Newborn Poses with Siblings – 5 Things to Try

Photographing newborns with siblings can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are a new photographer or a DIY mom taking photos of your own little ones. Of course, all children are different. Older siblings above the age of five generally take directions much better, while the younger ones will make us run for the hills. As any mom or photographer knows, photographing toddlers is a whirlwind of emotions, frustrations, coercing and bribery to get them to cooperate. Add a baby into the mix and you are tempting a LOT of things; your patience, sanity, and your will to photograph children sometimes. There are still quite a few newborn poses with siblings that you can try,

For this article, I will be discussing my favorite ways to pose newborns with younger siblings from a professional standpoint. For me, safety is paramount, you will see this point discussed throughout, and how we can achieve and ensure the safety of our littlest clients in a variety of sibling photos. While posing a newborn with siblings, it is important to still have a spotter near baby for anything that could potentially happen.

Planning a newborn photo session with siblings

As part of our planning process, I will talk parents through the unpredictable nature of toddlers relative to a new baby. It is important to understand that not all toddlers will be comfortable next to their new sibling, or yet used to the idea that there is another baby in the home. I encourage parents to try and familiarize their toddler with the idea of the new baby before they arrive. After baby is here, it is important to get sibling used to being next to baby (safely and within reason). Some older siblings absolutely LOVE their new baby, while others could care less that there is a new little person around.

How do you pose a newborn with a sibling?

There are a few factors that will influence the way you pose your newborn baby with their sibling or siblings. Siblings’ ages and temperaments will play a role in what you can safely do with a baby and their sibling, and what you may need to do as a composite. All will be discussed in the following sections.

Toddler attention spans during photo sessions

Attention spans for small children is quite short, so it is important to keep them engaged, and not stress them out during their part of the session. We all get stressed when our children don’t listen, but it is important to remain calm. Let the photographer handle directing the child as far as facial expressions and where to look. Small kids can get easily stressed when they feel they are disappointing us. Taking a little snack break, playing a favorite song, even letting them interact with our cameras themselves can often settle them. Sometimes they just need to walk away for a moment to collect themselves too.

A lot of times when we are doing baby’s solo images, or just images with parents, the older sibling or siblings will want to be a part of that too. Kids want to be included and feel like a part of the bigger project, so most will happily want to partake. Whether they follow your specific directions willingly is another story!

It is also important that we do not over extend their attention span limits. Doing so will only result in a cranky child that will refuse further photos.

Setting parent’s expectation levels with regards to posing a sibling and newborns is important as well. Based on the above factors, some siblings may not want to take ANY images with baby. I always manage to get shots of baby and siblings together. Sometimes, this is purely with the magic of compositing images together in post. With this process, baby is safely photographed in a prop, and then older siblings are added in from a similar shot. I will never compromise baby’s safety to get a shot with younger siblings.

Here is a list of poses to try for newborns with siblings:

1. Sibling photos with a newborn in props

The importance of composite shots and safety

When planning a newborn session that includes younger siblings, many parents specifically choose props that feature often in my images. These include my wooden moon, baby carriages and prams, and bucket and basket images. Having a spotter while baby is in anything that is lifted off of the ground is of utmost importance. Add in a feisty, ants-in-their-pants mobile toddler, and baby’s startle reflex, and you want to make 100% sure that that baby is not going to be placed in any precarious situation. This is especially important with toddlers on the younger age range due to their unpredictable nature.

Many parents do not understand that some of the most popular images of newborns in props are in fact composites. You can find out more about the importance of composites in this article.

I always let parents of toddlers know that their baby’s safety is of the highest importance. If we are doing prop shots, that baby will be safely composited into a sibling shot. Prams have wheels, moons can rock, any bucket or basket can be knocked or bumped into by a toddler. All of the images below are of babies that were taken individually in the prop, then combined with a sibling shot in post. Sometimes we have to throw a cell phone or toy into the prop to make them interact more with the prop, but hey, whatever works!

If you are not a professional newborn photographer, I would not DIY any prop shots with your own baby.

newborn with siblings in prop crib

2. Baby photos with siblings on a rug or blanket

For most children in the age 3 and up range, doing a lie-down image with their newborn sibling is a safe way to get a shot of your babies together. The posing is typically done on a soft blanket or fur rug, with head support underneath. Baby is generally wrapped to keep them cozy, and this also makes it easier for the older sibling to hold them. For a 3 and under child, getting them to stay still for any amount of time to achieve this image can be a challenge. However, for a majority of older children this is a totally feasible pose that will results in an adorable photo. This is also a great pose to try on your own at home.

Please note- ANY time you are doing an overhead shot, it is imperative that your camera is secured with the neck strap around your neck.

3. Sibling photos with a swaddled baby

Swaddled poses are great for older children that are good with following directions, or can safely hold baby on their own. I will always follow the parents’ lead on this as they know their children best. If the child is above the age of 6, and have practiced holding baby at home prior to the session, it is generally safe. Of course the older sibling will be in a seated position while holding baby. Occasionally, we can do this as a shot with siblings laying down looking over baby too.

kenilworth nj newborn photographer, big brother kissing baby

4. Posing a newborn with multiple siblings

With multiple siblings, you can “surround” baby with snuggles and love. I often also do this shot with mom and baby in the middle and surround them with their siblings. Moms always love this pose with their babies! When posing multiple siblings together, I find that posing the older sibling first is easier, and then younger siblings will often try and follow their lead.

5. Posing twins together

Sometimes, the siblings are twins! Twins are generally very comfortable together outside of the womb. Twins can be snuggled together in intertwined poses within a prop. They can be nestled together in more natural laying down poses, or propped “on top” of each other as well. Where other babies might be skittish when being touched or posed, twins are used to each other’s warmth and do well when posed together!

springfield nj newborn photographer, twin babies holding each other and giving a kiss

What should siblings wear for newborn photos?

During our consultation we will discuss the colors you are incorporating into your session. Depending on this, I will guide you on what you can plan for your other children to wear. Typically, most families stick to a neutral palette for their sibling images- whether in simple whites or warm neutrals, or a cooler toned palette in greys or blues. If there is a strong color theme throughout the session, we can also plan a sibling shot featuring colors that will match that color theme as well.

Posing siblings with newborns doesn’t have to be difficult!

There are a variety of ways you can achieve beautiful images for parents that include ALL of their babies together. You just have to find the best approach for each scenario and age group of the older siblings. Just remember, prioritizing baby’s safety when being surrounded by wriggly kiddos should always be your main concern.

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Sofia Ribeiro is a North and Central New Jersey maternity & newborn photographer serving Union, Morris, Somerset, Bergen, Monmouth, Middlesex, Sussex, and Essex Counties, as well as New York City and Staten Island.

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