Many people say to me, “Oh, you photograph newborns?! That must be so easy, all they do is sleep!” hahahahaha. hahahaha. hahahahaha. no. Photographing newborns with a sibling, now that’s a whole new level of tricky!
Newborns come in all different sizes and moods, so right off the bat I have to have multiple back up plans for unwrapped set ups. Even the sleepiest of newborns can be difficult to get posed, settled, fingers relaxed, face at a flattering angle, etc. With newborn photography, the devil is in the details, things that seem insignificant can absolutely make or break an image. Ok, so you finally get the pose right, the head is at the right angle, the body looks good, it’s looking like a professional shot, yay! All newborn photographers know that this can take like 15 or 20 minutes to get them ready to get the money shot! I sometimes pose and soothe and adjust and readjust for that long before I take maybe 5 shots of the baby. Once they are settled in to the general pose you want, it’s time to check the details. Are the fingers as flat as they can get and relaxed looking? Is the mouth closed and the lips are in a flattering position? Are both eyes closed? Is one still open a teeny bit? Are any accessories styled just right? Can you see up the baby’s nose? Oh no! They just startled out of the pose, back to square one. Y’all get the picture, this is a game of speed but also patience, art and angles, technical photography skills and newborn soothing skills. It ain’t easy.
Guess what?! Now we get to add in a toddler sibling who wants nothing to do with this organized photo shoot, haha! You know how I mentioned speed, yeah, you better be on your A game, because toddlers are toddlers! What helps me a ton is having a bed in the studio. Kids are used to being on beds, it’s not as strange as posing on seamless or laying down on the rug. This is a great place to start. I like to wrap the baby in a simple wrap and place them on the bed. I get what I call “safe shots” to make sure the baby looks awesome in case I have to photoshop a composite of multiple images together in post processing. We then place the sibling sitting behind them, we start with peek a boo and some other silly things to hopefully get a nice smile or at least eye contact with the camera. After that, if it’s still going ok and they haven’t screamed or run off, I try and have them connect with the baby, kiss the baby, touch the baby, grab a piece of candy off their head, whatever we can do to get a sweet moment! If the sibling was successful on the bed, we move to either the flokati rug pose from up above or maybe a seated pose on a solid backdrop. I just have to go with the way the sibling is responding to me, the newborn and the whole situation. I do find that wrapped newborns are the best way to get sibling shots, there are no baby arms or legs to mess with and they are much easier to hold and will typically fall asleep quickly in a wrap.
This is the fastest part of a session, toddlers and young kids have zero patience, so moving at lightning speed is key. When they are all done, we have lots of candy and snacks and a treasure box full of fun surprises, so bribery is always encouraged!
Just know, when you hire me to photograph your precious new baby, you are getting a mom of 4 kids, 8 years of newborn photography experience, hundreds of newborns photographed, an assistant with 6 years of newborn experience being trained by little old me, and an expert in this field, toot toot on my own horn.