People love seeing photos of their kids looking directly at the camera, but unfortunately anyone who has ever tried to take a photograph of an easily-distracted child knows how hard that can be to get. TetherTools claims it's solved this problem with an articulating arm that holds a smartphone above the DSLR lens, giving little photo subjects something to look at.

While photographers have for years pulled funny faces and dangled cuddly toys over their cameras to get a direct look from kids, it's fairly obvious that a video of their favorite cartoon, or photographs of their friends and family, will be better at keeping their attention.

Tether Tools states that because the Look Lock attaches to a hot-shoe and holds a smartphone directly above the lens, it also has added the benefit of making it look like portrait subjects are staring down the barrel of your lens in the resulting snaps, in all but close-up wide angle shots.

Constructed from lightweight aluminum, the Look Lock comes in two versions, a 7-inch (18-cm) articulating arm, which is ideal for medium zooms, and an 11-inch (29-cm) version for use with longer lenses such as a 70-200 mm. Both lengths attach to a hot-shoe or an extension rail and are said to remain stable even as the camera is moved and rotated between portrait and landscape positions.

At the end of the Look Lock arm there's a universal SmartClip smartphone mount, which is spring-loaded and can hold devices up to three inches (7.6 cm) wide – that's big enough for even the Galaxy S III or Lumia 920. Non-skid pads on each interior side of the clip firmly hold a device in place, so that it doesn't fall out while being moved.

The 7-inch Look Lock is available now online for US$75, while the 11-inch version will set you back $80.

View gallery - 6 images