firefly photography

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January 11, 2022

Tips for newborn photos with siblings

tips for newborn photos with siblings by charlottesville photographer

Parents have lots of concerns when it comes to lifestyle newborn sessions. What to wear, the state of their “non-instagrammable-looking” home, and more than anything, how do you handle newborn photos with siblings?

Some of the comments I’ve heard regularly from parents leading up to a newborn photography session at home are:

  • “She hates pictures, so we’ll be happy if she even engages at all.”
  • “He is pretty wild – good luck getting him to sit still!” 
  • “She really wants nothing to do with the baby”

The great news is, by simply scheduling your newborn photos to be in the home, you’re already setting yourself up for success.

tips for newborn photos with siblings

Tips and tricks for newborn photos with siblings

1. The “anything but this” toddler

newborn photos with sibling girls in nursery

The first 5 minutes of this session were calm and glorious. We photographed in the nursery, which was a tight fit with just one window, but we got some sweet moments of the girls together and of the baby by herself.

Then it broke down. Sweet toddler girl wanted nothing to do with me or anyone. 

newborn photos with sibling and family at home, charlottesville va

I ended up getting one set of everyone together by keeping bunny grahams in my pocket and making them hop out to surprise her.

We did breakdowns of baby with each parent (ah those serene moments) while the other parent took one for the team and fielded the tantrums.

newborn photos at home, charlottesville va

Finally, a change of scenery outside was a game-changer. There’s always something you can do. When asked at the end if she had fun, big sis said “YEA!” with enthusiasm.

poses for newborn session with siblings

2. The Jumping Bean

Best news ever – I will never make your kid sit still or “smile big.”

In fact, I’ve found that doing the opposite often leads to family engagement much more authentically.

This little lady was a jumping bean, so we alternated between letting her do silly things, and countering it with prompts like “go tell your brother where you’re going to jump next!”

newborn photographer in charlottesville, poses and games for newborn photos with sibling

For the 2 minutes we got her to catch her breath, I conveniently laid brother beside her and gave her challenges – “can you kiss his ear!?” “can you kiss his forehead soooo soft he doesn’t even feel it!?”

Simply by lowering my voice to a whisper, I often can get even the rowdiest kids to lean in for some gentler moments.

charlottesville newborn photographer for home newborn photos with sibling

Bonus challenge for this session – it all took place in one room. The family was moving to a new state that week and their entire house was upended aside from this spot.

3. What baby?

When there are several kids close together in age, a newborn session with siblings gets even more interesting.

Siblings might be interested in the baby for a brief second, but really, it’s all a competition for parental attention.

The good news is that I don’t need them to be interested in the baby to make photos that have warmth and tenderness.

I just need parents who are interested in playing with and loving on their kids! (and that’s you, I know it!!)

newborn photos with 2 siblings in kitchen sink

4. The baby tank (and other baby-related challenges)

This little newborn girl was nursing for about 75% of the session.

We made beautiful photos of that interaction, but I was also able to make fun portraits of the other siblings while the newborn and mama were busy!

newborn session at home with 3 sisters, charlottesville newborn photographer

The older girls literally got out Guess Who to play on the bed in the middle of the session because baby was just nursing non-stop, so we just rolled with it and those are some of my favorite shots!

3 sisters laying on bed, newborn photos with siblings
ideas for managing newborn photos with siblings

In-between feeding, baby was often crying– likely because we needed her to stop eating for at least a few seconds… but we were still able to get lots of really special, intimate, and fun images that speak to the heart of this family’s dynamic. 

fun poses for family of 5 in newborn photos with siblings at home

Are you pregnant with number 2? (3, 4, or 5?!)

If you’re pregnant and have older kids but still want newborn photos that give you the feels (but not all the stress), I’m your girl.

If you have older kids who make you think “there’s no way they’d go for this…” HI, also here for that.

Families are my heart and soul. Every kind and every way. You deserve photos that bring you back to a place of love, even on the hard days. Let’s make it happen together.

Reach out here to plan your newborn photos with me in Charlottesville!

you might also like:

The Alternative to a Cake Smash Session

4 Tips for lifestyle newborn sessions with 2 under 2

Maternity photos at home