Newborn Shoot: Posing with an Older Sibling
I'm really excited about this session this morning because I love working with older siblings. So, we have Fiona, and she's eleven so I'm pretty confident that she's gonna enjoy this and she's gonna enjoy holding her brother during this session. So what I'm gonna do is I'm actually gonna leave Dominic in his mom's arms while I get Fiona over to where I want her to sit. If I had a younger child that I wasn't sure if it was gonna jump up, run away, all that kind of stuff, I would probably bring the baby over with me but because I know Fiona's not gonna jump up and run away, (laughs) we're gonna get her set up nice and comfortably first and then we're gonna bring her little brother in. Come on over. So if I can get you to sit down here and just sit like me with your legs out to the side.
And to the other side. There you are. So what I'm gonna do is I've positioned her so that everything's nice and compact. Her legs aren't coming out towards me so that in the camera, in the ...
image, they're not going to look distorted and they're not gonna blur. So I'm gonna keep it nice and compact and what I'm going to do is bring little Dominic in her arms here. And she's pretty strong so she's going to be able to hold him comfortably. You ready?
Are you comfortable
Good stuff. (grunts) Oh, thank you. So I don't necessarily have to wrap Dominic for this set-up because Fiona is older and she's quite capable of holding her little brother but underneath his wrap, he's got a little nappy on so I'm gonna leave it on and I am gonna put a wrap around him just to cover that because you don't always have to take the nappy off and that's gonna stop Dominic from making any mess on his big sister's lap as well. I'm just gonna use a fairly neutral tone and because Fiona is wearing this really pretty little black dress and I've got her on a very white, creamy background, this is also gonna look beautiful as a black and white image so I'm keeping that in mind as well while I shoot this. (baby whimpers) I'm just gonna slide a little bit closer to the heater because it's a little bit cooler down here on the floor than it is up there this morning and that way when we take his wrap off, he's not gonna get cold and he's not gonna wake up. So he's wrapped nice and loosely which is gonna be easy to get him out of here and to just pop the other wrap around him. I'm not gonna wrap him tightly but I'm just gonna put it around him ideally just to cover his diaper. I remembered to say it that time. Oh, there it is. So I've got one of these long stretch wraps again and it's folded in half this time because when they are pulled, they can be a little bit see-through but we really want to cover this nappy so that it's not distracting in the photo. He's having a stretch and I'm gonna move with him while he's stretching. Isn't he beautiful? I'm just gonna pull his little legs up. I'm gonna go with the shorter side, tuck it over, pull it over. Leave his little toes out because we want to see those but just over the knees so it holds the leg in place and fold it in underneath his bottom so that his own weight and then when Fiona's holding him where I place him, it will hold it all in place. Okay, so I'm gonna come a little bit closer to you. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna pop his bottom down here and he's gonna rest up here against your leg and you're just gonna use your hands just to support him in your lap and I'm gonna put his little head up here on your wrist so that way she's not having to actually physically hold him up like this because while I'm taking the photo, he's gonna get heavier and heavier and heavier and I don't want her arms to get uncomfortable and I want it to look nice and relaxed and if she's uncomfortable, she's not gonna look relaxed. And even though he's not a big, big baby, he's still gonna get heavy. (baby whimpers) And we're gonna turn his little head out this way. So I've just guided - oh isn't that beautiful. (baby whimpers) Okay, so just lower this arm just here. Let's see if we can lean forward. Okay, perfect. I'm gonna tilt him slightly towards me so that we can see his face. He's having a little bit of a stretch, a little bit of a squirm. You're okay?
