I was a stay-at-home dad for many years, and I can’t think of a better way for a photographer to practice. Now, you don’t want to sleep or have a lot of time to do anything else, do you? At least photography lets you keep a constant eye on children, even if they don’t necessarily get eye contact.
TIP: The kid is low. Shoot low. Who wants to see pictures of the top of cute little heads all the time?
TIP: Learn to aim your camera without looking through the viewfinder.* You can use the rear screen but even better, just learn where it points and learn how to twist your lens between wide medium and closeup and what that means.
This helps you get shots of kids that like to run or duck pictures too.
Also even though I say flashback, try to shoot without the flash out. Kids hate bright light in their eyes. Not just kids. Get natural light and a good look and don’t teach the kid to blink and hide from the camera because it’s uncomfortable.
* Yes, I have said this before, and I hear you say, but how do we learn? Take a bunch of pictures and review them. You do look at your pictures during and after a session don’t you? While the scene is still fresh enough in your mind to learn something from it?
P.S. Use a flash when you need to. Realize you often don’t need to. If it’s really dark or your subject is moving fast in dimmer light, well, that gets tricky doesn’t it…. We had a good run with the mannequin challenge where you could lie and get someone to stand still pretending to shoot video, but that’s so 2016.