How To Photograph Newborn Sessions With Older Siblings
when i first started accepting newborn clients, i found myself intimidated when they told me they had other children in addition to their newborn. i found myself stressing about how i would incorporate everyone into the session equally and, to be honest, how i would get everyone to cooperate all at the same time. fast forward to today, i have taken on so many newborn clients with older siblings and they are now my favorite session to photograph. with a little thought and preparation, newborns and older siblings can create some of the most honest and beautiful pictures. let me show you how to photograph newborn sessions with older siblings so you are more confident for your next session.
do the siblings have you stressing? check out my 10 tips for photographing newborns with siblings to get you started.
How To Photograph Newborn Sessions With Older Siblings
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1. Let Them Know You Care
try to remember one thing about older siblings of newborns…they are brand new to the role. i usually photograph my newborn clients within the first 2-3 weeks after birth, making these older siblings brand new big brothers or sisters. they are still adjusting to their new role and the fact that they now have to share their parents with this tiny little being. that being said, let them know you care. show the older sibling some attention first and foremost once you arrive at their home. while your first reaction may be to gush over the newborn, take some time giving the older sibling your attention first so they feel important. ask them to show you their house or their room and make them feel important too. this will help you once it’s time to pick up your camera and for them to cooperate for pictures, because they will love you for it.
2. Let Them Have The Spotlight, Too
again, they are starting to get the picture that it’s all about the baby, so let the older siblings know the session is about them too. have the parents look at their oldest child and cuddle them, throughout the session. this helps ensure that the older sibling feels involved and that they are in the spotlight, too. i love having parents go back and forth between looking at their oldest child and looking at their newborn, it helps create some genuine portraits.
3. Encourage Them To Get Close
when most photographers worry about how to photograph newborn sessions with siblings, their biggest concern is getting everyone in the frame at once. for me, this is the easiest part. just make sure everyone is close and encourage touch. everyone should be touching in some way, whether it is an arm around the shoulder or an older sibling gently tickling newborn toes. touch also encourages honesty and helps clients relax, which can help create honest portraits. start off by having the parents sit close to one another and then place the children around or on them to encourage close interaction.
4. Baby Kisses
it’s important to ask the parents if they are comfortable with their older sibling kissing their newborn. some parents are totally okay with it, while other parents may be hesitant so be sure to ask before attempting this type of photo. if the parents are fine with it, ask the older sibling to gently kiss their baby brother or sister on the nose. you could also tell them to touch their nose to the baby’s nose or, if the parents would like more distance, to kiss the baby’s toes. be sure to have your camera ready to document the moment, it’s going to be a photo your clients cherish forever. i like to use my sigma art 24mm f/1.4 lens for this photo, as it allows me to get more of the family within the frame while using a lower aperture to showcase the siblings primarily.
5. Go With the Flow
as hard as it sounds, be sure to sit back and allow the siblings to be themselves and do their thing. in the photo above, the older boy was off having a snack while i took the opportunity to get some individual portraits of the baby in the crib. before i knew it, this sweet little hand was sneaking into the crib to check on the baby. because i was ready and willing to let the moment happen, this photo contains an honest moment between brothers that is so beautiful. as photographers, we tend to arrive at sessions with a list of photos we want to take in our minds. while it’s important to get those initial photos, it’s also important that we stay aware of our surroundings and allow moments to play out. those are the moments that make the best photos.
6. Allow Time For Breaks
the best advice for how to photograph newborn sessions with older siblings is to begin the session with any photos that include the sibling, first and foremost. if i know there are older siblings, i begin my session with the family portrait and any photos of the older sibling with the newborn first. i do this because, while older siblings really love you and are willing to cooperate in the beginning, that quickly vanishes and they become disinterested after about 15 minutes. i like to get the older siblings photographed first so they are free to play during the rest of the session. for the siblings who like to participate throughout the session, be sure to build in natural breaks for them to have a snack so they stay energized. have dad feed them a snack while you photograph mom and the baby, or vice versa.
learning how to photograph newborn sessions with older siblings is something that comes with experience. while it can be intimidating at first, look at it as an opportunity to photograph really genuine photos. be sure to stay patient and understanding, as older siblings are going through a very new experience with their newborn brother and sister. and if something is not working, allow the older sibling to take a snack break and try again later. sometimes a little time away from the camera is just what they need.
do you have any tips on how to photograph newborn sessions with older siblings? be sure to leave your insight in the comments section below, i would love to learn what works for you!
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