Having a newborn session when you already have other kids is a whole new level of challenge!
My main goal during family and newborn photo sessions is to reduce stress as much as possible and to create a relaxed and happy atmosphere.
To get there we need a good plan! And I always have one!
My newborn session when the older sibling is a toddler run in a different way as my “first baby” sessions or my “pirate crew” session (A LOT of kids!)
If you are expecting a baby and have a sweet toddler already this post will be very useful for you, even if you are not planning a newborn session.
Because these are the important tips you should follow while introducing a new baby to a “big” brother or sister!
1. Let Your Toddler Be The Star
Your tiny baby is born and discovering the world. She does not have any expectations, she is open to any new experiences.
But for your toddler this is the END. Her world is falling apart and will never be the same.
This is SO scary!!!
So your toddler will need MUCH MORE attention and reassurance during the first months than ever.
And it absolutely worth it because you are working for a beautiful future relationship with your first born (second-born, x-born) toddler and also for a beautiful relationships between your kids.
So your toddler is THE STAR of the show!
The newborn photo session is about your toddler meeting her brand new sibling. For me this is the best and the only right scenario!
We all should give maximum attention to your toddler and make her feel loved and very very important (because she IS)!
2. Do Not Overprotect
When I was expecting my second baby the labour started at night.
I was not rushing to the hospital and was just laying in bed with my first born son, watching him sleep and thinking how incredible small and beautiful he is. He was really small – just finished potty training and was weaned only a few month ago!
Than I called a friend and asked if we can bring my son over to her, so we can go to the hospital. It was a cold November night and about 3 am in the morning. I had really strong contractions, but was carefully dressing my my son and then carried him to the car, so he will not wake up.
That night he was my baby – my sweet little boy.
My second son was born in the morning and in the afternoon my husband went to bring my first son to meet his little brother.
When my first son entered the room – I was shocked because at night he was my baby and now he looked like a school boy to me. He suddenly was SO BIG!
And no I am not crazy! That is what really happens after you get a baby – your other kids suddenly become much older, stronger and bigger. This is relativity in action.
Of course your toddler did not get bigger over night, but your attitude changes a lot.
Suddenly you see that your toddler is big and strong and DANGEROUS!
She can push. pull, hit, bite, scratch your tiny baby. And yes she can!
But you are not helping her to learn how to be gentle with the baby by not letting her touch or hold her tiny sibling.
So please do not overprotect your baby and scare your toddler away every time she is trying to make a contact with her sibling. Let her stoke, touch and hold the baby – just be next to her and show her how it should be done.
This is a beautiful time when your children getting to know each other and it will show beautifully in the photographs!
3. Mother Holds … The Toddler!
Most of the time during the photo session mother should be accessible for the toddler, so she should not hold the baby all the time. Especially when we are taking group photos.
Do not worry I will find the time and the way to take pictures of you and your baby. I will see when your toddler is tired and want to do something else.
Just keep your hands free to embrace your toddler any time she needs a hug!
Additionally I will observe your toddler mood carefully and guide you through the session. The structure of the session will strongly depend on your toddler's character and her mood on the day.
If your toddler is shy we will take a slow start and maybe start with a coffee and chat in stead of taking pictures straight away. If you toddler is outgoing we will jump in immediately so she is not overtired.
I will spend quite a long time with you – usually two hours, but can be longer – so at the end we have a beautiful variety of portraits.
Please contact me if you have questions! I would be happy to help!
To be honest I am a little bit of a control freak. And I am like this not only in my life, but also in my photography.
So I do like to control what is going on during my photo session and to be sure that I will get all the images I want. Images that will show the connection between all family members and your family unique character.
I like to keep my session short and my directions effective. Because at some point everyone gets tired and should just go on playing, have coffee and ice-cream.
I selected ten photographs I took in 2019 which sum up some of the things I love most and I am looking for over and over again in every session I have.
Those things are not exact poses - these are the moods, the emotions, the relaxed atmosphere. And because I know exactly what I am doing and I can bring you to this safe happy place quite quickly!
I encourage my clients to do something, to stay closer, NOT to look at me )))
I create a situation where i know there will be giggles, kisses and hugs. And i keep my eyes and heart open - so I do not miss any moments which are the most unique and valuable for your family.
This one was taken after „hey guys look at me“-family-portrait. I let this lovely family stay in the same spot and made a couple of jokes.
I always try to make a family portrait when everyone is looking at me, just because in this way you can remember later, how everybody looked like.
But those portraits do not tell you much about relationships and family dynamics.
That is why I really prefer photographs where family members are making contact with each other, not with my camera.
