I ran a family photography business for 6 years. I loved the kids and beautiful families - especially when it was beautiful outside. Here’s a couple things I learned:
When outside, take pictures in the morning or the evening. Put the sun behind the child. The camera is almost facing the sun, but at an angle. The face can photograph dark with the sun behind the head, so use a soft fill flash or a small reflector. This will also create an eye sparkle.
When inside, photograph near a large window and don’t use the flash at all.
You can use songs, toys or a sibling to entertain your child so she doesn’t feel like she’s being controlled.
Get Close, Get Low
Photography is about perspective. You want to be eye level, and with little kids, that means getting really low to photograph them. You can eliminate distracting backgrounds by just getting closer to your child when you photograph her.
Sneak, Cheat and Bribe
Sneak your shots when she’s playing so she won’t feel coerced. She does not need to be smiling and looking at the camera to be cute!
Bribe older kids with a treat after they cooperate with your little photo shoot. Better yet, photograph them enjoying the treat!
Cheat a little by bringing your photo into photoshop or a photo editing app to brighten up your colors and lighten up the whites.