Getting Your Clients to Giggle Naturally: Questions and Phrases to Break the Ice

Be honest, how many photographers reading this are still saying, “Smile on three! One…two…three!” or “Everyone say cheese!”? While these phrases work wonders on getting your clients to stretch their lips into forming a smile…it isn’t one of those authentic, I’m loving life and being with my family or best friend on Earth right now type of smiles–you know what I mean?

It really is super simple to get your clients to smile naturally, so don't worry about overcoming an unattainable or hard to reach goal. All we have to do is open ourselves up and talk a little. Now…I don’t mean becoming chatty Kathy here–there’s a big difference. If you are talking to your clients the entire time without taking enough pause to stand back and capture the beautiful moments and emotions unfolding in front of you, the majority of your images are going to be of their mouths open trying to answer your questions. The point is to make a statement or ask a question with the intent to immediately capture their response. Response here is absolute key!

Get ready to have some fun (and laughs) because we have gathered all of our favorite questions and phrases to break the ice and create fun responses here for you. Go ahead and take a look and enjoy, these have been created to work with almost any type of session (except newborns of course because let’s face it they are little stinkers and smile when they want to!) When looking at the images in Lightroom or Photoshop after your session you will definitely be able to see the difference and feel the love exuberating from every image and guess what!? You’re client’s will love it! I mean, who doesn’t want to see their love and happiness radiate through every single image?

Photographing Couples

Get your couple to stare into each others eyes longingly and fill the air (and photo) with infectious laughter. For couples, try these questions and phrases:

  • If your partner was any kind of snack food…what would it be and why?
  • Whisper something in your partners ear…anything–Remember I can’t hear you!
  • So who asked the other out first?
  • When was your first kiss?

Photographing Children

It can be tough to get children to smile when they don’t know you. Try these fun questions and phrases to get them to open up and give you a few laughs:

  • How old are you? (make up a crazy number and watch them laugh!)
  • What’s the coolest present Santa has brought you?
  • How high can you jump? Can you touch the sky?
  • What’s your favorite game to play?

Photographing Families

Getting families to interact is the key to getting fun and sweet images of them together. Following are some tried and true questions and phrases sure to bring out togetherness:

  • Take turns telling each other what your favorite part of the day was.
  • Whatever you do…make sure you don't tickle each other!!
  • Everybody get super close and give one big hug!


Photographing Teenagers

Being in your teens can be a tough time, and even tougher for us older folk to feel like we can connect and interact. We’ve listed a few simple phrases and questions to help your subject open up!

  • What’s your fave book? TV show?
  • Most embarrassing moment?
  • What are your plans after graduation? Taking over the world? Or maybe just major in English (let the laughter ensue).

Wow that was super fun! We would love to hear about your experience in using this technique in getting your clients to smile naturally and if you have your own favorite phrase or question you use during your sessions please feel free to share it with us below in the comments, we love it when you guys comment!

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