Cutest Kid in America

The editors of Parents magazine are looking for the cutest kid in America between six months and six years old to be the cover kid of the magazine's November 2008 issue.

Sharon Elcock has organized hundreds of photo shoots in her role as Sittings Editor at Parents magazine for four years. She has asked us to share these basic picture taking tips to help you get the most out of your entry:

Do: Take photos with a really simple – but pretty background. No one wants to look at dirty dishes in your kitchen sink! Instead, go for natural scenery in front of lush greenery or pretty flowers.
Don't: Please, please no pictures with food on the face. Cute for grandma's refrigerator – not so much for the judges.
Do: Try to capture your child in a care-free, happy moment. Photos that are too staged usually don't show you're child's true energy and personality.

: No extreme close-ups please! It makes it hard to see the whole child.

: Be honest with yourself about your child's temperament. Does he truly enjoy taking pictures or does he burst into tears the moment you point the digital at him? If he does not like taking pictures at this time in his development, be patient! Chances are, with time, he may come to like the camera. Enter the contest then and watch him win!
Don't: Lose the hat, the towel draped over the kid's head – what are you hiding under there?

: Try taking pictures using interesting, fun angles.

To enter Parents magazine's online baby photo contest, just upload a picture of your child before June 24 here. Good luck!

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