Your family has added another member, and it’s so important to capture this moment in your lives! Newborn photos are a great way to get new portrait of the whole family, including any older siblings. But it can sometimes be a challenge for parents to encourage toddlers to cooperate during the photo session. That’s why I put together these five tips for including older siblings in your newborn shoot.
Give them time in the spotlight.
An older sibling of a newborn has often just become an older sibling, which means they’re still getting used to having a baby in the house. They may feel that their parents don’t pay as much attention to them with all the needs of their new sibling. Take time to make sure your older kids feel involved in the photo session, both in photos with your new baby and photos of the whole family together. Your newborn session is a great way to let older siblings know that it’s not just about your new addition, but about your growth as a family.
Encourage them to snuggle up.
Your older child may feel unsure or uncomfortable around the new baby, and that might be true during your newborn photo session. Everyone wants photos of the older sibling holding, kissing, or snuggling the new baby. Encourage them, but don't force them, to gently touch the newborn and to get close. One of my favorite siblings photos was of a little girl who would only smell her new brother and refused to touch him in anyway!
Let them do their own thing.
One of the most important things is not to force your older child to participate in the session. The last thing you want is a tantrum or a grumpy face in your photos! Instead, encourage them to participate without forcing them. You may be surprised how much they enjoy being involved on their own, and giving your older child space to explore and relax can result in more natural, genuine images of your family. I will also give them directions that might not make sense to you the parents, but can get them close to the baby without them realizing they are posing for a photo.
Make time for breaks.
I will always do the photos with the older sibling first, so they don’t get bored and agitated as the session goes on. After they have had their time in front of the camera it would be great if they could leave with a family member or with a babysitter. If not have some snacks handy for older siblings (avoid things that will color their mouth or leave lots of residue on their teeth), and give them a chance to step away from the camera and just play for a little while. Please don't bribe them with food during the session.
This can be a little tricky and can backfire. I'd suggest not using it since it can sometimes cause more problems than it can solve. But with your permission, I have found that if I am allowed to bribe them with some Smarties (small little sugar candies with little or no color to them) I can get them to focus on me.