FIVE TIPS on how to get great sibling photos at your newborn session! | Geelong Newborn Photos

We all know that once you have your second, third or fourth (and beyond!) child, the images of them together are priceless.

When you come into your newborn session, I know that you want that shot and how badly you do want it. But you’re worried the sibling(s) won’t behave, you’re already exhausted and you just want it over with.

We have to remember that this is a HUGE deal for little kids - mum and dad have their attention suddenly on this new baby, they are feeding and can’t cuddle them on demand, they are tired, routine might be out the window and so on.

Considering that, we then get them to lie down or sit with the new baby while everyone around them is staring at them (including me, the stranger) and telling them to smile. Most of them don’t even get to the lying down stage without some resistance!

Empathy is key here - what we’re asking them is hard on them. But here are a few things we CAN do to make it easier.

PREPARE AT HOME

The most common sibling shot is the one below, it’s gorgeous. It’s also the hardest, as it is intimidating for kids to lay down in front of a stranger with a giant camera pointed at them. So practice this at home, just get them to lie next to their sibling (not posed) and reward any good behaviour. Tell them this is what will happen at the session and what a great big sister/brother they are being!

Don’t force them into clothes they hate or have never worn before on the day. They don’t have to wear giant wiggle shirts but don’t buy them something they’ve never worn before and have them wear it for the first time at the session - pre prepare them for everything.

With girls especially, try and make sure their hair is styled in a way where we don’t have to adjust it much, as this will just stress them out. Make sure the clothes you choose don’t have big material around the arms that get in the way of their face when lying down.

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RELAX

I know telling you to relax won’t make it happen but do your best! Kids feed off your moods and if they sense you really really really want this shot, then they’ll really really really not want to do it!

Relax knowing that I have photographed hundreds of sibling/newborns together and there’s been a total of 2 in 8 years that didn’t happen.

Relax knowing that it’s completely NORMAL for them to not want to do it at first and that they are acting like every other kid their age in the same situation.

It’s very easy to escalate to “JUST DO IT” but trust me that it doesn’t help, it will only make them resist further.

Remember too that a lot fo the shots you see are not how they appear. I have used popcorn on a mum’s belly to get her son to kiss her on a maternity session, I have stuffed a chocolate bar under a pillow to get a toddler looking at his new baby brother! We have lots of little tricks!


LET THEM HAVE THEIR FAVOURITE TOY/BLANKET

Yep, it’d be nice to get a shot without any Thomas the Tank engine in their little hands but sometimes they really just do need the extra comfort in that shot. Often just letting them do that for the first few shots means they’ll warm up a little and realised it isn’t so scary, and then let me photograph them without it.


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FEED THEM and CUDDLE THEM.

Kids are notoriously terrible when they are hangry. Feed them WELL about 20 minutes before the session, in the car if you have to!

Spend the first few hours before the session cuddling them. This will make them feel calmer from the get go instead of watching you stress about getting ready.

I don’t mind if you are 10 minutes late, you have a new baby so I expect it! So relax while you get ready, give the sibling lots and lots of cuddles and make it a nice and stress feel drive here.


LET THEM HAVE THEIR OWN SPECIAL PHOTO

I’ve started letting the sibling have their own couple of shots or shots JUST with mum and dad (no baby) so they feel as included as possible. Girls especially seem to enjoy this, and with boys you let them have a photo with their favourite toy. Anything that gets them enjoying the experience is worth it!


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I hope these tips have helped and make you feel that it CAN be done as long as we all have some patience and understanding. We will definitely try our best!


Baby Maeve | Baby and Family Photos Geelong

Oh I loved this session! Those of you who know me know I love dogs so it’s always extra fun when I get to combine my love of photographing babies with their hairy canine siblings!

When Maeve’s mama contacted me she knew she wanted more of a lifestyle feel to the session so that the dogs could be part of it as well - and my simplicity sessions are perfect for those who want to come into the studio for those beautiful light and airy images but want more of a homely feel as well.

I get everyone to hang out on the bed, have some fun, and just basically chill out and soak it all in - this newborn bubble is so so brief.

The puppies did well too - and isn’t this an awesome way to get a complete family photo?

Leave them some love!

All about Newborn Photography | All about the Why?

Newborn Photography as a genre didn’t really take off until the Anne Geddes era in the 90s. While these images were new and garnered a lot of ‘oh look at that’, it didn’t translate to people getting their own sessions done.

Family sessions have been around for hundreds of years, since the first cameras, and wedding photography has been similarly just a ‘done thing’ - but newborn photography has only really taken off in the last 10 years or so.

It is curious that it has taken this long. Having a baby is the biggest life altering event that happens to most people. Marriages fail, families do break up, but you are always and forever a mum or dad after you’ve had a baby. Why would you not want to document

The first two weeks of becoming a parent are a blur of love, sleeplessness, fear, elation, confusion and pretty much every other adjective you can find. And it’s partly due to THIS that it is difficult to document the time yourself.


Reason #1 - You will forget a lot of it.

Yep you will. My son is 8 now and I now look back on the very minimal amount of photos I have from his newborn period with a strange kind of wonder and fervour. I don’t have many, but it’s like being able to look back on the birth of yourself as a mother and a different person and a different life. When I see the photos, the feelings come back so vividly and yet at the same time I can barely believe it is me!

Babies grow so quickly that the first month is a blur you won’t really remember to take photos of how tiny their feet were, how the slope of their nose was, the milk blister on their lip. And I’m telling you now, when they are at school and start to become gangly little primary school people, you will LAP THOSE PHOTOS UP.

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Reason 2 - Dads don’t always ‘get’ the value of photos.

I debated about putting this in, but for the most part it is true - unless prompted, many fathers generally won’t remember or think to take photos of you and your baby together.

So most of your photos with your life altering, magical new person will be selfies while you’re trying to wrangle a boob or a bottle and not fall asleep.

You will have even less chance of photos of the three of you together - because when the visits slow down from relatives meeting baby for the first time it IS just the three of you - so who is going to take the photo?

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Reason 3 - You’ll look better.

I know, not the deepest of reasons - but when I had my son it was 30 weeks of morning sickness, a 40 hour labour and 1 litre of blood lost. How do you think I looked!

Photographers know how to photograph you to make you look good - photoshop can smooth skin and good lighting and posing eliminates double chins and bags under eyes.

And here’s the main thing - you’ve probably seen a billion babies in your newsfeed, thought ‘oh how cute’ and moved on. But when it’s your baby, it’s a WHOLE other ball game. You get to see yourself looking at your new baby and falling in love, you get to see the connection with the other parent, you get to see your baby’s connection with them. It is so, so different, when it is your family. And yep, so much better than a snapchat filter with bunny ears.

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Reason 4 - Siblings, sibings, siblings

Every parent knows this annoying secret - kids generally behave better for other people than you.

So yep, the chances of us getting a beautiful newborn + sibling shot in the studio as opposed to you trying to wrangle your 2 year old to lay down on the bed - MUCH higher.

Enough said!

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