Giveaway: Tips To Get Your Tot To Smile + Photography Giveaway!

Pam and I are both currently enjoying family vacations – can we say Hawaii! Ah, I am blogging from paradise right now. In preparation for this trip, we turned to our favorite photographer Nancy of Bug and Bean Photography. We wanted to know – How can we get the best out of our toddlers with the camera just like the pros? These days, it seems like every picture I take, my son turns his back on me or looks down. Being his mother, I think the top of his head is kinda cute but it’s hardly hallway frame worthy.  So while our sweet babies will coo, smile and stay still, we are more determined than ever to snap toddler pics before they head to kindergarten!  Here are some tips from Nancy we’ll be trying out for ourselves this week…Aloha!

“As toddlers begin to develop their speech and motor skills they become busy little explorers and really begin to come into their own. Active toddlers can be a challenge to photograph, but with patience and a little work, the end result will be capturing their sweet faces and ever changing personality on camera. Here are some quick and easy tips for photographing your toddler:

1. Be patient and be prepared for opportune photo moments by always having your camera ready.
2. Let your child guide you and avoid overwhelming your toddler with too many directions – Allow things to unfold naturally.

3. Set the mood with a positive attitude and keep it fun and fluid.
4. Photograph your toddler doing something he or she enjoys. It is sure to be a memory you’ll want to look back on.

5. Be realistic with your expectations and shoot in spurts.
6. No cheese, please. Forcing your child to smile often leads to frustration and awkward expressions. Remember to capture your toddler in all of their moods.

7. Follow their cues to maintain interest and avoid meltdowns.
8. Keep your toddler engaged by playing games or singing songs.
9. Say or do something silly. Placing some random object on my head almost always gets a laugh.

10. Use team work! Let the person behind the camera focus on taking the picture while the other keeps the toddler engaged.
11. Grab their attention by exaggerating your voice and movements but be careful not to overdo it.
12. If your toddler begins to lose interest, try a change of scenery or take a break. Every day is a photo opportunity!
13. Last but not least, remember to jump in on some of the photos. Who doesn’t love seeing baby pictures of themselves with their parents? Learn how to use the timer function on your camera or look into purchasing a wireless remote controller and partake in the family fun without having to run back and forth to reset your timer.”


SF, LA & NYC GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Families living in the San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City areas are eligible to win one Bug and Bean Photography Mini Print Session which includes a 30 minute on location session, (3) 8×10’s and (5) 5×7 prints, a $550 value. Also, any readers that mention Project Nursery and book a Spring mini session in LA March 12+13 and SF March 26+27 will receive an extra 5×7 brag book with their session. Mini session availability is limited.

Enter by commenting with your biggest photography challenge or let us know why you’d like to have Nancy come photograph your family. Contest ends March 11th, 2011 at 11:59 PST.


1. “Like” both Project Nursery and Bug and Bean Photography on Facebook and tell us you did with a comment below.

2. Follow Project Nursery and Bug and Bean Photography on Twitter, tweet about it and tell us you did with a comment below.

3. Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter or let us know you are already a subscriber with a comment below.




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    this would be so nice. we never have “family pictures” or ones with just the kids. its always on adult and one child. ha ha

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    I’d love to capture my son’s energy and personality on camera. I attempt, but I just can’t quite get “the shot”. Nancy’s gorgeous photos would be treasures for years to come.

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    i would love to win a mini print session because our first child is due in may and it would be great to capture his early weeks through beautiful pictures.

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    My little one never holds still. I would love a professional to get a better shot than me! I liked both on Facebook.

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    I have a 7 year old boy, 3 year old twins and a 1 year old. It’s nearly impossible to take a decent picture of 2 of them together, let alone the whole family. My 7 year old thinks pictures are dumb and makes silly faces in every pictures. If my 3 year old son would stay still for a picture he usually closes his eyes or is too busy asking to see the picture that we dont even have a chance to take it. My 3 year old daughter is a prima donna that loves pictures and poses with a nice big goofy smile for them. My baby is too busy exploring but at least he’s not too quick for pictures yet. I would love some nice candids to really capture my childrens personalities in a comfortable setting.

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    My family just finished growing! Now that we finally have a complete family, we are anxious to get a photo of a 3 of our beautifull kids together. My daughter’s (3 and 12) just adore their baby brother (6 months). I want to capture these precious moments in a family photo. Fingers Crossed. I love this style of photography… kids dont know how to smile on cue. thanks for the advice :)

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    Our biggest photography challenge is that we are horrible photographers. We haven’t done a professional session yet (we missed newborn pictures) so all of our pictures of our little one are from our point and shoot, which we fail miserably at. I’d love Nancy to capture our family while our baby is still a baby.

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    For me the biggest challenge I have is not having an extra pair of hands to help me. At home its not a problem but when going out its hard for me to take pictures since I have to make sure my kiddos dont wander off then there is the stroller and the diaper bag and who knows what else so the camera rarely makes an appearance.

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    Our family is about to expand with the birth of our little girl in May, so I’d love to have Nancy come and capture this very special time in our lives!

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    I would love for Nancy to capture my son’s 100th day- a korean custom in which a big celebration is held. She has a wonderful eye to capture great photos! It would also be great to have updated family photos- which we hardly have any!

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    I would love to have Bug and Bean capture my daughter around her first birthday. I recently saw a friend’s new baby and realized I hardly remember when my “baby” was a “baby.” Time flies so fast and I would love to capture a lasting memory of my daughter right around her first birthday.

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    I would love to have professional pictures taken of my daughter for her 1st birthday which is coming up. I hate how she knows when the flash is about to go on, she closes her eyes all the time! It would be great to have a nice picture captured without her eyes being closed :)

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    My biggest photography challenge is getting good pictures with my dog Maggie. She hates the camera! Do you have any pet tips? :D

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    my biggest challenge is getting my toddler to smile. She is a very serious baby! Always has been, so I get lucky sometimes and catch her smiling, but its rare rare rare! :)

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    What settings should I use for my camera so I can capture the ever-fleeting expressions of my 3 month old? By the time I hit the shutter button and the camera focuses, I miss his smile or funny face.

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    My first baby is due in 21 days! I would love to learn how best to capture those first sleepy, sweet infant moments!

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    Bug and Bean photographed our family when I was pregnant with my second and we had a newborn session 9 days after my dd arrived. Hands down the best photography investment I’ve made to date. The photos she captured couldn’t be more stunning and I love that I’m included in the photos (I’m always the one behind the lens).

    I LOVE Nancy!! Love! Love! =)

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    I would love to get some family pictures done of the 4 of us….(new baby due in June). 90% of our pictures are my son or my son and husband. I am ususally the one taking the pictures!!!

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    i haven’t had photos taken of my kids in a couple years such it’s such a hassle.nancy does such lovely work, i’d love for her to do our pics!

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    I would love to have Nancy photograph my family. We are spending an amazing year in NYC and I would love to have those memories captured!

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    I’m never able to get the lighting right with my photographs, flash, no flash, I don’t know what to use!!

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    I subscribed to your newsletter and liked on FB. My currently biggest challenge is that I’m never in the pictures because my husband won’t take any! :) I would most like to capture my son’s fantastic giggle.

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    Our biggest challenge has been getting a session set up! We have tried doing our own with a tri-pod/timer….what a mess! We would love to have Nancy do our first “true” family photo session since our little man arrived 16 months ago today!

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