I love candid shots where no one is looking at the camera.
But there are some times when you just want people to look right at the lens.
Children can especially have a hard time having the patience to look at the lens.
I have ran across two fun ideas that may work for you when photographing children.
#1 - Homemade Shutter Buddies. There is a company out there who makes and sells Shutter Buddies, but there's no way that I would spend around $20 to get one. I decided to make my own. After a quick visit and spending a whole $3 at the dollar store, I have the supplies to make several homemade Shutter Buddies. I bought a pack of hair scrunchies, a package of fun colored foam sheets, and a pack of googily eyes. I cut out multi colored foam circles, hot glued them to the scrunchie, and glued on a goofily eye. I took a black pen and drew a silly smile. And voila... my homemade Cal the Caterpillar Shutter Buddy. It is much more fun to look at Cal the Caterpillar!
#2 - Pez Dispensers. Looking for the perfect candy to bribe children with on your next photo shoot? Well look no further than your local drug store. Pez dispensers are the answer! Who knew that Pez dispensers would fit in the hot shoe of a DSLR camera?! Well, I ran across this video on Go4Pro Photos that demonstrated this idea and I was sold. The only tweaking that needs to be done is that you have to trim off a bit of the flat bottom part of the Pez dispenser so it will slide in nicely into the hot shoe. But seriously, how genius is this idea?! Get the photos you've always wanted by asking the children to "Find Nemo" and then reward them each with a Pez candy. The perfect bribe!