Once of my most requested images by parents of more than one child are sibling photos. When a new baby arrives, parents are typically excited to be able to capture photographs of their children together. Be warned though – depending on the age and personality of your older child/children, sibling photos are probably some of the most difficult images to get. Never fear though! By following some of my tips you have a much better chance of success. Here are my top tips for success when photographing siblings:
Tip # 1: Always do sibling photos first
Sibling photos are always the first images I attempt – especially when siblings are aged 3 and under. I find that they’re usually at their best when they’ve just arrived at my studio as they’re still getting familiar with the new environment and boredom hasn’t yet set in. For this reason I like to get the sibling photo done first and then I move on to the family group shots. After these images are done the sibling isn’t required for any more photos during the newborn session. I always encourage my clients to have either Dad or another family member/friend take them out to a local cafe or home for the remainder of the session.
Tip #2: Build a rapport with them as soon as they walk in the door
My main focus when I’m meeting new clients is getting to know the older sibling as soon as they come in to my studio. I take the time to get down to their level and try to engage them. Maybe I ask them about their new baby brother or sister, or ask about something they’re interested in. I take the time to get to know their personality – whether they are shy or more outgoing – and use this to gauge how to interact with them for the session and what might work best for photos. You can usually tell quite quickly how mature they are and whether you’re going to have an easy or more difficult time in getting the sibling shots.
Tip #3: Take your time and be respectful
Siblings are little people – not robots. We need to show them respect and take our time. Some might be slower to warm up to us, some might not like to take photos, some might be struggling with lots of big emotions. It can be easy for us as adults to forget that these little people are going through a big change to their home life with the addition of a new brother or sister. We need to take our time, be patient with them and show the respect of listening.
Tip #4: Always do safe sibling images
As a photographer there are different sibling poses that you may want to do for your clients. You should always err on the side of caution when deciding what images you should attempt – especially when the older sibling is under 3. I always start with an easier pose such as laying down next to each other on a flokati rug and move on to more complex posing only if I feel that the sibling is capable. Always have a parent sitting just out of shot as an additional set of hands should anything go awry.
Tip #5: Genuine laughs make the best expressions
There’s nothing worse than a young child who does the “cheese” smile. As photographers what we are wanting are genuine expressions in our images. Talk to your young clients and try to make them laugh. I have been known to tickle, make silly faces and noises – anything to get the shot!
I hope that some of these tips help you in capturing some beautiful sibling photos!
If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy: The Top 5 Myths About Being a Baby Photographer