How, Why and When: Photographing Newborns with Siblings

Jul 4, 2017

I love each and every newborn session that I do; each little baby is a little miracle and an absolute joy to capture. It really is quite magical when I meet clients for the first time with their first born. However, that said I have been fortunate enough to get the opportunity to catch up with several of my previous families (sometimes several times over) as they expand over the years. In these instances and with a number of new clients, families are almost always keen to include sibling shots.

I’ve put down a few thoughts to explain why I feel sibling photos are so wonderful to capture in addition to newborn photos and how I generally capture these in case you’re not yet quite sure whether this is something you’d like for your own newborn photoshoot yet.

Catching Up with Previous Clients

This is a personal thing that I love about photographing siblings – they are often a previous newborn client of mine! It’s a definite perk of the job that I get to see someone I photographed at 10 days old some years later. It’s a real delight and one of the many things I love about this job!

Additionally, as much as the session is primarily focussed around welcoming the new arrival, when it is a growing family, those family shots and sibling shots are also frequently top of the priority list for my clients.

Ensuring Siblings Feel Confident and at Ease

For me, it’s important to try to encourage the sibling to be at ease with me from the minute they walk in the door as it can be a little daunting for them! To make it as easy as possible for everyone involved too, I pre-plan every newborn and sibling shot to make the process seamless and fun, something I feel is so important in order to capture the best images.

I also consider the sibling’s age and capabilities, noting what they feel comfortable doing and what they do not. Ways in which I might do this include playing in front of the camera, joking and teasing in order to get them to relax and readily participate. Frequently my siblings are under 3 years old and as you can imagine it can still be quite scary for little ones to have a camera pointing at them! However by doing the above, by the end of the session they are usually wanting to help me out and are not bothered by the camera at all!

Interaction with their New Brother or Sister

Of all the shots I capture seeing siblings interact with their new brother or sister are among the most rewarding and a personal favourite. Often I see siblings smile, kiss and mischievously grin at their new playmate and this love is so beautiful to observe and, of course, photograph.

When siblings come along to the newborn photoshoot they can be a variety of ages. For the younger ones it can be a case of encouraging them to come near the newborn and look, kiss, touch, and generally look amazed at their new brother or sister. For slightly older siblings it can be possible to have them hold the newborn in their arms (always with an adult by their side for support) and directly interact with the little one. I love creating these type of sibling shots – always keeping them as natural as possible.

Capturing Sibling Photos

In summary, below are the main ways and reasons I see for taking sibling shots in addition to newborn photos (and photos with parents!):

  • Capturing a growing family (particularly if I have previously captured the sibling as a newborn) can be a wonderful way to cement some of the most precious times in that family’s life
  • Sibling shots are almost always a top priority for the parents and so also my priority to capture for them
  • One of the ways in which I capture natural sibling photos is by putting the sibling at ease and planning my shots to make them achievable and fun
  • I always aim to keep photos simple and natural and find these best convey the moment
  • Some of the sibling shots I frequently look to capture are the sibling either kissing, smiling or grinning at the new addition to the family

I cannot emphasise enough how gorgeous sibling photos can be! See some of my favourites below and if you’re looking to book a newborn session and capture some sibling photographs at the same time, I have sessions at the studio in Berkshire – you can view the gallery here.