Getting the perfect photo of your children is one of the most important things to a mama. Even if your goal is to update your friends and family with a quick cell phone snapshot to upload on social media, you still want them looking at the camera with a big smile. Sometimes getting the perfect photo can turn into perfect madness – especially if you have little children or toddlers. It’s like herding cats! 

I was listening to an amazing podcast called HERself with Amy and Abbey. Amy shared that she used to stress about capturing the perfect photo of her three little boys, but was able to create a compromise with herself. They have professional portraits done twice a year. She still snaps photos of her kids, but the pressure is off to get the ‘perfect shot’. Maybe this resonates with you.

Anyway, I want to share a few of my tricks to get your kids of all ages to look at the camera so that you can have success in between those perfect professional photos you have taken. After all, I can’t be with you day in and day out for all of your beautiful life moments.

4 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Look at the Camera

1. Make Jokes – I will make the goofiest jokes possible to make your kids age 0-18 laugh but sometimes it’s the kids that have the funniest ones! I love asking kids to tell me a joke. Even if they are completely nonsensical jokes told by three-year-olds they give the biggest smiles while telling them. They’re so proud of their jokes!

2. Ask Interactive Questions –  I actually do this with every client when I think about it, kids and adults alike. Most people loosen up when they’re thinking about something other than a camera pointing in their face. Ask their favorites (candy, food, drink, best friend’s name, girlfriend of the week, etc.). This is a good strategy for taking candid shots of your kids having fun also. I may ask your kids, “Can you look at the flower?” “Can you hug your sister?” This gets them into position for the photo and engaged. They inevitably look back at you once they’ve completed the task and boom! You’ve got yourself a photo of them looking at the camera while engaging with something or someone (BONUS!).

3. “Simon Says”/Can you do this game – This is similar to the previous tip, but sometimes I can make it into a fun game for kids to play while taking their photos. It goes something like, “Simon says stop and smile!” “Simon says wiggle your booty.” 

4. Make the Camera a Toy – This is a great way to get your kids to look at the camera. While pointing to the lens so they know what I’m talking about I’ll say, “What do you see in the lens of my camera?” Your child will look at the lens intently looking for whatever may be in there! It could be a fairy flapping her wings, you know! “What color is the fairy’s dress today?” You’d be amazed at how many kids start making up answers. Make-believe is so fun!

Another way to make the camera a toy is to put a surprise toy on top of your camera. Tell your children to close their eyes and on the count of three, they can open them to see a surprise. Put the toy on top of the camera (or phone or your head or wherever) while they have their eyes closed, count, and be ready to snap the shutter when you get to “three.” Boom! Perfect picture and so easy!

Trust Your Certified Professional Photographer to Get the Shot

These are just a few of the tricks I use to get your kids to look at the camera! I love dreaming up new ways to keep your children engaged and do so often. I hope this helps you for those moments when I’m not getting the perfect shot for you during your portrait session. Not only am I a Certified Professional Photographer with years of experience, but I’m also a mom of four kids myself. You can trust that I can get even the squirreliest kiddo to look and smile at the camera!

I’m heading into my busy season and have limited availability, so reach out soon if you want to book your family portraits. I’d love to capture your precious family for you!


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