Tips for Success with Toddler Siblings during your Newborn Session

May 22, 2019

So you are having your second baby and you want a perfect image of your two children together, but you are worried your two year old might have a different idea? You are not alone! Toddlers are a tricky bunch, but that’s why a professional with years of experience photographing the less than cooperative older sibling is so important.

Today I’m telling you what I need you as parents to do (and not to do) to help get that frame worth portrait of all your babies together.

proud big sister holds her new baby brother


Relax during your newborn session

Toddlers feed off the energy in the room and if the vibe is one of nerves and worry, they’ll know it and tend to act out. I don’t know exactly how many toddlers I’ve photographed in my career, but it’s in the hundreds. I have complete confidence in my ability to get “the shot” and I know your toddler won’t ruin my 100% success rate with this important image, and I want you to feel that same kind of confidence. If your child isn’t listening to my directions, that is completely normal and not something to worry about. We’ll either take a break or find a different way to coax/bribe/trick them into participating. I’m not going to make their behavior a big deal and I don’t want you to either.

Siblings looking at their new baby sister

Do not ask your child to smile for their picture

You want to know the best way to get a genuine, real smile from a 3 year old? I I promise you, it is not “say cheese”. That CHEESE smile is not the one that you want on your wall and its a really good way to halt cooperation in its tracks. I try to make taking pictures a fun game for toddlers and asking them to smile might remind them what we are really doing in the studio and send them running.

smiling big sister with her newborn brother

We use Bribes as a last resort

I know its really tempting to promise ice cream/getting to leave/cartoons if they would just sit still for a minute, but these types of bribes do not work on the under 4 set. If we move to bribes, it must be something that is immediate and doesn’t stop the portrait process. A tiny bite size snack is perfect. I keep organic fruit snacks and goldfish in the studio just for this purpose. I will always ask you first before giving them anything.

brothers kissing baby

When all else fails, there is Photoshop

I can count on 1 hand how many times it has come down to this, but I do have this in my tool box when all else fails. So long as there is 1 good image of your toddler (which there always, always is!) we can do a little photoshop magic to create an image of the two of them together.


Curly headed girl touches baby sisters fingers

If you are a mama of 2+ (I am too!) I know that a sibling shot will be at the top of your wish list. Follow these tips and I promise we’ll make some magic happen with all the new big brothers and sisters!¬†Want to see a complete newborn session featuring a proud big sister and her new baby. Click over here to take a look!

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