As a Boston newborn photographer, one of the most rewarding experiences is capturing the joy and love between siblings and their new baby brother or sister. It is just so magical to see the beginning of what will assuredly be a lifelong bond.
However, photographing siblings with a newborn can be challenging. After years of experience, I’ve added to my arsenal of tips and tricks to keeping babies calm during their shoot. But I’ve also learned a thing or two about how to photograph their siblings at the same time.
Keep reading for what to expect when photographing siblings with a newborn and how you can have a successful family shoot.
Make sure your child has had a nap and a meal prior to their shoot. This is especially important for young children who may become cranky or uncooperative if they’re hungry or tired.
As a family and newborn photographer, I’ve learned that working with young children requires a great deal of patience and flexibility, but I know how hard it can be after you’ve had a new baby. So I tell parents to be prepared to take breaks during the session, switch up the poses, and even reschedule the photoshoot if necessary. We can always make it work!
This may seem like the most obvious tip because of course you want photos of not just baby, but the entire family during this special time in your lives. But involving the older sibling in the photoshoot can help them feel more comfortable and included. Ask them to hold the baby or kiss their forehead, or as they are adjusting to this new addition you can also have them interact with the baby in a natural way, such as playing with toys nearby.
While I love to pose my subjects, I find that some of the most memorable and heartwarming photos come from candid moments. I am always ready to capture the natural interactions between the siblings and the baby. These unplanned moments often make for the most cherished photos.
Safety should always be the top priority when photographing newborns and I make that a large focus of my shoot planning. Remember, the older siblings are still adjusting to life with a new baby in the home. Make sure that they know to be gentle and that someone is there to supervise them when holding or interacting with the baby as your photographer is working. For my clients I assure them that I always use props and poses that are safe and comfortable for the baby and anyone else involved in the shoot.
Photographing toddlers with a newborn can present its own unique set of challenges. Toddlers are typically very active and curious, and may not have the attention span or understanding to cooperate during the photoshoot. If you are scheduling your newborn shoot and also have a toddler, here are some additional tips for photographing siblings with a newborn:
Before the photoshoot, talk to your toddler about what to expect from the shoot and the unique ways that they can help out so they feel a part of the process. Explain that they will be taking pictures with their new baby brother or sister, and ask them to be gentle and patient. You can also show them pictures of newborns (even of themselves when they were a baby) to get them excited for the shoot!
Toddlers have a lot of energy and may not want to sit still for traditional posed shots. Try incorporating the toddler’s interests and activities into the photo shoot.
Props and distractions can be helpful in keeping toddlers engaged and focused during the photoshoot. While I have props in my studio to make your baby look absolutely adorable, you are always welcome to bring a sibling’s favorite toy or book as props, or play their favorite music to keep them entertained during the shoot.
As with any photoshoot involving young children, it’s important to be patient and flexible. I will never force your toddler to do anything they’re uncomfortable with and I don’t want you to either. We will get great shots, no matter what! I just always tell my clients to be prepared to take breaks or change up the plan if needed.
Again, safety should always be the top priority when photographing newborns and young children. I always make sure that the toddler is supervised and gentle when holding or interacting with the baby, and I will never use poses and props that pose a risk or make any of your children feel uncomfortable.
By following these tips and being patient and flexible, we will capture beautiful photos of your newborn and toddler together that you’ll cherish for years to come.
While we often think about toddlers as being hard to photograph, it’s not uncommon for older siblings to feel overwhelmed or upset during a newborn photoshoot, especially if they’re young or have never interacted with a newborn before. If your older child is crying or refusing to be in the photos with baby, here are some tips to help make the situation more comfortable for everyone involved:
If your older child is crying or upset, I will always suggest that we take a break from the photoshoot to give them some time to calm down and regroup. Then once they’re feeling better, we can try again. It’s important not to force them to participate if they’re not comfortable.
If your older child is refusing to hold or interact with the newborn, there are different ways to involve them without making them step outside that comfort zone. For example, you could ask them to stand next to the baby or hold a prop, or take photos as a family and have mom or dad hold the baby.
As I’ve mentioned, a new baby can be a big adjustment for older siblings, and it’s normal for them to feel a range of emotions. Be patient and understanding with your child, and don’t put too much pressure on them to participate if they’re not ready.
If your older child is still feeling uncomfortable or upset during the photo shoot, consider taking a more relaxed, lifestyle approach to the photos. This can involve capturing candid moments of the family together, rather than posed shots so the situation doesn’t feel as forced.
In the end, it’s important to remember that the priority during a newborn photoshoot is the safety and well-being of both baby and older siblings. Be patient, flexible, and understanding, and don’t push your child to do anything they’re not comfortable with. With time and patience, you can still capture beautiful and meaningful photos of your family together.
For more on how to prepare for your newborn photoshoot, click here for my tips. And if you are in the Boston area, make sure to review my newborn photography packages to learn more about my process for working with families to capture these special moments.