“Alright, boys! Look at you all dressed up and shampooed and handsome. It’s picture-time for mama.”
It’s scientifically proven. This statement, or any iteration of it, is the #1 fastest way to get a stuck-out tongue and crossed eyes in thirty seconds or less. They’re four and seven. It’s what they do, so the following amendment was born:
“Alright, boys! Look at you all dressed up and shampooed and handsome. It’s picture-time for mama so here’s the deal. You each get ten clicks to be the boss. You can be crazy and silly and goofy. But after that, when I say so, the rest of the photos are mine. You’ll only get when I say I’ve got what I want. Deal?”
That’s the other part of the amendment: bribery with sprinkles. The bigger point is this: right off the bat, give them free rein. I don’t want to get too technical, but the proper photographic term for this technique is ‘Getting Out Your Ya-Yas’.
They scamper down the stairs after every few shots to see the screen, and point, and giggle. Then they simmer down just enough for an impromptu (a.k.a. hurried snapshot) photo that’s just exactly who they are, in addition to fingers-in-noses. My youngest, thrilled to have an older brother who’s as cool as my eldest. My eldest being cool, and accepting his idol status at his peak of 65% tolerance with a margin of error +/-5% depending on several factors that can be extensively catalogued and tracked with flow charts.
Works like a charm for the HA HA BUTTS! set. Try it next time.