Most of the time when I look at my favorite children's photographs, I'm not drawn to the big cheesy grins and perfectly posed images. I'm drawn to the images that are the most authentic, ones that showcase a child's personality, in all it's forms. While I do love a great big smile, it only feels right to me when it's real, not when it's Say Cheese!
The best way to get authentic images and expressions with children is to prompt them; ask silly questions, talk about their favorite activities, ask them to do something and capture what they do. This is how I go through a portrait session with a child; constantly engaging them and keeping them involved. While I may ask them to sit or stand in a certain spot, I want the rest to be all them; their most authentic self. After all, what's the point in having their portrait taken, if they can't really be themselves?