When it comes to capturing children I have a couple simple rules; don’t ask them to smile, work quickly and give them something to do. If you ask a child to look at the camera they do one of two things, they either stiffen up and grin as hard, scrunching up those wonderful features or they run in the opposite direction, leaving your Kodak moment vanished. This is what happens (below) when I asked (pleaded) with my daughter if she could open her eyes just a little bit more. Sigh.
When your child is doing something they are engaged in quietly grab your camera (you can turn off the bells and whistles for super stealth bonus points) start snapping from a distance and move in closer if your subject doesn’t mind.
You can shoot from all different angles to capture and highlight what your favorite attributes. Maybe you love the way your child holds their pencil or the way they purse their mouth when they are concentrating deeply. Instead of focusing on trying to get the biggest Cheshire grin try to photograph details that show another side of your child. And if you can catch them at a moment of quiet contemplation go ahead and shoot because sometimes not smiling can be beautiful.
Another trick, ask them if they can see themselves in the reflection of the lens.
Please share your images in our Flickr Group we would love to see your portrait captures.