IT’LL be smiles all round next week, as our Baby of the Year 2011 competition gets under way.

Photographers will be at Matalan at The John Allen Centre in Cowley over the coming two weeks to snap the county’s cutest children from 10am to 4pm.

Every tot who has their picture taken will feature in the Oxford Mail, before readers are asked to pick their favourite. The winner’s family will also win a free trip to Disneyland Paris.

Alan Lock, co-director of company Fraser Portraits, who will be taking the pictures, said: “We want to make it as fun and exciting as possible for everyone involved.

He said even parents of the most shy children should not be put off bringing them along: “We advise the parent to take their time, and we’ll never give up on the child.”

Mr Lock said a good way to get them to relax was to bring along their favourite toy, or something they were familiar with.

He said: “It makes them feel like they are at home, and then we can get the best picture possible.”

And as for the secret behind a competition winner, Mr Lock said it wasn’t just about having the biggest smile.

He said: “I think it always helps if they stand out, by wearing something unique. A few weeks ago, we took a picture of a boy wearing a cap and jumping over a beanbag. It looked fantastic.”

He added: “I think this is a great competition.

“You get to have a free photo taken, get your child in the newspaper and then get the chance at winning a holiday to Disneyland.

“What could be better than that?

“Children grow up so fast. This is a special way to remember this time.”

Photographer Mark Fraser snapped hundreds of toddlers last year and will be back next week.

He said: “This is always lots of fun, as we get a big audience trying to get the children to smile.

“I’ve seen whole families standing in amazement, watching the entertainers do their stuff.”

The contest is open to children aged up to three.

Categories are: up to nine months, 10 to 18 months and 19 to 36 months. Votes can be cast by text or by phone.

Our photographer will be at Matalan between 10am and 4pm every day from Monday to Saturday, April 2, and from Monday, April 4, until Saturday, April 9.

Pick up your Oxford Mail on any of these dates to get your entry form.