As a Halifax newborn photographer, I’ve seen it all when it comes to how siblings react to me coming into their homes to photograph their new baby sister or brother. Those first few weeks of bringing a new baby home can be stressful, not only for parents but for siblings too. Then bring a photographer into the mix and it can result in many different reactions!
Some of the most common reactions are:
Having a tantrum
Being my best friend
Fear not. I have two small children of my own, so I know what it’s like and I come prepared for anything!
Here are 5 things to know when photographing siblings at a newborn session!
1. Manage your expectations
I will try my very hardest to get that picture for grandma of everyone sitting, looking at the camera and smiling. Truth be told, I haven’t had a session yet where I haven’t been able to get one. However, it can be a challenge depending on the children. Ensure that you are going into the session with the mindset that you are working with a young child and a newborn – who have just recently met each other for the first time. Plan on having me capture the more candid moments. We will invite the older sibling to snuggle with the baby but if they don’t want anything to do with it, that’s ok too. Often, if we move on to something else, big brother or sister will make their way over on their own time. I want to capture for you what life is like at this moment. Embrace the craziness.
2. Plan to play
Older siblings often engage with me best if we play. So don’t be surprised if you find me sitting on the floor checking out your child’s favourite toys with them or having a deep conversation about their favourite food. I’ve also been known to play peek-a-boo to capture those great smiles, and the camera is the perfect thing to hide behind!
It’s also good to note that older siblings can (and probably should) go off and play when they aren’t being photographed. If I’m taking photos of one parent and baby, the other parent can go amuse the sibling. It can be a little tricky when photographing both parents with the baby and the sibling wants in the pictures too (because by that time they are my best friend and all pictures must be of them!), but we always figure it out!
3. Go with the flow
This ties in closely with managing your expectations! Early in my photography career I would go into a newborn session with a flow in mind of how things would work. First family shot, then mom and baby, then dad and baby, then sibling and baby, then baby portraits. I quickly realized that I needed to go into sessions with a much more open mindset, prepared to do baby portraits first if they were sleepy when I arrived, and I may need to do sibling shots in the middle, if that was when they were around and feeling like having their picture taken! Remember that the magic happens in the relaxed and natural moments, so go into your session prepared to take things as they come. Which brings me to point #4, relax!
This one speaks for itself. Children have a sixth sense to pick up on when their parents are the least little bit stressed out or anxious. Do your very best to relax, take things as they come and take comfort in knowing you have a photographer who is great with kids!
5. I won’t judge you.
I must add this one in at the end because so often parents apologize to me. Apologize for a ‘messy house’ or a toddler who won’t sit still or a husband who wanders off. Just know this, I won’t judge you. We are all in the same boat. I have likely just left my own house with a toddler running around without pants on and a four-year-old screaming for more snacks. I get it. I am your tribe. I’m not only your photographer but I can help get everyone in the same room, or hold your baby while you help your toddler get his shirt on, and I can even go find your husband and promise him this will only take a few more minutes.
The bottom line with all of this? How the session will go largely depends on how you react to the situation. If you have reasonable expectations, go with the flow and keep calm, you will have a session where I capture real, authentic moments and document your family, who you are in this moment, with all the magic that includes.
If you are interested in learning more about what a session with Emily Grace Photography is like, please check out my family session page here.
If you have questions or would like to book a session, please contact me here!