When you're a child, the world tells you what to do.
It's just the way it is.
So it's nice to find ways to let kids be in charge of their environment. Sometimes, this takes unexpected turns, as when I let my color blind son pick the paint color of his room (I told him 'no black,' and then backed down at the bright green choice).
In the studio, this means letting children have breaks to play with the toys. Someone else's toys are usually way more fun than one's own, even when I remove all batteries from mine so they don't beep, vroom or talk. I have trucks and cars, books, loads of stuffed animals, a tea set, wagons, shape sorters and more. After taking some photos, kids take time to do their own thing. Then hopefully, they're ready to go when I lift the camera!
When it comes time to take family photos, I have a few techniques that let the children be in charge. It doesn't always work....
Outtakes are included in your gallery....because they're real. And funny.
"I'm done." "Me too."
"This is where I want to stand, okay?"
"Can I color now?" (he's holding a crayon)
"You don't see me doing this, do you?"
And finally, knowing when the session is over.