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Tips and Tricks: How to Grab Your Child's Attention for Family Photos


Meet Kay; a young mother, amateur photographer and full-time working Canadian with many tricks and advice up her fleecy plaid sleeves.

101: Captivating Your Child's Attention for the Perfect Photos

Not only is it hard to manage to get your child fully dressed every day, let alone out the door, but it is even harder to get them to pay attention to a complete stranger who is taking photos of them. Here is the first tip of what you need to know about captivating that wild child's attention.

Firstly, make sure you pack lots of snacks. Children love snacks and not only are these snacks going to make them have more energy, but they are going to keep them motivated for the time it may take to complete the photos (yes, I know bribery is bad, but sometimes we must go there).

Parents, by taking this advice you are one step closer to grabbing your child's attention to capture more memorable photos. All it takes is fully stocking those travel containers and sippy cups to make sure your child is well fed because we all know a full belly is a happy belly and a happy belly is one step closer to a smiling, energetic and focused child.

Now for the on-the-go no time to spare or pack snacks parents, I would suggest bribery at it's finest. Yes, I do realize this is frowned upon but you do know how costly photo shoots can be. Do you honestly want to pay that session fee again? Promising their favourite treat or meal for afterwards isn't such a crime, is it? You will thank me later.

Sway Them With That Special Treat, That'll Catch Their Attention!

Crazy for Cupcakes!

Crazy for Cupcakes!

10 Quick Tips to Capture That Crazy Toddler's Attention During a Photoshoot

Make sure to perform some of the tips below behind the photographer to ensure you capture all the smiles facing towards the camera.

  • Peek-a-boo
  • Pretend to fall
  • Silly Sounds
  • Bunny Ears
  • Paddy Cake
  • Funny Faces
  • Simon Says
  • Clap Happily
  • Hokey Pokey
  • Be silly and play with their favourite toy

Even if you managed to catch your child's attention for just a quick glance, five seconds is all your photographer will need to manage to get a couple quick pics in the same pose.

101 Continued: Captivating Your Child's Attention for the Perfect Photos

Snacks, check!

Now onto the toys. Yes, some toys are distracting, but they are also eye-catching to your child! Use them to your advantage and bring some of your child's favourite toys to the photoshoot. The toys can be used to sway your child to do as you ask them to if they would like to play with their toys after the photos are finished (believe it or not, bribery can do wonders).

You can also use the toy(s) to play silly with behind the photographer to catch your child's attention.

Now be warned though, if your child is very attached to a certain toy, that particular toy may just end up in your photos. Keep this in mind while choosing the toys as to which ones wouldn't be so noticeable in your photos. Maybe leave the 30" plush stuffed animal back at home, just in case.

10 Toy Suggestions for Your Photos

Eye-pleasing toys that won't ruin your photos:

  • Stuffed Animal
  • Dinky Car
  • Dolly
  • Toy Instrument
  • Blocks
  • Puppet
  • Favourite Book
  • Toy Phone
  • Rubber Ball
  • Toy Tools (hammer, screwdriver, etc)

Surprisingly the Best Photos Are Usually the Candid Photos!

Birthday smiles from one sweet pea!

Birthday smiles from one sweet pea!

Don't Feel Defeated!

As a mother and an amateur photographer myself, I have seen many parents beat up themselves or apologize profusely for their child's behaviour during a photoshoot.

Remember, there is only so much you can do to help, and some days nothing will help, it really just depends on how your child is feeling in that very moment. Children are emotional little humans, who are very unpredictable. They are discovering a new world, feeling and experience, each and every day.

All you can do is bring a positive attitude and never let your child see any kind of look of defeat or feeling of negativity.

Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that most of us have all been there.

One day you will look back on these moments and laugh...no matter how dysfunctional the photos may be, you got this!

Sometimes Smiles Are Not Required!

Don't fret if your child is not smiling, sometimes you just got to roll with the punches and take what you can get! Check out how adorable this sappy lion is!

Don't fret if your child is not smiling, sometimes you just got to roll with the punches and take what you can get! Check out how adorable this sappy lion is!

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