I have a two year old and a three year old. My three year old will smile nicely for photos, but sometimes he smiles and looks off in directions other than in the direction of the camera. My two year old often sits stone faced and refuses to smile at the camera. She does not like to be photographed. Photographing them together is a big challenge for me.
My results in using the shutter hugger monkey:
1) My three year old son: it worked great. I told him to smile and look at the monkey and he would lock his eyes on the shutter hugger monkey. I got some great pics of him with a sweet smile and his gaze was right at the camera.
2) My two year old daughter; It did keep her gaze on the camera, which is good because sometimes she looks away when I pull the camera out. But, unfortunately, she did not smile or find if funny even when I tried to make the monkey waive at her.
My thoughts on the design of the product:
It seems well made and well sewn. I have a Sony NEX 5N camera and it went over the lense just fine. It has elastic to fit most standard sized lenses. It stayed put well and the head did not flop over when I had it on the lense. It is also lightweight. I like that I can easily move the legs and arms of the monkey to get the kids' attention.
In sum, I would recommend this product. Though I would have loved it if my daughter smiled at the shutter hugger, I do accept that she is such a tough cookie when it comes to refusing to smile for a camera, so I really don't blame the shutter hugger. The most important thing to me is that it does catch my kid's attention and get them to look at the camera.
My daughter really is a child that makes it her mission to put on a sour face or start fussing when she sees a camera. So, the shutter hugger will probably work fine as long as your child does not hate having their photo taken, as my two year old daughter does. I plan to buy a few other shutter hugger animals to mix it up to keep their interest when I photograph them. I refuse to give up and I am hopeful that if I get my daughter in the right mood she might give me some smiling photos thanks to the shutter hugger.