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Capturing Sibling Love: Tips for Newborn Photo Sessions When an Older Sibling Needs Support

Newborn sessions can feel a lot like juggling. You are thinking about baby's safety, lighting, posing, encouraging your clients, and not to mention camera settings and checking your shots. It is A LOT! And if your client has an older child with a disability, it can be overwhelming! Luckily, I have been there and done that more than a few times so I can share everything I have learned!

These are some kiddos of one of my dearest clients and her oldest son, Titus, was born with a genetic condition that affects just about every aspect of his life. At the time of these photos, Titus could not sit up unassisted reliably so we used pillows and creative angles on my part to get him "upright." Then we brought in the twins and sweet little baby sister.

Anytime I am photographing someone who has a disability, I am very mindful of what would this pose look like if they were not disabled. In a sibling setting, the oldest child almost always is the one holding the baby. That was important to ME to make sure I kept that dynamic. There is something that melts a mamas soul when she sees her first baby hold her last baby and EVERY client deserves that. So while I knew Titus likely would not give his best smile since he was concentrating and working pretty hard to stabilize/balance himself--it was still a shot on my list. I also got another variation with a twin holding the baby so that I could get a good smile from Titus in a siblings set.

Another posing option would be a "rug shot" where kiddos are laying down and you photograph them from above. This can be a great (& safe!) option for big siblings are not quite ready to hold the baby. I do this by laying a bath rug from TJ Maxx (yes, really!) on the ground. This also makes it impossible for anyone to accidentally roll off or risk injury. Many big siblings also feel more comfortable interacting with the baby if it is a less pressure environment. Even at 2-years-old, "big" siblings can sense their parents' stress/pressure that often happens when a wiggly & unpredictable toddler holds a fragile newborn. I have experienced younger or more sensitive kiddos completely shutting down if asked to hold/touch the baby--so this is the perfect alternative that gets the effect of that snuggly sibling photo.

Did this help you formulate a plan for siblings success during your next newborn session? I cannot wait to see the memories you capture for your clients. Siblings sets are always a favorite for my clients!

All the Best,


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