For parents, capturing the perfect picture of all of their children together is a dream come true! However, these images aren’t always the easiest to get as we are dealing with toddlers or children – so here are some helpful tips.
Children under the age of seven sometimes have a hard time adjusting to their new role as the big brother or sister. There seems to be around a two week period of time where the baby is new and exciting. After that, they typically want the new baby to go away. It’s often distressing to them when they realize the new baby is a permanent member of their household. Now, combine these distressed feelings with the expectation to both behave and stay still for pictures and the outcome is pretty much what you would expect.
Right around the point that you’ll be bringing in your new baby for their pictures, your older child will be struggling with the lack of one-on-one attention that they have been used to. The normal reaction once they get into the studio is to really act like goofballs. For however long they refuse to cooperate they get their parent’s undivided attention. It’s completely normal for them to act out, have more energy than normal, get a case of the giggles/sillies, and to out-right refuse to do what is asked of them. I have four littles of my own and am prepared to deal with this situation – bribes and all – so don’t worry!
Sometimes sibling shots just aren’t possible and that’s ok. As much as I know you want that perfect picture of your children together, it may not be achievable at that particular moment. Even if we get them to sit next to their new baby brother/sister, a picture with them crying isn’t what you want and it adds to their distress. In these situations it’s better to acknowledge that they aren’t comfortable and to move on. Scheduling a 30 minute session to come back and try again is a better idea than trying to force them to do something they just aren’t wanting to do. It’s also safer for everyone involved. Don’t feel like this one session is your only chance to get a picture of them together. We can work it out, I promise!
Your photographer is not judging your parenting based on your older child’s refusal to take pictures. I cannot stress this enough! So many parents just spend their session apologizing for their child’s behavior. The reality is their behavior isn’t abnormal or unexpected. As a mom myself, I’ve been there and it’s ok! They’re just little people trying to get a handle on very big emotions that they don’t understand. I’m not sure I would want to pose for pictures if my world had just been turned upside down and I was still trying to process the changes. I always do my best to talk with your children and to provide a comfortable environment for them. It’s also important to me that you enjoy your session. Please don’t stress over your child’s refusal to smile for a picture. It happens. A lot.
Now that we’ve talked about the possibilities, here are some things you can do to help the process:
1. Keep your expectations realistic based on the ages of your children. While we all want that perfect sibling shot, expecting a 2 year old to hold a newborn and also smile for the camera is a pretty tough task. I will definitely try my best to get that shot for you, but it just may not happen. We can still get special shots of hugs and kisses, their feet, holding hands, or other candid moments that I promise you will love! Children are so much more perceptive of our emotions than we give them credit for. The less stressed you are, the less stressed they will be. So try not to worry!
2. Talk to your kids before the session and let them know what to expect. Tell them my name and what you are coming to the studio for. It helps to let them think they are coming to participate, not just making the whole session about the new baby. Talking to them and preparing them for their pictures can often ease any stress they might have and will give them an understanding of the process.
3. A full newborn session lasts way too long for big brothers and sisters, so these shots will be done at the very beginning of the session. That portion lasts around 30 minutes typically. Plan to have dad or a grandparent take them to do something fun after their portion of the session is over. If this isn’t possible for your session, then both parents must be at your session, and once the sibling and family shots are finished, dad can take the older children to the park, for a walk, the local McDonalds, or simply for a drive around in the car.
4. Bring a favorite toy and/or snack. Something without color and that they can chew and swallow quickly is the best. Sometimes all it takes is offering a little bribe to get them to look at me and give that great big smile you know they can give.
5. Be as detailed as you can when answering my newborn session questionnaire, especially when it comes to the question about your older child(ren). It works wonders with a small child if I can discuss their favorite show, Disney character, or sing their favorite songs. Rather than just being some stranger with a camera I can be an instant friend (with a camera)!
Well that’s all I have for you! Every child has their own unique personality and I will always do my best to capture it for you. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to meeting you and your kiddos!
I have opened my calendar for bookings into 2016 with very limited availability! If you or someone you know is expecting, it’s best to book early! Booking early gives us time to plan a session together that you will truly love. Let’s work together to document this special time in your life!