I love kids. Sure they’re a pain in the butt sometimes but as a whole, children are generally really joyful, funny, sweet creatures. They also get incredibly focused on what they’re interested in which is usually running around, looking for bugs, picking grass, hitting their brother, poking the dog, eating a snack – basically anything other than looking at your camera/phone and smiling for a sweet, frame-worthy photo.

While I love those lifestyle in the moment shots of a kid being a kid, I also can’t help but be drawn to those sweet eyes looking right at you through the photo. Here are some tips that have been successful for me if you’re trying to nab a better photo of your kiddo.

1. Act like a fool

Seriously. The loopier the better – this is the time to bring out your silliest faces and weirdest voices. Even bigger kids can’t help but stare and grin when a “serious” adult is talking like Donald Duck and hopping in circles. Peek-a-boo generally works with the little kids if I hide behind the camera and switch up the weird face each time.

2. Get some help

Kids are FAST. It can be to your advantage if you can find another person to help corral or act like a fool so you can snap, but you need one other person MAX. You throw 6 people behind the photographer and all of a sudden you have an overwhelmed child with zero looks to the actual camera.


Get in, get the shot, and get out. It can be tempting to try to nab the perfect one or the  best smile but kids don’t have a lot of patience. At the very least switch locations or ‘act like a fool’ techniques to spice things up.

4. Bribery/favorite toy

Is there a stuffed animal your kid loves? Squeaky toy? (This works for dogs too haha) Candy bar for the older kids? Whatever it takes to get the shot. Just be quick about it otherwise you’re just being mean.

5. Know when to call it quits

The longer you take the less authentic the reactions and the less attention you can hold. If your kid is just not feeling it or really into that Batman movie, call it quits and try again later. Happy kids = happy life.

6. Remember that smiling isn’t their only facial expression

Smiling photos are great – I love smiling photos. But I also love those serious expressions, the inquisitive looks, the confused stares. Don’t forget in the hunt for the perfect smile that your kid also has a million other micro-expressions you’ll want to remember forever.

Hopefully these help you take nicer posed shots of your kiddo, and next week I’ll share some tips on better smart phone images. In the meantime, what have you found that helps you grab attention of a little one?