I find that when I work with toddlers and young children that we will work very quickly for short periods of time. I’m not a big fan of staying in the moment too long when working with young children ( i.e. the traditional “smile, smile for the camera! SMILE!! with a high- pitched somewhat demanding voice). The end result can be somewhat stiff smiles and uncertain expressions. Yet that being said, sometimes for toddlers and infants, who are constantly being distracted as they explore their new world, the “smile, Smile, SMILE” is EXACTLY the approach the photographer needs to use to get the child’s attention!
Some kids do better if they feel like they are in charge of the situation, others like specific guidance and other children will just smile in front of the camera all day long. It’s nice when Mom is close by, but too close can also be a distraction for a child. It’s important for the photographer to develop a rapport with the child, so that the child will look to the photographer for guidance in front of the camera.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions in advance or during the session. Let the photographer know if you have a favorite look or style in mind…
As you can see there are no steadfast rules here, mostly because every child is different and THAT is one of the joys and challenges of photographing children!