You are looking at a kid that has never been told by me to say ‘Cheese’ (for the camera) from the day he was born. I always felt it was up to me to get the shots and he was not required to do anything but be himself. I played with him, smiled at him, was goofy. I got the smiles I wanted. Having photographed a lot of kids, I meet many ‘trained’ kids. Trained to give me forced and fake smiles. After he was born I was determined not require that of him. He is older than 3 in these photos. We may have saved him from the cheese face. He will now pose for me with no forcing on my part, gives me a great variety of looks, and loves to be the photographer using my camera phone.
I think the simplest way to save a child from the cheese face is to let him or her play. Let them jump, be silly, make goofy faces. Let them be kids.