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They may seem cute, but as any parent knows, children are actually squirmy, disgusting and notoriously hard to photograph. ("Put down your sister's diaper cream and say cheese, Tyler!") Here, some easy tips for getting better shots.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Take Better Family Photos

Give Them Something to Do

No kid wants to sit still while you fiddle with your camera. Instead, give them something to do (like throwing leaves up in the air) to keep them occupied while you score an awesome candid photo. Some other great ideas: Blowing bubbles, building a sandcastle, eating ice cream and playing with blocks.

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Let Them Hold a Toy for Comfort

Being in front of a camera can be nerve-wracking. Help her feel more relaxed by letting her cuddle with her favorite stuffed animal. In addition to looking adorable, it'll give you a record of that period in your lives when you couldn't travel anywhere without Mr. Teddy.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Get Messy

Some of the best photos are the ones that don’t go according to plan. Think: Your kid jumping in rain puddles, getting birthday cake all over his face or coloring outside the lines (and on himself). Try not to be too rigid with your vision.

RELATED: How to Embrace a Smash Cake Even if You’re a Neat Freak

Let Them Pick Their Own Clothes

You have a nautical-themed photo shoot in mind (you even bought the cutest sailor outfit), but your daughter's set on wearing her fairy princess dress. Chances are she’ll be more comfortable and relaxed in clothes she picked out herself. Roll with it and snap away.

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Ask Them to Tell You a Story That Makes Them Laugh

Say “cheese” and you’ll probably get a forced smile. Instead, let his real smile shine through by getting down to his level and asking him to tell you a funny story or talk about a funny memory (like when Grandpa made a spoon stick to his nose).

Pick a Statement Background

What works: Cool wallpaper, exposed brick, outdoor murals. What doesn't: Messy living rooms, boring white walls, anything where your child's clothes blend into the background.

Have Them Run Toward You

Don't you just love that look when they run toward you with their arms outstretched? Capture that feeling on camera by transforming an empty street or sidewalk into their own private runway. Then snap, snap away.

RELATED: The Best Trips to Take with Your Kids at Every Age

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