I love taking pictures of children. I love their smiles, adorable outfits, and the amazing amount of vitality and life that shows up in their pictures. Taking pictures of children is one of the rewarding things that I do as a photographer. It is also one of the most difficult. The sheer amount of energy that little kids possess combined with all the fascinating distractions around them make it difficult for them to look at the camera when they are supposed to, especially in a posed setting. The more children in the shot, the more difficult it can be to get them all looking the right direction.
I love having parents around, as they often know what to say or do to make their children smile and look around. However, here is an important tip to make your children's pictures come out well-
If we are having trouble getting everyone to look in the right direction, before you starting waving your arms, making funny noises, and saying "look at the camera! look at the camera!" consider where YOU are standing. 99% of the time they are going to be looking at YOU, so in order to make sure they are looking in the camera's direction, you want to be standing directly BEHIND me. Otherwise they may smile, laugh, and open their eyes nice and wide, but the majority of the time they are going to look at the source of all this entertaining distraction, instead of at the boring camera lens pointed in their direction.
Thus, remember the rule- unless you are standing DIRECTLY BEHIND the photographer, it might be best to just let me be the entertaining distraction. Parents often are the best people to bring out an awesome smile, but unless you're standing in the right place, it doesn't quite work. If it's not practical to be directly behind me due to space constraints, let me do all the work. I am more than happy to make funny faces, weird noises, jump up and down, and generally make a complete fool of myself in order to get everyone to look at me. It's in the job description. The problem comes when I am just one of a crowd of people jumping up and down making funny noises. :)
Of course, this only applies if we're looking for shots where they ARE looking directly at the camera... sometimes it's great when they are not.