Photographing kids can be tricky. Here are some suggestions to make it easier.

Over the weekend, I busted out my old fashioned SLR camera for a spur of the moment photo shoot with my daughters. I hardly ever use it anymore, considering the camera in my phone is pretty much just as good.

My girls are 7 and 9. They have VERY different personalities. My older daughter is very agreeable in most situations, and it's always easy to get a great shot of her. My younger daughter, however...is a goofball. She love sticking her tongue out, crossing her eyes, and doing all kinds of silly things when I'm trying to take her picture. That's who she is...and I love her for it...but it makes picture time a little tricky.

The next time you sit your kids down for some pictures, remember these simple tricks that are guaranteed to make it go MUCH smoother -

Take them in the morning, especially with younger kids.

You'll be surprised how much easier it is to get them to cooperate in the morning, rather than at the end of the day. And they'll look fresher, too!

Get down to their level, or even sit on the floor if you need to.

To be a good photographer, sometimes you need to get uncomfortable! You can't always expect them to come to you...sometimes you have to go to them

And, be playful and spontaneous, so it's fun.

You are NOT going to get good pictures if you're screaming at your kids to sit still and look pretty. To get a good, natural smile from my kids, I'll say "3...2...1...BUTTCRACK" or something like that. And if you find yourself getting frustrated, maybe it's time to put the camera away and try again some other time.

Above all, keep in mind the purpose of pictures - to capture a memory in time. You want the picture to be a true representation of them...not a fake one!