While your session is first and foremost a newborn portrait session, I know how important it is to have a sibling photo during this exciting time in your family’s journey. This became even more clear to me when I was pregnant with my second daughter and wanted more than anything to have a beautiful portrait of my girls together.
That said, it’s important that we understand the reality of sibling photos, particularly with children under the age of 4. Toddlers can be, well… unpredictable. Some siblings fall into their role as big brother or sister with ease, while others need some time to adjust and get comfortable with his huge lifestyle change.
My go-to sibling pose
Asking a toddler to pose for a photo, especially with this brand new baby that they’ve barely gotten to know, can be quite a challenge. The easiest and safest pose for siblings (particularly toddlers under the age of 4) is to have them lay on their back with baby either in their arms or lying next to them. Your newborn will be swaddled so that they stay relaxed and secure, allowing us to keep more attention on the older sibling.
This pose is done at the very beginning of the session so that older siblings don’t have to stay in the hot studio for 2-4 hours while I work with your newborn.
Tips for a successful sibling portrait
- Don’t plan for an outfit for your newborn, as they will be swaddled for this pose. This will help keep baby’s arms and legs in place, preventing flailing. It will also keep them feeling secure, comfortable, and (hopefully) asleep!
- Stay close. Especially if the older sibling is holding the newborn.
- Bribery can be a magical tool if necessary. Bring a small treat or maybe offer a fun trip to get ice cream or visit the park after the photoshoot as a reward.
- Is there a favorite song that your child loves? Sometimes pulling up a song on your phone (Baby Shark, anyone?) and holding it up directly next to my lens is enough to inspire a few moments of cooperation.
- Don’t push it. Forcing a toddler to do, well, anything can end up in tears. It’s important for parents to stay calm and positive during this part of the session.
- Be realistic. Sometimes your toddler will lay down, snuggle their new baby brother or sister, and give us that winning smile. Sometimes they’ll lay there and just look at the camera, not touching baby. And sometimes we just have to admit when the photo isn’t going to happen at all. In most cases we do get something on camera, but it’s important to be realistic about what to expect from a toddler.
I hope you found this post to be helpful, and I can’t wait to create something beautiful for you and your growing family!