How to photograph three children that squiggle more than a fish on dry land.

I’ve decided that my children wriggle too much. Even when they are playing a favourite game or watching a favourite program they can’t sit still. I can glance over at something else for a second and when I turn back again they’ve moved. This can be particularly amusing when they are asleep and we go into their room to whisper goodnight. We’ve discovered them in all sorts of silly poses. One day they might be curled up in a little ball like a cat (foot end), while a teddy has occupied the prime position in the main part of the bed. Then the next day limbs might be everywhere, an arm draped across the face and a leg half hanging out the side of the bed.

So when their Grandma won a photoshoot and decided to take the boys along I wasn’t especially optimistic about getting them to stay still long enough for a good shot. For once we had adults outnumbering the children so we decided to make a day trip out of it anyway. The studio was a hit with the boys instantly. Clearly, in their minds it resembled a play room and they were quick to notice a selection of toys on a shelf. These proved to be quite a distraction. When you are a small person, why wouldn’t you prefer to look at the shelving unit then the camera?

Trying to get an image of the three boys together was interesting. Eldest one was having difficulty interpreting the photographer’s instructions, middle one was pulling peculiar faces to get a reaction and youngest one could only be positioned for a second or so before he realised he wasn’t being held and needed to cry accordingly. At one point I was singing him ‘The Grand old Duke of York’ – which makes him very smiley – then attempting to back away quickly after the lyric ‘down’. It was usually in this spilt second when one of his older brothers happened to have an itchy nose (or make a detailed exploration of the nostril). They weren’t particularly keen to interact with each other either – almost like they knew the whole thing was staged. There are occasions when my boys show genuine affection to each other – of course on these occasions I either don’t have a camera to hand or I’m not fast enough to capture the moment before it passes.

Trying to get an image of our whole family was even more of a challenge. When you’re supposed to be in the picture yourself its really hard to remember to smile and look at the camera yourself before checking what the children are up to. It meant relying on the Grandparents to tell the boys a joke. Unfortunately their Grandad’s idea of humour would be a bit beyond them and of course Grandma couldn’t think of anything quickly enough. We resorted to calling out random food items instead. Sometimes nothing beats a good old fashioned call of ‘cheese’.

Despite all of this on top of multiple clothing changes, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the results. Now we just need the boys to sit still long enough to see our chosen photos themselves.