I think we'll all agree that children do not want their photo taken without it invvolves fun of some sort or at least a reward. So, what do we do? One make it a game of some kind and avoid it looking like a chore. Having said that, the best shots seem to come from being quick with the camera when certain events are happening or there's a lot of playing or action going on. If you find that they are distracted with something, this can also be a good time to break out the camera.
Here are some points to remember,
1. Try and have them involved.
Photographing children will be that much easier if you get them into the process. Do not boss them, encourage them with a reward or something on the table they can see that they will get afterwards. Keep referring back to it.
2. Choose your location carefully.
A child will respond better if the shots are taken somewhere where they regularly have fun or somewhere that is familiar. Taking a child to the beach, or a park, or similar can create an awesome background and also arouse their curiosity allowing them to walk and investigate while you're snapping away.
3. The need is speed!
Children do not like to sit still long so make it happen with clicking fingers! You can fix up your errors later. Keep shooting even if they pull dumb faces at you, some will be excellent later and there will be moments in between.
4. Patients is a value.
Rarely will you take your best photo straight away! Attempt saying funny things while your aiming and try some different techniques to stimulate their imagination – just keep shooting.
5. Choose your equipment wisely.
Stay with digital because you can make adjustments later and forget the tripod. If you start fiddling with lenses and filters etc. They will get bored or cranky. Have your gear ready before the child is there.
6. Get down to earth
Try and shoot at eye level at all times. Shots taken from above are lazy and give photographs that are very pedestrian.
7. The closer the better!
You need to capture those wonderful expressions. Once you've established some familiarity with the child, get in close.
8. Finish on a good note.
Let them take a picture while you hold the camera and give them a small token of thanks. Polaroids are good for this purpose.