It’s always a guessing game when it comes to photographing children. You never know what kind of mood they will show up with; as a photographer, you have to be prepared for anything!
I’ve always found it most helpful to just let them be. Give them a moment if they need a moment, allow them to express themselves if that’s what they need. In my experience, it is never a good idea to force them into anything. I try to allow the session to unfold as naturally as possible. Many times that means giving up to a preconceived idea of what I thought the shoot would look like, and learn to be okay with the results. After all, I am there to capture their life as is, even if it sometimes includes some chaos 🙂
I find that this approach allows for a mostly stress-free environment for my families and myself! Check out this family for example. The little girl was not in the bets of moods for probably the first 30 minutes of the session. Eventually though, after some patience and some bribing, she turned the corner and became the star of the session! Check them out 🙂