Julie Kulbago Photography is a nationally published photographer who is trained in newborn safety practices and has mastered the technical knowledge & experience to use advanced photoshop techniques to capture challenging poses safely.
Her full service boutique photography studio works with families to capture fleeting moments so they last a lifetime. Let’s plan your perfect session!
This is another family I have worked with since they were expecting their first child! It feels like yesterday when I was photographing their maternity session and their first newborn session. When we did their first session it was all focused on being a new family and what it means to have a baby . . . and like all first baby sessions, baby was the center of the day!!
Now, two and half years later, they have 2 kids and bringing a new baby into a family is a little different! Introducing a big sibling to their new baby is a HUGE deal. Therefore, I thought I would share my favorite tips for getting those desired sibling shots!
Being able to take adorable sibling images starts long before you pose the kids and lift your camera. From the moment my clients contact me, I set their expectations of what to expect based on their older children’s ages. You can not expect a 2 year old to smile for 30 sibling images . . . it’s NOT going to happen! With 2 year olds, I am happy to get them next to their new sibling. After all, their little world has just been turned upside down and then a few weeks later we are asking them to sit and smile with this little person who they aren’t too sure of! The best thing you can do is let parents know not to put too much pressure on big siblings. Kids can feel that pressure and there is the best way to lose cooperation is to force it!
As soon as a family walks into my studio, I greet them, greet the big sibling and then ask them to introduce me to “their new baby”. So many people walk in and focus on the new baby and that makes older siblings feel invisible and displaced. I talk to the toddler (from a safe distance because you don’t want to overwhelm them), ask how they are doing, what’s the baby’s name etc. Having a small gift for older siblings also goes a very long way!
As with most things that relate to newborn photography, baby’s safety should ALWAYS be at the forefront of your mind. Above all things, safety needs to be your number one priority- – above getting the shot, above getting a full gallery, above getting a bunch of likes on Facebook or Instagram. These are tiny humans that you are working with. Each baby needs to be handled with extreme care. When working with siblings, you have to be extra careful. Toddlers and young kids aren’t exactly predictable!
First off, I ALWAYS swaddle the newborn during sibling shots. A swaddled newborn is much easier to hold! Also, I photograph siblings on the bed a lot. The bed provides a “barrier” for younger kids who may try to escape. It’s also a soft place to lay baby if the older sibling can’t hold baby but just wants to sit or lay nearby. Don’t have a bed? You can fake it with either a futon or air mattress! Always make sure that Mom or Dad is standing right next to them at every moment.
Holding the baby is not the only option. You can pose the baby alone, safely laying on the bed, and let the siblings find their place around him/her. These images are always adorable and totally unplanned. Having mom hold the baby is another great way to get siblings close to the new addition.
Laying baby on pillow also makes them much easier to hold. With kids who are less than 4 this is my go to shot
This is huge, I am a big advocate of a workflow but with siblings you have got to be flexible. If big sibling is into it then we keep shooting, if they are getting antsy or grouchy then I let them take a break and shoot parent shots. Letting them feel like they are in charge will go a long way towards getting cooperation. Asking them if they want to sit with their sister or lay with her. Asking if they want to be on the couch or floor. Let them feel in control and you will get cooperation! Similarly, while I have boutique dresses for my clients, this little girl wanted nothing do do with them so we just let her rock the dress she came in. Had we forced the issue we would not have had any cooperation! Later, mom asked her to look at the dresses and she decided that she did want to match her mom! Towards the end of the sibling/family images she was also “done”. I wanted to get a few more family images and the only way to do that was to have her pet tiger in the picture. That’s what flexibility is about. And you know what? In 20 years they will look back on this image and remember how attached she was to it!
Composites save me so much stress and help me get more images than I normally would! It is far better to spend some time cloning a parent’s hand out of the pictures in post-processing than to take any risk of baby slipping or getting bumped.
In order to keep baby super safe I had dad keep his hand on the newborn. I also took a shot of the wheelbarrow (with no baby in it without the dad there) and combined the two.
After this image, baby was starting to fuss, so we pulled her out and kept going!
Composite baby back in and you get this!
I hope these tips help you rock your next newborn session!
And because I can’t do a post without showing how cute baby sister was . . . here are her images!
What else do you want to learn? Leave a comment and I am happy to talk about it!