When I asked my friend Nikki whether she would mind if I took pictures of her children, she asked me if I was sure. Her eldest child, Hollie, is about 4 years of age and a bundle of energy. She gives everything her undivided attention for approximately two and a half minutes and then she’s onto her next adventure… skipping through the living room wearing Mummy’s boots, doing a head stand wearing her pink bicycle helmet and hurdling over the sofa head first… I’m exhausted just watching her, but this is all just a few minutes in the life of Hollie Giles. She is utterly fabulous and I could immediately see why Nikki had reservations about her “modelling” for me.
However I had a plan. I’m a teacher you see – I know all about low attention spans; children thinking you’re the best thing since chocolate spread one minute and then finding you as dull as Monday morning assemblies the next. So like I said, I had a plan… to take pictures as quickly as possible. Not a very complex plan but it really worked. I thought about the poses I wanted beforehand, suggested them to Hollie; and then suggested new ones when she refused. Then I took pictures of the poses ‘she’ wanted to do; yes, I even took pictures of her pulling her lips wide with her fingers to reveal a full set of baby teeth and gums. What’s more, I showed her the pictures as I was taking them. This seemed to maintain her interest for an extra 3 minutes… but every minute counts in photography.
When it was clear Hollie had had enough, I moved on to baby brother Harrison. He is 3 months old… not old enough to crawl, let alone hurdle over sofas. Nikki has always been ultra-organised and practical even when we were at University. When we were organising the photo-shoot, she suggested that I came to her house after Harrison had his nap and had been fed, so that I would get him at his best. This is the best piece of advice I could ever have been given and it is something that I will make sure I apply to any other shoot I do with babies. The picture I have uploaded of Harrison reflects how he was the whole time I was there; happy, smiley and content with the world – perfect!