I totally get it...photographing your own children is HARD! And that's an understatement sometimes. My children seem to act so much better for other people and pictures are no different. I think my kids are just plain tired of being my models. Who could blame them after ten years of it!

Photographing other people's children is another thing entirely. I love it! We laugh, we play, we have a great time! Mini sessions are especially fun because the whole time is spent playing in a new made-up world and it goes by so fast for them that they never have time to get bored with me.

To help you get better pictures of your own kids, I have put together a list of five ways to take great photos of your kids. They are little changes that you can make to drastically improve your images and get some amazing pictures of your kids.

1. Get Lower

Ideally, you want to be at eye level with your subject (your child). You may want to squat down, sit or even lay on the floor, if that's where your child is. This will not only be more flattering for the subject, but will also make the eyes the focal point. They say that the eyes are the window to the soul and when you focus on them in a picture, you show the personality of the child in the image.

2. Find the Shade

Whenever possible, find a shady spot. Sunny areas create harsh shadows on the face and most people squint when the sun is in their eyes. For softer, diffused light, look for the shade.

3. Move Away From The Background

In order to get that nice separation between your subject and the background, there needs to be a good amount of distance between them. Try taking two pictures. The first one is your child standing right up against a wall. The second one, have them move four feet away from the wall. You'll notice a big difference. This will also make your child stand out much more and be the clear focal point of the image. Your eye will immediately be drawn to your subject, not a distracting element in the background.

4. Get Real Smiles

You will almost never get a real smile if you ask a child to smile. They just can't do it. Instead, you need to play with them a bit. Depending on the child, you might talk about their favorite food, person or show. Or you might talk about bodily functions. Poop makes most kids laugh like crazy. Pretend tickles or "I'm going to get you!" tickles work well as does playing peek-a-boo behind the camera. Whatever it takes...get silly and you'll get some real smiles.

5. Introduce Objects And Capture The Fun

Kids don't have to be looking at the camera for it to be a great photo. Give them a ball, some glasses, a hat or any other object they might like to play with. Take them to the park and photograph them on the swings. Document the fun, even if they aren't looking. Those are the real memories. Real life makes for the very best pictures of all.