4 Tips for lifestyle newborn sessions with 2 under 2
4 TIps for Lifestyle newborn sessions with 2 under 2
I always thought I’d have my kids close together, but then it just didn’t happen that way. Now I see parents with a bunch of littles and I just have a whole new level of respect. While newborn photos of #2 might be something parents know they want, there’s a good chance the idea is intimidating. Lifestyle sessions are actually PERFECT for families in this season, though, for a few reasons.
Here’s some of the ways that I approach a newborn session with 2 under 2 to keep the stress low and still create images that tell a piece of story.
At the beginning of a session, I’m a stranger in a strange time to toddlers. It’s important to start the session without being pushy.
I often take on an attitude of nonchalantly having my camera out and asking if the toddler can show me the baby’s room or their favorite toy. Wherever they take me is where we start shooting, even if it’s not ideal. Even if I don’t end up using any of the images. It’s about getting the kid’s buy-in.
In this lifestyle newborn session with a local Charlottesville family, the home was pretty dark and the rooms were tight, but the oldest daughter liked to feed baby her bottle in the nursery soooo, guess what we captured?! This was something special and something that felt normal that she was proud of, so it got everyone to relax and feel a ‘win’ right away.
My approach is always that the kids come first – they are the priority. I don’t believe in making photos happen at all costs – rather, I believe that when children are seen, heard, and feel valued, they will be able to engage happily and with their full personalities and great photos will flow from that.
Recognize when they need a break (or better yet, anticipate it)! Change the environment. Play a quick game. Invite mom and dad to read a book. Feed the baby. Change the diaper. Then make the photos.
It is not the family’s job to turn towards the right light or dip their shoulder in a more flattering angle – it’s their job to be in the moment. It’s my job to move into the right spots for the best angles, to direct them into areas that have great light, to help them feel relaxed so their smiles are natural and real. It’s my job to make instigate transitions, to adjust the blinds, to notice the details, to choose the right lens that will capture the moment … it’s my job to do the work so they don’t have to worry about it.
There’s a delicate balance to keeping a relaxed attitude and keeping the session moving. All my newborn sessions are less than 90 minutes, and more often, around an hour. That’s because while we do take lots of breaks, I shoot a lot in the transitions — during those breaks. The legit candid stuff. I also don’t labor over the shots I direct. Because I’m so confident with my camera, lighting, etc., once I’ve directed a family into a particular spot or interaction, I shoot through for a few moments and then we move on. I know when I’ve got the shot I’ve envisioned – or sometimes, when it’s just not going to happen and we need to try something else. Either way, there’s an intuitiveness that comes from experience that allows me to move quickly without feeling rushed.
break the ice with older kids and follow their lead
respond and anticipate cues of children’s needs
don’t make your clients wonder what they’re supposed to do – make it easy and do the work.
don’t rush, but don’t overshoot – get it and move on.