Child photography is one of the hardest photographic techniques, why, because children don’t always like to be photographed and will often give silly grins or unflattering poses. The first rule with children is always have a camera ready and charged. Simple as it may seem, there is no point having the right equipment if it is in the boot of your car. Secondly, take lots of images. The more you take, the more they will relax. Remember that with a digital camera you only pay for what you print.
Try these techniques to get a great child portrait:
Always use the camera set at 2x or 3x zoom as this makes faces look great as well as causing a soft background. Where possible, use a specific portrait lenses such as the Canon 50mm EF F1.8 or similar lenses for you brand of digital SLR.
If your subject seems tense, ask them to fill their cheeks with air and blow it out. The silliness of the act will relax them, and cause a natural smile. To avoid camera stare and the dreaded red- eye ask the child to look at your hand or over your shoulder, rather than instructing them to look at the camera directly. Alternatively ask them to close their eyes and put their chin on their chest, then after a few seconds look up. This will also effectively eliminate the stare.
When shooting children on the move, try to focus the camera where the child is going to be when the shutter is pressed. Even the best camera in the world will struggle to keep a running child in focus. Have your camera set to 'sports' mode (note that some cameras have a 'child' mode with the same effect) as this will tell the camera to set as high a shutter speed as possible and better freeze the action taking place.