Lighting is arguably the most important element in a photo; too bright and the details are lost and shadows harsh, too dark and the images turn grainy and hard to pick out. If you're taking your photo indoors, try and place your subject next to a window to get some natural light. I try to avoid using my flash as much as possible as again it makes the images look harsh and false. If you want to take photos outside on a sunny day, either go into a lightly shaded area or if in full sun have the sun behind your subject, you definately don't want it in their eyes so they're squinting. The best time for beautiful light is early morning or early evening just before sunset, in what photographers call the "golden hour".
(window lighting only v flash used in the same position)
Think about what your kids are wearing. Obviously if the focus is on the outfit with special wording or a dressing up character go for it, but make sure you don't have too much else going on in the picture. But if the focus is to be on the child and their expression steer clear of big wording, logos or pictures which take the attention away from the child. If there's more than one child in the picture I think it looks fab if they are matching or co-ordinating, although I know that's not for everyone. And I also love babies and little ones showing lots of skin, but again not everyone approves.
(mismatched outfits taking attention away from subjects v co-ordinating outfits where wording is a main feature)
Parents often come to me hoping for beaming smiling faces at the camera throughout the shoot, but often it's the photos of them just doing their own thing and showing their little personalities that they end up loving the most. A big 'cheese' to the camera only shows one side of their personality and while it can be cute, I love photos of them absorbed in a task or even having a big tantrum; every area of life needs documenting, not just the good!!
(my boys showing their personalities!!!)
Think about the background. I love a plain background, especially a brick wall or wooden fence. If plain isn't an option or you want to feature the background, make sure there are no really distracting objects you don't want the viewer to focus on. Especially avoid background objects which are brighter than the subject as the eye of the viewer will be drawn to that first.
(distracting background v plain background)
Try lots of different angles. Get down on your child's level, come in close to highlight small details. Take from above and get your child to look up. Action shots can be difficult on a phone unless you have a special sports setting or can increase the shutter speed, just have a play around.
(taken from above & action shot)
Think about how you compose your shot. Have a google of the 'rule of thirds'. Some cropping in editing can transform an image by improvising composition. If your shot is a portrait, make sure the eyes are the focus.
(subject on a third & portrait with focus on eyes)
Many modern phones have basic in built editing so you can easily, crop, lighten, increase the contrast etc. Or you can download a simple editing app. Try your image in black and white too; often a photo that we would have discarded otherwise can be transformed by being in black and white. This medium can cover a multitude of sins.
(would have discarded but looks better in black and white)
Just don't go getting too good at taking pictures of your kids on your phone and put me out of business ;-)
(All photos featured taken on Huawei P20 Pro and edited in Lightroom)