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My daughter is almost a year old now, my how time has flown by. I want to cover how I took images of her with her older brother when she was a newborn. I will make another blog post on how I capture their relationship now that she’s older. Seeing their relationship grow has been such a highlight of being a mom! But capturing newborns with toddlers can be very difficult.
The key to these images is patience.
Putting a little disclaimer out there, my son listens very well for a two year old, but he’s still only two (at the time my daughter was a newborn). He sometimes doesn’t listen. He sometimes wants nothing to do with the camera. And I always try to respect that. Luckily I have a cute little daughter I can focus all my attention on now. But let’s get started with some tips and tricks to photographing newborns with their siblings.
check out my 10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers post
In all the photos of my son and daughter together, I always make sure that they are both safe by either being fairly close to them, or having someone close to them. Safety is always important when photographing small children and newborns. Never leave them alone together and never put them in a dangerous spot. Having a helping hand is sometimes a must to ensure the safety of our precious children. Please keep that in mind!
How to Take Pictures of Newborns With Their Siblings
Let’s dive in with some tips on how to take pictures of newborns with their siblings, as well as some posing tips.
how to pose newborns and their siblings
Posing can sometimes be challenging when it comes to newborns and their siblings. In my case, my son isn’t quite big enough to hold her, so I had to get a little creative. My favorite go-to pose was having them lay side by side. My son loved it that it wasn’t just him in a photo and he also loved getting his picture taken with his little sister. Some other ways to pose them include:
-laying the newborn on a bed and having the toddler kiss their face from behind (both kids are laying down)
-propping your toddler up using a couch and then letting them hold their newborn (can include pillows if the newborn is still to heavy for the toddler to hold)
-shooting down, having them both lay on their back
-get in the frame with them and hold them both
-put baby in a bassinet or crib and photograph the toddler peaking in on them
Pro Tip: It wouldn’t hurt to raise your aperture to at least a 4 when photographing toddlers and siblings together. Especially if they aren’t on the same focal plane and you want them both in focus. Be mindful of your depth of field and how to get them both in focus.
Sometimes the big sibling can be…excited and bounce around a lot and not want to sit still. When worse comes to worse…there’s always bribery! I mean that’s my last resort, trust me. But a toddler loves a little motivation by chocolate!
the children are in charge
You need to play it all by ear. Especially if this is a client session. If the children aren’t into it, but that camera down. Get the children interested. OR photograph them doing something else. It’s important to be flexible when it comes to photographing children.
If sibling isn’t into it, but newborn is totally fine, take a break from photographing sibling and just focus on the newborn. I guarantee that if you start focusing all of your attention on the sweet little bundle, that big sibling will be jealous and willing to get in a shot for you.
Pro Tip: Instead of saying, “Come lay down so I can take a picture of you” try saying, “Kiss your sister” or “Come hug brother”. When we make it about more than just picture taking, usually big sibling will get on board. When it’s fun and entertaining, the big kids want to participate.
capture natural interaction
Having the children lead in the interaction will result in some really cute shots. For me and my family, my son has loved being an older brother. But I know that some new older siblings are nervous about having a baby around or don’t want to hold them. They might be a little scared. So instead of hoping for that really cute, big sibling holding newborn shot, you could capture how it really is: new and scary! Don’t worry about the perfectly posed image. Some of my favorite shots of me when I was a newborn are the natural, candid shots.
Look for photo opportunities as they naturally unfold. Maybe you put baby down to play on their back and big sibling came and played with them. Maybe you’re changing the babies diaper and big sibling comes to help out. Maybe the newborn is crying and big sibling wants to comfort them. However these scenes naturally happen, be ready. Have your camera near by to capture these sweet moments.
capture just the newborn
I find that sometimes when I just focus all my attention on capturing the newborn, the older sibling always wants to join in the fun! They love attention, so if you’re not even paying attention to them, they might get jealous and try to hop in the frame. It works all the time for my son! If he sees that I’m taking pictures of my daughter, he wants to join in and even cooperates! I then can even sneak some images of just him.
So, focus on the newborn and your toddler might get interested in the process as well!
get in the frame with your newborn
I get it, you just gave birth. You might not feel like yourself. But these moments are so fleeting. And you will be so thankful that you jumped in the frame. Give yourself some grace since you did just give birth. But hopping in the frame with your children is one of the easiest ways to get all the kids in the shot with the newborn (and probably the safest as well!)
I have an excellent self portrait guide for you to read all about how you can hop in the frame with your children!
Most importantly, these moments of having a newborn in the house are fleeting. I know I had high expectations of the images I wanted to capture, but really, I had to give myself grace and remember that I needed to heal. Rest, heal, capture the little moments, but don’t get stressed about missing a shot!
Pro tip: hire a professional photographer to take these pictures of these fleeting times! It’s so relaxing to hire a photographer that you love and trust. I am a Southern Indiana Family and Newborn Photographer – if you’re in the area, look me up!
Alyssa (sometimes going by Aly) is a hobbyist photographer who loves to teach. Her love of photography started before she ever had any kids. Now a mom of two, she loves to photograph her kids, flowers, and landscape. She specializes in capturing her everyday life. She loves to teach fellow beginner photographers how to take control of their cameras and get the images they dream about getting.