The photos are taken in a little photo booth at the store. The stool is adjustable so you are at the right height for the picture, but apparently it is only intended for adults or older children. I started twisting the stool to make it taller for Benjamin, but had to stop when I could tell it was about to fall off. I twisted it back down a bit, and had him kneel on it instead. That was better, but he couldn't manage kneeling without moving up and down, up and down.
Once he was finally more or less situated, the machine runs v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y through its entire spiel of "dos and don'ts" of ID photos, complete with illustrations for each (do line up your eyes on this red dotted line, don't let your hairstyle extend above the photo, do take off your glasses, don't wear a hat, do keep your head inside this red oval, don't smile). Just try and keep a 4 1/2 year old still for all of that.
Finally it allowed us to take the picture, so I closed the curtain, reached in from outside to push the green button, all the while chanting, "Look at the TV, look at the TV." (Obviously that didn't quite work since he is looking down in his picture.)
Then I tried to peek back inside to be sure it was done, and I wouldn't accidentally end up on the photo myself. The machine told us the photo did not meet regulation standards, but we figured that was ok since it was for gymnastics, not their driver's licenses.
Rinse, repeat, with Noah.... this time, Frédéric had the brilliant idea to spin the stool all the way down so Noah could stand up on it instead. (Why didn't he think of that when it was Benjamin's turn?) Noah wasn't too sure about that since the stool was a little wobbly and spinny, but we convinced him that with one hand in Mommy's hand and one in Daddy's hand, he wouldn't fall off.
While trying to get Noah situated, I had to keep telling Benjamin to get OUT of the booth ("But I want to see Noah on the TV!") and we had to sit through the "dos and don'ts" monologue AGAIN, trying to convince Noah not to be scared of falling off the stool, and reminding him to look at the screen.
We were hoping to get Benjamin's passport photos in a US-passport-photo booth in Germany in December. I guess we will be rethinking that plan and going to the photographer near the embassy instead.