Sibling with Newborn Shot List
Sibling shots are a must during newborn sessions. Gently direct and make the sibling feel in control. I always have a sibling tell a story to their newborn. Did you see the minute that he got up there, he wanted to get up. He was holding the baby, he said he wanted to hold the baby. So with siblings, you need to guide them and direct them into a situation that is a safe situation for the baby. You don't want to be in a situation where the sibling can jump up and drop the baby. Okay. Rule number one. It is not worth the shot. I rarely, rarely do photos with newborns on a couch. Okay. If I do, it's a sibling that's like six or five. Somebody that can follow directions, and we know they're not gonna jump up and drop the baby. Okay. If we are on a couch, even at that age, to be behind the scenes at some of my shoots, dads are typically sprawled out on the floor so they're out of the frame with their hands here. Just in case the sibling decides to jump up okay. Always have to be safe with b...
abies. If it even crosses your mind, what happens if the sibling moves, it's gonna hurt the baby. Don't do that shot. Okay. Number one. Just move on and do a different shot. This is actually in my studio but I wanted to show it to you, cause did you know it was in my studio? No. Just a bed. Right? And I have one wall of windows. I have a side lit studio. Okay I don't have any windows in the back. So I'm always shooting with one wall of windows. The window was over here, and I wanted to show this to you because when you're positioning people in the light, the light fell this way across the baby's face. Do you see that? I could not have put the baby this way, because light, when it's uplighting, butterfly lighting, would have gone up the nose okay. So when you're positioning siblings on a bed, if they have a window on this side, you're gonna put the baby on this side. If they have a window on this side, you're gonna put the baby on this side. So you need to be strategically placing your subjects in relation to the light. You're not missing the moment. Don't worry, we're not getting rid of lifestyle. We are just being smart photographers. We're capturing the moment and we're using our light in a way that needs to be used okay? Remember, we can break the rules but certain rules we cannot break. And that's the rules of exposure and lighting okay. That's for that. So gently direct to make the sibling feel like they're in control. So sometimes like we have them read a story. And he said I love you baby. I wish I would have had my video on for that. At least we got it on video here. He's like I love you baby. I'm like tell her a story. What that does is it makes the child feel actively engaged, and it keeps the sibling there longer. Okay. So all of these child techniques with practice will just come to you, and just these things just come naturally, you know over time. You know I sent him away to go get a hat so I could get mom and dad shots. We could have just said okay shoo. You know. We had to give him a job, you have to make him feel like he was doing something. And he loves those hats, and it turned into cute shots you know. So it was great. Okay so use beds. Beds are where I always do my sibling shots. Because they're safe. Okay you can back people up. Kids aren't gonna drop the baby. You do need to mind, did you notice when I said we're gonna get one more shot, and he goes shot? Like they don't know the same words that we do, and then I said can you give the baby a smooch, and he goes smush? Like they don't, you know what I mean? So you have to be mindful in your words. So they can still smush a baby, but be careful of that. But for the most part beds are the safest place that you are gonna have for children. Another thing so you don't feel like you left your session with failure. Set realistic expectations for your parents before your session. When you get to your session, when you're in the middle of your session, when you're about to go into these sibling shots, you know? Sometimes it can take a long time to get one sibling shot. But if the parents expect that, they're gonna be thrilled with just one picture okay? And don't forget, make sure your parents have a wrapped gift. We talked about this earlier. A reward for them. So they can say hey Johnny, don't forget we have that present for you and you're gonna go unwrap it as soon as we're done. We just have one more minute okay. One more minute of singing to your baby sister. Okay? And I don't even really say one more minute of pictures. One more minute of snuggling. Because kids hear pictures and they're like, I don't wanna do that, you know. But if you're saying one more minute of playing with baby sister or something. And remember to wrap the gift, cause if they know what it is, it's not as enticing okay? A little rule of thumb there. Okay. Yeah. That's good for that one. Okay sibling shot list. Swaddle the baby, lie them on the bed. Okay. And let the siblings play. These are two boys. They didn't want anything to do with the baby. At all. Okay. So what I did was I laid the baby on the bed, and it was funny, because she would start randomly smiling and looking at me, and the kids were like playing behind her and it was kinda funny you know. And