March 30, 2007
These goofy trick shots--headless little sister! Gigantic sneaker!--are guaranteed to get the kids to smile.

Getting kids to smile in the same tired old poses can be a chore--and will probably result in boring, forgettable photos. To spruce up the family album, try some goofy trick shots. We got these ideas from a book called Tricky Pix, which unfortunately is going out of print soon (, $20).

Gigantic sneaker: Find a simple background that has a uniform look and color scheme, as well as a slight slope. A grassy hill is perfect. Place the sneaker on the ground--the photographer will snap shots at very close range. Have a child pose at the spot up the hill where it appears she's inside the sneaker.

The long stretch: This one works best with two children who are about the same size. Each hides half of her body behind a tree, giving the appearance of an extra-long torso.

Headless little sister: The key is to make sure that the head and hair of the child facing away from the camera are completely out of view. The photographer should shoot from about the same height as the wall or ledge that is shielding the second child's body from view.

Flexible sunbather: One child lies on his belly, while another lies on top of him with legs propped as in photo above. The photographer gets low to keep the illusion that there's one very flexible person on the beach.

Brother bowling ball: This is the same basic idea as the "headless little sister" shot: Be sure that no body part of the person being the "head" is visible. Make a ghoulish face or just play it casual.

Mom in hand: Like the "gigantic sneaker" shot, this one requires a plain, slightly sloping background. The palm of the person in front should be flat or angled slightly away from the camera.

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America's Most Scenic Train Rides

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