Oh boy, there’s a good chance my sweet husband will not appreciate that title, after all he does support this family through the dairy industry, but today I’m not talking about the yummy melt in your mouth kind of cheese (anyone else craving fondue right now?), but instead the common, heard at many a portrait session “say cheese” we all tend to fling at our children when trying so hard to get them to show us their beautiful smiles. Gesh, can you say run on sentence? I bet all 6 people willing to read this are currently nodding their heads, about the “say cheese, not my run-on sentence, or maybe both. Admit it, you’ve said it, maybe you didn’t even mean to say it, it just came out of your mouth in that moment of frustration when you know your child has a beautiful smile that lights up the room but in the past hour you haven’t seen it even come close to sliding across their face. Let’s face it, we take our children for portraits because we want something tangible to hold and remember their sweet faces long after they’ve grown taller than us, so it’s reasonable to think we want a portrait of the smile we love so much. Children as we all know have their own agendas. Some children take much longer to warm up to a complete strange than others, some are at that age where they feel awkward showing their teeth, or lack of them. It happens and as much as we want that moment of the smile we love so much it just might not happen. Telling them to “say cheese”, isn’t going to elicit the smile we love, but rather another awkward face, that really doesn’t look like the child you love as much as a strange face you’ve never seen before. Instead of worrying about the smiles, think about the faces your child makes on a daily basis, the thinking face, the worried face, the “I have a secret” face. We associate smiles so much with portraits, but in the real world our children spend time making many more faces than just smiles. Those are the faces you want to capture, the ones where you can look back and remember that was the look little Sam would make when waiting for daddy to walk through the door, or the perhaps the long gaze of Emma as she thought hard about her next spelling word. Please remember it’s not about the cheese.