tell me their favorite joke, they always think they are funny! Way funnier than my jokes. – Susan B

Talk like Peewee Herman!

Vintage Modern Photography

I quietly conspire with them to say their parent wears diapers. Often times they refuse and get a little “shy” right before hand which leads to great photos. Then I ask them if they want me to say it and they get excited, another photo op. Then I say “‘Johny’ says momma wears diapers.” They bust up laughing and denying all at the same time. – Christine M


“Why do pirates wear underpants? To cover their booties!” – 

Elaine M

Fart app on my phone! – 

Marie S


I ask if there smile is broken. In a annoying voice. – 

Vanessa B

I act terrified of them! They think it’s hilarious. I scream, run and “hide” if they roar at me. It kills them!

Kim R

I give them a flower and ask them if it smells like boogers. 

Alethia R


The last shoot I picked up a pine cone and pretended it was a mustache.

Paige E

Call them by different names. – 

Esther D


Throw little marshmellows for them to catch. – Iris H

I have stickers in my camera bag for the kids and I stick one of them on my nose and pretend I don’t see it. It always makes them laugh, but also keeps them looking right at the camera. – 

Rachel S

Red Hair scrunchie around my lens with two huge googley eyes glued to them and then act surprised when I see them.

Dee R


I literally say, “now fake laugh for me.” Either they look at me like I’m crazy and laugh or they try to fake laugh and laugh about that. – 

Jamie A

I say, Don’t make me say it….don’t make me say it…..POOOOOOP!!!!!!! Never fails to get a real smile and almost always a laugh. Even works on big kids!- 

Wendy R


Tell them their mommy has stinky feet
. – Beverly R

I ask them what their favorite flavor ice cream is and from there, they come up with crazy flavour ideas. Get’s them every time. – 

Jenn B

Use parents to tickle them, swing them, or chase them. – Melissa W


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