It’s very natural to want to include siblings in a newborn photo shoot and of course it’s not a problem – you’re a bigger family now and everyone absolutely should be included.
How we successfully accomplish it though does vary according to a number of factors.
This is probably the first thing to consider as it greatly affects how sibling photos will go. If you have a big brother or sister who is still pretty little themselves – say three or under – it’s not a great idea to have them there throughout the session. It’s a very boring place for them and there is nowhere for them to play. Once they’ve got bored, they’re extremely unlikely to play along with having pictures taken with the newest family member and we all know what a two year old gets like once they’ve said no to something. There really is little option to un-ring the bell!
I’m not going to lie to you – there is absolutely no guarantee that I’ll be able to get sibling photos when we’re dealing with a two / three year old. It’s a tricky age. However, what I’ve found over the years is that, the best way to accomplish happy brother and sister photos is to get dropped off with your new arrival and then have your older child come along an hour or so later. We don’t do those photos at the start of the session as, although that would be easier from a scheduling point of view, I have no way of knowing how your newborn will settle into their session and if they need a little longer, your older child will already have had to sit there for a while and we run the risk of hitting the bored zone either way. So we make sure that both parties have mobile phones so you can stay in touch and let the person with the older child know how things are going – that way we can adjust timings as needed so they arrive when your newborn is settled and the whole situation is new and exciting.
This kind of ties into age really but obviously when your older child is still small themselves, it’s not always possible for them to support your newborn either safely or in a way that means you’re going to see them properly when I take a photo. So in these cases, we take the photos while they’re both lying down – that way no-one gets their nerves tested! To be able to support a newborn for a photo, they need to be able to hold them without balling them up too much and without using extra cushions for support – although I do have a big chair that we can use if they’re nearly there as that offers a degree of support.
My Saturdays in the studio tend to get busy and so it’s not always possible to arrange for newborn photo shoots at the weekend when your school age children are free. The other issue to bear in mind is that newborn photo shoots get less and less successful as the day progresses and we approach the newborn evening witching hour. For this reason, I don’t take after school bookings. Obviously this gives you an issue when you have school age children that you want to be part of your session. So here’s the solution – we split the session. So you come along with your newborn for photos roughly when they are week old at the recommended start time of 10.30 or so. These are long sessions but I can always make them work within the calendar (as long as you’ve booked while you’re still pregnant. If you haven’t, I’ll sure do my best but it just isn’t always possible). Then we pick a weekend that works for all of us for you to pop in for half an hour to get family and sibling pictures – these aren’t so time critical as the newborn images and so it doesn’t really matter if we take a couple of weeks to get a slot in the calendar. The second session is super short and sweet as we are just focused on the one thing – easy breezy and we have both sets of images for your gallery.
Of course, I’m always happy to be flexible and I’ll work to accommodate you when I can in terms of both the styling and timing of your session so just get in touch if you have questions!