Having a hard time getting a kid to smile? Children’s photographer Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman suggests botching children’s songs on purpose to draw out natural smiles and laughs:
I always warn parents that I can be a little kooky during shoots. And to brace themselves for bad singing. Just take a song every child knows like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Now, change a word in it. “Twinkle, Twinkle little COW.” What? COW??!!” Seriously. This. Works. Every. Time.
The child cracks up and you can get some mileage out of the joke a few more times. You will start to get the smile before you even ‘fill in the blank’ after you do it once, because they anticipate the silliness. I usually do it one more time and say “Oh I am so sorry, let me try again. Twinkle Twinkle, little DUCK.” You get the picture. This works best for children who actually understand what the words are in the song, and aren’t too old yet to give you the ‘this woman is not smart’ look.
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