This post may contain affiliate links; see my disclosure for more information.
Do you have people over for the holidays and want to document it with a family picture? Unfortunately, it’s hard to call in a favor on a family day like Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, to have someone snap a picture for you. Luckily, you can totally pull this off with a tripod, a remote, and a genius hack to get the kids smiling in the right direction.
Read on to see how to get your kids happily smiling for a family picture, even with no photographer!
See our cute smiling faces? We were able to get them thanks to this hack:
Our quick little hack? YouTube. Put a laptop/iPad right behind the tripod, playing a YouTube video of laughing babies.
HOW TO USE THIS GENIUS PHOTOGRAPHY HACK
1. Set everything up first.
Use a tripod to set your camera up where you want it to be. We moved a couch to have room for everyone to sit.
Then set up a computer/laptop/iPad at roughly the same eye level/direction as your tripod. It won’t work if all the kids are looking off screen to see the movie. So get the device up higher on a stool or something to be very close to your tripod, almost directly behind it if you can.
Use your wireless remote to practicing triggering a few shots and adjust your settings.
The most important thing: You’re doing all this without any kids present – just get some adults to sit in and “model” while you set up your couch in the right place, align the shot, fiddle with the tripod, and adjust camera settings.
Apparently, it was pretty boring work for the adults during that time, but at least they stay where you tell them to sit. And they rarely break out in tears about it! 😉
To defend my family, I don’t ask them to smile or even look when I’m checking the light like this. However, they were well aware that I was clicking the shutter, so I hold them entirely responsible for making these crazy faces. The thought bubbles are editorial though.
My point: don’t waste your kids’ patience! Get everything set up before you ask them to be sweet and smile.
2. Get your video ready…
Pull up this video on YouTube – but don’t press play yet! Just make sure your volume is up loud. You can also just search “laughing babies video” for the compilation.
3. Then call everyone over!
Once you’ve taken all your practice pictures, get everybody seated for the group shot.
Then turn on your video and watch the magic!
Shoot plenty of pictures with your remote, and relish the knowledge that your little ones will all be looking towards the camera (well, the video) because it’s completely adorable and kids can’t ignore it, no matter how grumpy they are.
Evidence: Here is the shot before we turned on YouTube, versus the first shot after:
Next time you have to take a tripod/remote shot, turn on YouTube! It worked for us!
Don’t have a tripod? You definitely get what you pay for. Paying less than $20 will get you a cheap, basic tripod that might not last, and could even endanger your gear. I’ve been far less frustrated when I pay a just bit more money for a quality tripod.