I'm in no way a child photographer. However, I have friends and family with children so occasionally I play that role on the weekends. I have been really pushing to learn on every shoot. Really slow things down for a minute and make sure my lighting is right, the posing looks good, the clothing works well together and the overall feel of the image is what I'm going for. If it doesn't, then I fix it. It's really easy to get distracted and not take a step back for a minute. Listen to the subject. Are they comfortable? If not, how can I help them get there?
Recently I had a shoot with my little niece Paeton Joy. She is quite the little character as you can see.
This was part of the first hour of shooting. She wasn't having a good morning. She was actually in the mood being expressed there. In the past, I've just continued on shooting and hoped for the best. Why? If she's not having fun, how in the hell was I going to be able to make it look like she was? I wasn't. So I asked her what she wanted to do? She desperately wanted a doughnut. We made a deal; we'll go get doughnuts but when we get back, she has to take great pictures. She was totally into that. In fact, the smiles already started to unfold.
So we head over to Bedlam for a little snack. As you can see, she was holding up her end of the bargain as soon as we walked through those doors.
Clearly, the doughnut saved the day. All we had to do was listen. This also saved me from acting like an idiot waving a toy in the air making weird noises that we all think kids like to hear. We clean up our mess and head back over to the studio. Paeton is having a great time now! She's ready to snap some photos and get on with her busy schedule. As you can see below, she was quite cooperative.
Lesson learned. Shut up and listen to your subject. Things will go so much smoother.