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Picture Perfect

When Cindy D'Erasmo of New Rochelle, NY, took her daughter, Isabella, to the photographer on her first birthday, she was in for an unpleasant surprise. Though Isabella had happily cooperated in the past, this time she cried and refused to pose until her mother handed her some Cheerios  -- visible in the finished photo.

"Toddlers have such short attention spans, it's a wonder they ever pose for pictures," says Vincent Iannelli, M.D., pediatrics expert for They're more eager to explore than babies, so it's tough for them to sit still long enough to be photographed. Plus, they may be anxious about the person behind the camera, too, since they often still have some stranger anxiety and separation issues. To help your child feel more at ease, whether posing for a professional photo or the family card:

Find a kid-friendly studio. Look for a photographer who's accustomed to working with children-ideally one who'll let you walk through the studio before your appointment and reschedule sittings at no extra cost.

Plan wisely. Schedule your visit for when your child's likely to be well-fed and rested. To avoid a long wait time, try booking the first appointment of the day.

Dress your kid comfortably. Although a lacy dress is adorable, she may be more cooperative dressed in simple playwear.

Give the model what she wants. Bring favorite toys and snacks from home, and be prepared to break into a song-and-dance routine if you have to (hey, anything to break a smile!).