3 year old Annabelle came along to her session with brand new sis Elodie at just 2 days old. Miss Annabelle came to see me for her first portraits almost 4 years ago and I couldn't wait to shoot her baby sisters newborn photos when mum contacted me (pretty much the day she found out she was expecting!) I'm so in love with these girls and the colours mum chose for their session.
When it comes to photographing newborns and older children together, my heart definitely goes to natural, unposed images. So I am always thrilled when a client contacts me for a newborn shoot and mentions that there will be siblings involved as capturing interaction and emotion is my absolute favourite thing.
But a session photographing a brand new big brother or sister comes with its own set of challenges so I try to be well prepared. When a tiny baby is invading your family life, your world is upside down. Big brothers/sisters often feel insecure and neglected during those first days of having a newborn at home so if they think that this session is all about the baby (again!!) they may be resentful and uncooperative.
So as soon as the children enter the studio, my goal is to make them feel that the session is about THEM, first and foremost. I always make sure that I talk to big brother/sister first, introduce myself, chat a bit about the time we will be spending together…all before I even lay eyes on the baby. Once the ice is broken, I will always ask big brother/sister if they would show me the baby. Some of them are pleased to do so while others refuse, but I always give them the opportunity to introduce me to “their” baby. If they chose not to, I never insist and go meet the newborn on my own.
During the session, when siblings are around I will always engage them in what I’m doing, explaining my every move, or asking advice. “Do you think your little sister would like it if we sang her a song?”, “Oh, she is crying! What do you think she is trying to tell us?”
I also love to ask them if they have their own ideas about the shoot. When I said to Annabelle “Let’s take a picture of you and your little sister.....what should we do?” she immediately suggested that we lie down...with daddy too!