Kids aren't always into it and getting that winning shot for the parents can be really challenging.
Since I think my strength lies in those candid unplanned shots and why a lot of clients hire me, I thought I would jot down a few suggestions that helps create winning portraits even when it seems like it's not going well.
I literally came home from my last shoot discouraged that I didn't get the shots I wanted and it wasn't til I opened up my editing programs that I realized it went a lot better than I thought.
1) Get the family shots first. -this means the ones that everyone stands together and smiles...what I call the "framer" shots. This way, if the kids burn out you still have some good ones for the parents.
2) Stand back a bit and observe
-My best shots are usually the ones when the kids are unaware I am snapping and are being themselves. It requires a fast trigger finger and a longer lens.
3) Never show your frustrations or put off you're rushed.
Kids are keen and can sense when things become tense. And for them everything is an adventure, so if standing still isn't working for them, get on the move!
4) Take advantage of the ones that do cooperate.
-If all else fails, capture the ones that are willing subjects...sometimes that means a photo op just for mom and dad or a child off by him or herself!
5) Sometimes the out takes are the best ones.
-Often the ones that the family orders most are the ones that aren't the traditional smiling ones or perfect shots, but the silly "mistake" photos. I like to include them in a session since they showcase personality and a lighter side to the session.
I'm sure there are so many "technical" tips out there, but I apply these when shooting families and it always goes well, happy client = successful session.
(All tips are my own and from my own experience)