“Smile!” I called and two children smile.
“C’mon, Declan…show me your happy face!”
I request, I coax. I take one thousand pictures. The two already smiling faces turn to smiling stone and I must wake them up.
If you have kids, you know what I am talking about. You want to grab a picture of your beautiful baby or toddler. But trying to capture their adorable smile for the camera can be a challenge.
It continues to be a challenge for the photographer with a child with autism.
Through the years, I have come up with a few tactics to try to capture a moment, smile or event.
Don’t “Say Cheese!”
In the past, “Say CHEESE!” led to Declan imitating me, “Say Cheese! Say Cheese! Say Cheese!” and then clicking the imaginary camera in his hand.
Now he just looks at me and says, “I don’t like cheese.”
Flexible Kids – Literally
4 Halloween’s ago Declan could not stand still long enough to pose for a picture. Or listen. So I didn’t tell him it was picture time.
I told the big kids to just wait until he walked into the center of the step behind them and for them to lean out.
“Okay guys, 1, 2, 3 – LEAN!”
Got my photo
We all remember when I got Declan on the ground and held his legs. The other kids scrambled in the photo, and Declan looked up to try to roll over.
Fun Character Play!
Then there was his first day of preschool. I could NOT get his attention for the camera, until I got creative.
I let out a big, “MEOW!” like the cat Gary, from his favorite character at the time, Spongebob.
That just made him laugh.
This past week at special needs night at Urban Air, I tried to get the kids picture. And Declan was not happy about something.
He tried to cover his feelings with a happy face, I guess.
When we were getting ready to leave I asked the kids to try one more time.
Declan still wasn’t into pictures. So I asked the kids to lean in and smile.
And I asked Declan to pretend he was the Staypuft Marshmallow Man.
And after I have used up all the memory on my phone or camera, I finally get one picture.
Totally worth it!
Hey, that’s me!
But I must say – for all my attempts, the best way to get Declan to smile for the camera?
Declan LOVES to selfie! When he sees himself on the screen, it is the one time he will immediately stop what he is doing….