Many schools are skipping on fall school photos due to COVID-19, ours included. You can pay someone to do them and it would be more than worth the cost but if you've suffered financially because of the virus shutting things down then the extra cost might not be high on your priority list. You really don't need to be a "professional" in order to snap a few quick pics to hang on the wall with some simple tips to help you out.
Consider the time of day and the weather
Golden Hour is popular amongst photographers for a reason, it's gorgeous light! Golden Hour starts about an hour before sunset and lasts until sunset. After sunset is when Blue Hour begins and Blue Hour is a favorite time for photography as well but you're losing light fast so ensure you have a cooperative kid if you're going for this time. Flat light begins towards the end of Golden Hour and lasts into Blue Hour and shooting in flat light means you cannot go wrong no matter what angle you're shooting from.
If you're shooting on an overcast day then shoot whenever you feel like because the clouds filter the sun's harsh light. If the day is bright and sunny then don't shoot until Golden or Blue Hour unless you can find a place that's nicely shaded (evenly, not spotted). Harsh light from the sun creates harsh shadows and unflattering light, even light creates flattering light.
2. Search Pinterest for pose ideas
Researching what you want your kid to do ahead of time can save a lot of time and frustration for both of you. "Pin" the pics or screenshot to your phone for quick reference.
3. Decide your background
I prefer nature but maybe you want a more "studio" look? If you want a background that looks more solid, then have a helper hold up a large blanket or rig it so it stays up itself. You know where you can have nice/flat light for using a blanket background? Your garage. Seriously.
4. Garage and doorway light
If you sit your subject (your kid) at about a 45 degree angle from inside your garage and from the garage door, you get nice/soft lighting. Play around with it and you'll see.
5. Keep shooting
If your kids aren't smiling but being cute or funny in other ways, keep clicking that shutter button. It might not make the wall but you won't regret having those images.
It makes life easier, just bribe them with a candy bar and call it a day. A favorite in our house is McDonald's. What would work on your kid in exchange for cooperation?