eventually, I just sat there, eventually they would come up, I'm like hey can you go see what's in her ear? Is there a bug in there? Cause they're boys, and boys like bugs. So go up there and is there a bug in there? And they'd look, and they'd look up at me and giggle. Okay. So you're always trying to direct them in a way, we're not gonna say okay let's go lay by your baby sister and put your head here and smile. No we don't do that, okay. We're not a box photographer studio, right? We're real. We need to do real things. These are real people. Okay these are real children. Children don't listen. Okay. (audience laughter) They don't. So need to trick them. I mean even the two year old the other day. He was about to be two. You know everybody was like he was so well behaved. Most, I'd say 99% of my clients two year olds act like that because it's how I approach the child. Okay. You can work with, I mean there's gonna be a handful of kids that just won't do it. But the parents know that. Okay going into it. So that's not your, you don't have to worry about that. And those shots mom will be holding the two year old all the time. And that's okay. But for the most part, as long as you approach children in a way that you're approachable, you make them feel in control, you give them choices. Don't give them an out. You know don't say yes or no. Say do you want this or this? You know give them an activity. You're gonna be okay. So like this one, I tricked them into it. They were playing and so he went up there and then he looked up and started laughing cause I said there was a bug in her ear. And what happened then? I have a child smiling and laughing at the camera with the baby in front of them. Okay. So you're always needing to pull all these out of your back pocket. You just have to turn into a kid person, okay? Another thing. Kiss baby on the bed. Hold baby on the couch. We talked about this. Only older children holding the baby on the couch okay, this needs to be said. Do not let a two year old hold the baby on the couch, unless mom is sitting there with her arm wrapped around the two year old and the baby. Don't do it. Older kids only. Have mom or dad hold the baby, let the sibling come to the baby. Okay which is your last resort, which happens quite frequently. Mom and dad will be holding the baby, and sibling needs to come. Okay. More often then not, mom will be feeding the baby and the sibling wants to come see what mom's doing. Right? Cause siblings want to be with mom. And that's a great time to get sibling shots for siblings that just don't want anything to do with that baby. Okay. And what you can do is mom's there holding both kids, what can you do? Zoom in on the baby and the sibling. And just have mom's arms. Okay tell us the story. And that's fine. Okay. Not everything has to be posed. Okay. Just some examples. So he's lying on his back, that's an easy way to hold twins as a sibling. Okay. It is hard for children to hold twins. It's hard for adults to hold twins, right? Unless you're a seasoned twin newborn photographer, and you're used to carrying a baby in each arm and shooting at the same time. Not for siblings. I don't recommend that. But it's funny. Twin photographers, a lot of people who shoot a lot of twins as you know, you get used to holding two babies. Siblings cannot. Lie them flat on their back, change your perspective so it looks like they're kind of sitting up. He looks like he's kind of sitting up right? He was not. He was laying down. Okay. Change your perspective. That organically happened that top left shot. I was literally talking to mom, figuring out, she was older and she reminds me of Anne of Green Gables this little girl. Very precocious child, red head, adorable. I was talking to mom about we were gonna change the outfits or do something. And dad was in there changing something and she was laying with the baby on the bed. And I had my camera in my hand. Remember you don't ever put your camera down. And I was like you have got to be kidding me. They are both laying there snuggling. And the baby was like that with his head on his hand. I couldn't decide what to put color or black and white for this show but I loved it in color too. And that happened. And I stood over them on the bed. Okay when those things organically happen, if you see sibling doing something organically amazing with the newborn, take the picture. Stop what you're doing. Because we all know, sibling shots are the hardest of the day. Stop everything you're doing. If you're about to have, if you have mom, I can't tell you how many times I've had mom set up beautifully, ready to go in the nursing chair. We have the lighting, we've done the sheers. Dad's over there waiting for me to bring the baby in, and sibling is over there talking and kissing the baby. I'm gonna be like okay we're not doing that anymore, I changed my mind. Go with the flow. Okay and get the sibling shot. The most important thing you can take away from this is go with the flow with siblings. Get that shot. Okay. That one same thing. She was lying down. But it looks like she's sitting up a little bit. Okay. This is that little girl that the dad was playing with on the bed earlier in the show. Okay. So that's a little bit about siblings. Any sibling questions?