My favourite family photo of me and my parents is one where I (about 7 years old) look straight to the camera and my parent are standing nearby and just laughing hilariously with their heads up. It gives me an incredibly warm feeling!
It was an autumn session at it was not particularly warm, but of course we did some splashing and had fun!
I love bringing children to water and see what they will come up with.
As a parent you never know what is coming next, so I always leave space for experiments and improvisation during my family sessions. And I am always ready for anything!
We took pictures near the lake and wanted to change the location. I was talking to the mum when I suddenly looked up and saw her waiting for us at the stairs.
I constantly fell in love with her expression and was lucky enough to take this picture.
I think you can see a strong personality in this lovely three-years old girl.
When I work with families year after year I start noticing how child's character shows in different ages and situations.
I have a dream that I can follow my clients families for many many years to come ))
We placed this lively boy on his dad's shoulders and had about 30 seconds to take a couple of family portraits. I encouraged the boys to show me his daddy's eyes, ears and hair, so he is occupied for a minute and does not run away too soon.
Keeping toddler in one place is a true “mission impossible”. Giving a child a task to actually do something in stead of “look at me”, “stay there” etc commands works so much better for the natural relaxed portraits. And yes, he did look at me at some point. They always do!
I asked them to embrace their mummy as strong as they can. And of course this started wild but a moment later the true tenderness came trough.
For me a portrait of a mother, being happy and beautiful, surrounded by her kids is one of the most important portraits to make during the session!
These will brighten up your not so bright days and they will be everything for your children, when they get older!
And I keep reminding myself to get such pictures for myself and my kids as well!
The baby was lying on his back looking at my big black camera, but when I asked his mum to lay down near him he immediately turned to her.
This amazes me every time how even just a couple hours old babies know their mummy and always trying to reach for her.
When my kids were tiny babies, we spent many many hours laying together, looking at each other, getting to know each other - just like this!
This was the very end of the session and they were waving bye-bye on me. I think they liked me and I think they were glad the session is over!
Siblings life is not always hugs and kisses, so every time I manage to capture my boys happy and connected I feel like a winner! And I am sure my clients feel the same.
I asked them to embrace each other while the boy was on his dad's shoulders.
I like giving my clients not-so-easy-to-follow directions sometimes. They often result in very natural and emotional photographs.
I like to see when everyone feels relaxed, peaceful and together. Usually these portraits are made when all family cuddles in bed. But I am always looking for ways to express this mood in different situations.
Hugs always help! And it is very interesting that different families hug in completely different ways.
It was a moment just before the look-at-me portrait. I really like the different types of looks I captured in this one.
This is a great example how one picture can tell you a story, even there is no action involved. Such pictures happen towards the middle of the session, when everyone feels more relaxed and do not pay so much attention on me!
The moment he wakes up from a short nap!
I manage to capture the full spectrum of newborn activities within just two hours: sleeping, being awake, crying, eating, changing a diaper and going back to sleep. This is always a miracle!
2019 was a very creative year for me!
I met many new people and was glad to see my old clients coming back to me again and again!
I want to thank
Lise, Anete, Susana, Emily, Bianka, Wiebke, Bo, Mary, Johdi, Claire, Valentina, Julien, Marta, Elizabeth, Marie, Linda, Heather, Jaonna, Susie, Sarah, Mita, Mary Rose, Felicity, Denise, Marina, Carolina, Inna, Irina, Adam, Caitlin, Fiona, Jacobo, Mae, Olga, Rebecca, Uma, Xenia, Gina, Dasa, Maria
and all their beautiful kids and lovely partners, supportive grandparents and other wonderful relatives, who I had a pleasure to photograph this year!
I wish you all a great 2020 and I am looking forward to get creative with many wonderful people this year!
I am so lucky to do this every year since 2014!
Check my other sum up posts of 2015, 2016 and 2017 to see many beautiful moments and hopefully some familiar faces!
* I did not do 2018 - I was too busy with my third baby ))
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
WHAT TO WEAR FOR YOUR FAMILY SESSION: UNIVERSAL SOLUTION
Choosing outfits for your family session can become really stressful as your session approaches and the more family members you have the more stressful it can get.
As a lifestyle photographer the most important thing for me, that you feel great in the clothes that you wear!
The successes of my session depends on the general mood and not on the colour coordination (and I can usually adjust colours in the post processing if they are really not working together).
But of course there are things that I cannot adjust, so each of my clients gets a list with things which they should NOT wear.
Like for example, that they should avoid a football-team-look at any costs!
It is when your clothes are matching so strongly that you get a feeling that everyone is wearing some kind of a uniform.