Photographing siblings at a newborn session can be tricky at times, especially if siblings are young. Toddlers don’t always want to sit still or may be shy in front of the camera. If there are multiple siblings that creates more energy in the room and can make posing a little more challenging with a delicate newborn. Mamas, though, want those sibling photos in order to remember this fleeting season with her newborn and older sister(s) or brother(s). Here are few tips for photographing siblings at a newborn session.
My newborn photography approach is lifestyle-based. I want my families to look at ease, comfortable, and filled with genuine emotion and connection. With that said, I always, always pose my families in order to achieve this look. With older siblings at a newborn session, I like to pose them first and get them situated, prior to placing baby in their arms. Even if they are too little to hold their new sibling, I still put them in the position I would like to photograph them. This keeps baby safe from their wiggly older sibling for a long period of time, and helps big brother or sister get situated before I place baby near them.
I love engaging with kids through games! My own kids listen much better when I make something into a game. Lay older siblings down and tell them they’re going to pretend to sleep while you place baby in their arms. When you’re in a good position and camera is ready, say “time to wake up!” This almost always guarantees smiles from big siblings! I also like to play the “no smile game.” I first ask kiddos to look at me with their calm, serious face. Then I say a phrase or silly word like “poopy meatballs!” which causes them to erupt with laughter! Making their newborn session fun, laid-back, and interactive brings out genuine personalities as opposed to asking big siblings to sit still and smile.
It’s a natural thing to ask children to sit still and smile for the camera. However, in my experience as a San Diego newborn photographer, giving children prompts and things to do, rather than a command to smile, captures much more beautifully on camera. It also keeps children engaged while you photograph them doting on their new baby. A few prompts I love to give older siblings are:
Can you look at baby and see what color his/her eyes are?
What does your new baby brother/sister feel like?
Is he/she soft?
What does baby smell like?
Can you give baby a kiss?
Photographing siblings at a newborn session can be a fun and enjoyable process for everyone! I truly believe that the best way to capture children is to first connect with them. Happy capturing!