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Will trick or treating. Get down to your child’s level when photographing them. (David Lucas/The Globe and Mail)
Will trick or treating. Get down to your child’s level when photographing them. (David Lucas/The Globe and Mail)

Photographer’s tip: How to shoot great photos of your family Add to ...

See the related photo gallery for examples from Globe photo editor Dave Lucas.

There's a joke professional photographers like to share: never work with animals or kids.

If I was forced to pick, I'd prefer taking Fido's picture any day.

Any parent knows the challenge of photographing children. They won't smile when you need them to. Your pictures are full of turned heads and half-closed eyes. Little Johnny is picking his nose and Susie is staring off into space.

As a father of two, I understand the challenge. Honestly, it's easier to photograph the Prime Minister than a toddler. And I've done both.

Here's the trick: forget the perfect pose, it will never happen. Don't try to control the scene, just let it unfold and start shooting.

Some more tips for photographing children:

The best camera is the one you have with you. Even if it's just a cell phone camera, make sure you have something with you at all times. Many of my best photos have been taken on my iPhone rather than my professional gear. It's the moment that matters, not the camera you use.

You want your child to be comfortable around a camera. Bring it out often and let your children have a turn using it so they will get over their curiosity and let you take over. You may even be pleasantly surprised by their results.

Give your child an activity rather than asking them to stay still for a photograph. You're more likely to get natural smiles and expressions.

Get down to your kid's level and get close. Too many photographs are taken from an adult's perspective and too far away. Fill your frame and don't be afraid to go tight on details, like a smiling face or messy hands.

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