While I haven’t even blogged most of my 2016 sessions yet, and this was my very first session of 2017, it’s the perfect one to share along with a few thoughts on how to have a great newborn session when there are already older children in the family! There is definitely a way to approach these sessions to get the most out of them and capture the entire family — not just the new baby. I really loved this session too — it happened the day after a big snowstorm, and it was the perfect time to spend the afternoon with baby Daniel and his family at home. Just look at him — he’s SO beautiful.
We were able to capture so much from this session, because we had a plan for how we’d get the images we were hoping for. Here are a few tips:
- Have someone (dad, or a grandparent) occupy the siblings while we capture images of just baby, and baby with mom. It will be much easier to calm the newborn if the siblings are busy in another room, and we’ll have the best chance of getting some of those sleepy baby shots. Also, if older siblings are feeling a little jealous (sometimes the case with toddlers and very young kids), it won’t be an issue that mom and dad are focusing so much on the baby.
In this case, Daniels’ grandmother was visiting from Ireland so it worked out perfectly to have her spend some time with the older children. I was able to capture some of that as well, while mom and baby took a break for a feeding.
2) Once we’re happy with the photos of baby, the older kids can join in for their time with their new sibling! These two were at such great ages, because they just loved having a new baby in the house and they were so gentle and eager to show off their baby brother.
3) Those older kids need time to shine on their own, too! I’m always sure to make time for some portraits of just them.
4) Don’t forget that some attention from mom and dad also goes a long way to making sure those older kiddos know how important they still are!
5) We always make time to get some photos of the whole family together. That should really go without saying! :)
6) When the pressure’s off, it’s a perfect time to capture some candids of the kids just being kids. Its also something for them to look forward to once they’ve done their parts for the more formal part of the session.
7) Most importantly though, (and this is the case with MOST sessions in general) everyone should be prepared to go with the flow. Sometimes baby doesn’t want to sleep right away, or it makes sense to get those whole family shots done first. I usually have a general plan in place before I arrive, and then assess how things might work best once I get there. If everyone can be flexible and patient (well, the adults — we can’t always expect that from kids!) then we have the best chance of capturing what we want to capture without things getting chaotic.
While newborn/siblings sessions can take the longest, and have the potential to go off the rails a little more so than other sessions; with a plan in place they are some of my most favorite. These sessions truly are a celebration of life itself, and I’m so lucky to be invited in to document it.
View more of my newborn portfolio here!
Cristen Farrell is a Boston Newborn Photographer. She specializes in natural light photography and travels all around the Andover MA, Merricmack Valley, Boston, and Metro West area for newborn, family, and childrens photography. Please contact her at email@example.com or the contact button above for more information.