For the sibling shots where they're both laying down and you're photographing from above, it seems like there's a lot of side lighting but do you ever kind of have the light behind their heads coming down, or is that too much of a shadow? Or do you?
So you mean from like the top of their heads?
Yeah. Or just like have them facing towards the window and then, or coming at an angle?
I will shoot any light, except for light going up their nose. And I'll move them. Any light. You can do any lighting situation. It just happens to be what happens. That had one window, and this was a very dark room. This one was my ISO was up really high. And you find with really dark rooms, you end up blowing some highlights like that, cause you're compensating for shadows. I could have easily have shot that shot and left the shadows and I would have been fine with that, for their particular gallery, I ended up brightening it up a little bit. It's a personal thing, because it just matched that shoot a little bit more. And I liked that image a little bit more brightened up. The highlights, it's a big no-no like that, but I let it go. Cause it's okay.
All right Emily. We have a lot of questions that are about how you are actually shooting. And sort of some settings in your camera. But I'm wondering if you can again tell us whether you're doing single shot, or continuous, especially with the siblings. People are asking about that. And then also in terms of metering, are you doing spot metering or evaluative? And then again on the focus, single point, multiple points? Can you just go through those three?
Okay so. I am typically spot metering. For everything that I'm doing. Because I'm very selective on what I want exposed. When you're in a home, if you were to do evaluative metering for a Nikon or it's partial I believe for Canon, what that does is it takes all your shadows and your highlights and your midtones and it kind of evaluates what's going on in the room and makes the decision for you that way, based on what you want metered. When I'm in a home, there's a lot of shadows, there's a lot of highlights. If I did that, everything, it wouldn't be good right? So you're spot metering because you're actually metering off of what? Your skin tone right? Your skin is what's the most important part of photography okay. So that's why spot metering. I typically leave it on continuous. Low continuous. Some cameras have the capability of having low continuous or high continuous on your camera. And leave it on low, because siblings do move. Sometimes, if I feel like it, there's really no reason to besides it can be a little bit sharper, I'll switch it to single. For just the newborn. But since sibling we have so much movement going on, and I don't want to miss a stretch. So I'll do click click click. I toggle my focal points. I leave it at 52 points on Nikon. Nikon's focus system is a little bit better than Canon's. Canon has better color. So with Nikon I can actually toggle quicker. A lot of Canons are back button focusers. Is that a word? I can't do it. I can't wrap my brain around it. I just can't. I was a piano minor in college, so I think my fingers just move fast. I don't know. That's kind of what I've decided. It works best for me. So I toggle. Because I'm always moving my focal point, because as you've seen throughout this whole course, I am selectively focusing all the time. Okay so if you have the capability to toggle your focal points you need to do that. So spot metering, continuous, and I toggle.
One more on this because everybody has been amazed, including myself watching you do this. And because we've been able to see you in action, your eye is not always up against.
No it gives me a headache.
How do you actually, how do you see the whole frame? And you're doing the composing and focusing.
I squint. I can see. You know what, when you do something long enough, you know what you're looking for. Did you notice at the very beginning of that video, I was sitting in there shooting the baby, and I said whoever is in my window, move. I knew. When you shoot for long enough, and I think this just comes with being a seasoned photographer, I knew there was no light behind me, right? So I notice that. Like you don't have to turn around to see it got darker. I knew there was a film person that got in the way. Is what happened. So he had to shoo. And I think with my eye, if I squint too close, I dunno I can still see through it. I guess. I didn't know that I did that. But I noticed I was getting headaches and I think it's because I'm squinting so hard all the time. So I've been trying to like pull it away a little bit. Because I'm always, and another thing is, is I'm always looking at connection. You know you can't see everything all the time when you're looking here. You miss moments. You miss the story. You know so I think my brain just story tells. And I have modes like this. You know some people think in terms of a filing cabinet. Like you pull out what you want to access. My brain is kind of like a dumped out filing cabinet. And I'm always accessing everything at the same time. And generalizing it, to linearize it into what I'm looking for okay. And I think that comes with practice. I'm just a dumped out filing cabinet. Okay that's how my brain works. (laughter)