charlotte-newborn-photography | little miss b makes her debut! by Staci Noel

I loved loved loved this little munchkin!!! She was so precious and her little face was just divine! We even managed to get big brother in on a few shots and up the cuteness factor into overload! Seriously, this family was just gorgeous all together and I could feel the absolute adoration that both mom and dad felt when they held that sweet little miss and just took a moment to breath her in. Congratulations on your sweet baby girl and may you all be blessed with in joy and love!!!


Charlotte-Newborn-Photographer -Preparing Siblings for a Newborn Photo Shoot by Staci Noel

I get a lot of parents who are not only preparing for the whirlwind of having a new baby, but a lot of them are worried about how their older child is going to handle the transition into big brother or big sister. I know everyone wants that perfect picture of their new baby being held and snuggled by their older sibling and I do everything within my power to achieve that! As you can imagine, it's not always easy, but there are some things that parents can do ahead of time to help make the most of the sibling time during our newborn shoot.

  1. Siblings, especially very little ones, may not want to have anything to do with the new baby, and that is TOTALLY NORMAL! This is probably the most important point. In their mind, a tiny baby has invaded your family life, turning your world is upside down. Big brothers/sisters often feel insecure and neglected during those first days of having a newborn at home so if they think that this session is all about the baby (again!!) they may be resentful and uncooperative. I encourage parents to make them feel that the session is about THEM, first and foremost. I always make sure that I talk to big brother/sister first, introduce myself, chat a bit about the time we will be spending together…all  before I even lay eyes on the baby. Once they've had a chance to tell me about themselves, I will always ask big brother/sister if they would show me THEIR baby. Some of them are pleased to do so while others refuse, but I always give them the opportunity to introduce me. If they chose not to, that's totally fine too - I will go meet the baby on my own but I never force them.
  2. During the session, when siblings are around I try to engage them in what I’m doing, explaining what I'm doing, or asking advice.  “Do you think your baby would like it if we sang her a song? What's her favorite sone you sing her?”  “Oh, she is crying! What do you think she is trying to tell us?”
  3. Let them be. The key point to having siblings to cooperate in a newborn session is to always give them the choice. If they feel forced to do anything, they will probably do the opposite of what you want them to do. I know that parents fret over not being able to get the shot or worrying that their toddler is misbehaving or acting up - TAKE A BREATH, CALM DOWN AND DO NOT WORRY:) I don't give up that easily and you'll see as I continue to pull tricks out of my bag that there are lots of options to get what we need!
  4. I usually start with the siblings shots first, because big brothers/sisters are usually more cooperative at the beginning, but also because as I said previously I want them to feel that the session is about them. I always ask that we do siblings and family shots first so that Dad or Grandma or another adult can take the older sibling once we are done. That means that we aren't forcing them to sit around for hours on end and Mom can just relax.
  5. With that being said, I'm always prepared to break my own rules. If at the moment I thought I would do the siblings shots, big brother isn’t into it, I make sure that I don’t put any pressure on him. “No problem. You can go and play in the other room, and come back when you’re ready. In the meantime, I will take a few pictures of your sister”. Most of the time the option to be left aside while you’re focusing your attention on the baby is the best motivation to finally be in the picture. But it will be HIS choice, not yours.
  6. After a few pics, especially if the sibling is a young kid or a toddler, he will probably be done. Again, no pressure – let him leave the room, do his thing, and come back a bit later when he wants attention again. Having another adult available at that moment to play with him in another room is invaluable. It will be the perfect moment to do pictures of Mom or Dad (depending on who is playing with big brother at that moment) with the baby, or pictures of the baby alone.
  7. Safety first! When doing those siblings pictures, I always have baby’s security in mind. I will always position parents close by and many times with hands in the actual picture. I would much rather spend an hour cloning a hand out in Photoshop than ever put baby or sibling at risk. I also generally find that swaddling the baby for these shots is much safer because they are easier for little hands to hold.
  8. If a sibling absolutely refuses to have anything to do with the baby, and it has certainly happened to me, I find that years of Photoshop training are invaluable:) I have had to composite images together where toddler was by an empty basket and then baby was placed in the image digitally later. There are many ways to get the image without putting siblings or babies in precarious positions or through a massive temper tantrum. Worst case scenario, older siblings almost always cooperate if it's a whole family photo and they are able to be held by Mom or Dad along with the new baby.
  9. Bribing. I don't like to do it but I will sometimes resort to a bribe with a treat (non chocolate or sticky:) if we just need to get one more shot. I always ask parents approval beforehand. I don't think that bribes work very well unless they are immediately gratifying. I know sometimes parents like to promise an activity or a toy "later if you cooperate now", but I don't find that little minds are able to hold onto those promises when they are unhappy about cooperating in the moment. 
  10. Be Flexible! A newborn shoot is always a team effort and while working with toddlers and siblings is sometimes challenging, I've found that the key to success is to be flexible in how we work and also in our expectations. These little people are exactly that; small human beings who have feelings, wants, needs, good days, bad days, moods and emotions. I always want to treat them with care and respect for the space that they are occupying at any given moment.