Photographing children and toddlers can be a tricky subject. On one hand you don't want them running mad, yet those forced smiles make you want to cringe, right? You have to find that happy balance. I often use my now 4 year old daughter as a guinea pig for new ideas. When we have our sessions, I have to be ready because they will only last about 5 minutes from start to finish. My style is very natural and I want my subjects to be engaged. Now that doesn't necessarily mean, engaged with the camera. This image of my daughter looks as though she is really having a profound moment, when in reality it's more like a profound split second. I'm sure she is trying to decide if she can make a run for it and get away with it. I don't often get direct eye contact from Abree but you can always see her sparkle.
The segment of images that I am showing you all happened in about 2 minutes. I was able to keep her in the same spot, however you can see that there were many things going on through her intensely imaginative mind.
I think as parents, we need to just learn to let go a little during a photo session and just let our kids just be kids. Most often they will be in a new place so explore/play breaks are a must. That is when the magic happens.