Laughter – 5 tips for capturing genuine laughter

When we look back on photo’s from our past, the ones that tend to stand out and bring back the strongest memories are often those where an emotion has been captured and frozen in time. Maybe a photo of grandma having her first cuddle with her newest grandchild, or of you and your cousins laughing hysterically at some unknown joke.

If any photo is going to make you smile in years to come, a photo of a family member laughing uncontrollably has got to be up there.

I’m talking about an image where the photographer has seen the moment build, and managed to  frame and click at just the right moment when their subject has completely let their guard down and is letting the laughter take over.

Triplets laughing

There are a few things to consider that will help you to be prepared for the next time you see this unfold:

1. Learn how to use burst mode

Most camera’s have this option, even the camera on your phone. When you’re in burst mode, if you hold your finger on the shutter instead of releasing straight away, your camera will take a set of shots one after the other. How many shots per second will depend on your camera but I think the iPhone will take around 10 shots per second.

This way you will increase your chances of capturing the perfect moment and you might even get a group of photos that you could display together to better show the emotion.

2. Stay to the end

You will find that as the moment starts to pass and your subject/s begin to regain their composure you’ll start to see some genuine huge smiles as they wrestle to pull themselves back from the edge of laughter. Don’t put the camera away too soon or you will end up missing these relaxed and unguarded moments.

3. Be the clown

You’re not likely to just walk into the room and find everyone in fits of laughter,  so you may need to start the ball rolling yourself.

The method you use will obviously be dependant on the age of your subjects, here are a few suggestions that might help:

– For the 0-2 yr olds, its just a matter of acting a bit silly: making soft toys dance above the camera, or have the toy play peek-a-boo. Pull silly faces, blow raspberries and of course, give them a tickle.

– As they get a bit older the above will still probably work, but you can also start asking them to pull faces at you or at each other.  For some reason at this age it becomes hilarious if you pretend to get hurt or fall over, so get them to throw an invisible ball to you and pretend to fall over when it hits you (nothing too dramatic, you don’t want to break your camera!)

– School age kids will find it hard not to laugh if you ask them to wiggle their bum. Telling them that they absolutely must not laugh for the next photo is another sure fire way to get a laugh. A staring competition is perfect if  -like me – you happen to have identical twins, it’s a great way to capture their profiles together in the same pic as well as leading to lots of smiles and giggles.

4. Get up close

What is the best way to tell if a smile is genuine? ……. Look at the eyes. This is also true for laughter. If you get in nice and close you will be able to show how genuine the laughter is. If you have a few people in the photo, try to encourage them to stay close together so you can stay nice and close as well and be part of the action.


5. Have fun

Relax and have fun yourself. Don’t worry about putting the camera down (somewhere safe) and getting involved in the fun. You can always pick it back up at the end to capture those after-smiles we talked about, even better, get someone else -or if you’re feeling reckless ask one of the kids- to take a photo of you having fun too.


Now stop overthinking it, put your camera within easy reach and go have some fun with your family.

The best camera...








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