I'm just going to put Fiona's hair back for now just while we position him and then we can pull it forward again. Move his hand down here, there we go. Okay, and that's a pretty simple set-up. You can come in from quite a few different angles. I'm just going to turn his face just a little bit more. I'll just grab my camera. (laughs) Okay, so I want you to look down at Dominic for me. I'm gonna get a little bit of an exposure shot to start with. And I'm gonna kind of come in from this angle here because I can see this beautiful side profile of Fiona's face and I can see his peaceful sleeping face there as well so it's gonna show great between the two of them. (camera beeps) And again I'm focusing because Fiona's looking down at her brother, I'm actually going to be focusing on his eye line, not hers. (camera clicks) I'm gonna bring that exposure down just a little bit. (camera clicks) Oh, that's beautiful. I'm gonna come from this angle to get a different one because you can still see his face beautifully. Just relax your toes sweetheart, there you go. (camera clicks) And just look up at me. So this is where I would come in and focus on Fiona's eye and I would come in nice and close with that crop as well. Are you alright? (camera clicks) Isn't he beautiful? And then for something a little bit different, we can have Fiona positioned the same way I positioned the mom yesterday to hold the baby. So I'll take Dominic back off her so that way, she can get her legs comfortable to support her body. Okay, so just bring your legs around the front like me. Nice and comfy. Okay, so with this hand here, again it's the one closest to the window because we're gonna have his face facing the light, and this one's gonna support his bottom but he has a nappy on so it's okay. I'm just gonna bring your hair back. Now, I want to make her hair a bit of a feature in this because that tells a story about Fiona for her parents, her beautiful, long hair, and this is her at this time in her life which is really important to capture. So I'm just going to get it out of the way now and then I'm going to bring it around the baby's face in a minute. So bring this hand up. I'm going to make this shot really quick because he's gonna get heavy and he's squirming. Turn your palm out towards me as much as you can that's comfortable and then I'm going to place him up in your hands. Okay, and your hand up underneath his head there. Are you okay?
Yeah, just a little squirmy.
He is squirmy, isn't he? Okay, and a quick shot of that one. Okay, and just look down at him. Think of all the annoying times he's gonna bring you. So I'm focusing in on his eye line because Fiona's looking at him. (camera clicks) Okay, and just look up at me, Fiona. (camera clicks) Nice, and how easy is that? It's such a pretty time for her to have this baby brother and to be actually able to hold him comfortably and remember it so perfectly. As a toddler, you don't remember your siblings being born but it's really special when you're older and you have a baby brother or sister come into your life. I was actually 21 when my little sister was born so it was really special for me just to understand the whole process and everything about it. It's special for a toddler, but it can also be very confusing for them. That's why those sessions with toddlers can take a little bit more time but you can see how fast that was and how quick and easy it was just with clear direction and speaking to her gently and I had already talked to her before outside which I would have done in my studio about how she felt about holding him and all of that kind of stuff as well so it's really important to ask them how comfortable they are and get an idea about them as a person as well. Thank you so much.
I'm done. I'm going to take a really quick photo of Dominic on his own because I think that would be beautiful. So can I get someone to come and give me a hand because I'm gonna use a prop. Who hasn't helped me yet? Come on over, Molly. So I'd already decided that I was gonna use my white backdrop but before you sit down, so I don't have to get up because I'm being lazy, would you be able to pass me the metal square tub that's just up there on the shelf and the blanket that's sitting on it. So I'd already decided before this that I was gonna use that which is gonna make it nice and quick because we have so many babies to photograph today. Thank you. And I also need a couple of towels to fill it with, just those two purple ones. So in my studio, I would probably give the baby back to one of the parents but it's really good to have some help here today which is awesome. And a lot of the times, in my studio, I am actually setting props up with one hand, believe it or not. Okay, so I've filled this particular prop. It's got a very hard edge, it's solid, but it's got a very, very hard edge so when I put Dominic in here, I don't want him anywhere near the edges of this particular prop because that could be dangerous if he was to move or be resting on that on his very delicate skin, it could be really dangerous. So what I'm gonna do is we're gonna move this and we're gonna shoot directly on the timber and I have another blanket here which is gonna help fill this and it's just really, really simple. And I'm going to prop, sorry not prop, I'm going to put one of my cloth nappies just under the front there to give him that little shelf again to raise him up. And we'll just tuck that in and Molly's hand is gonna be on him the entire time he's in here except for maybe the two seconds where it's just raised above his head to take the photo and then back down again and that way, there's no chance of him falling or moving or anything like that. So, actually, Fiona would you like to grab me two of those white towels just there please? Thank you. Thanks, sweetie. And I did that because if it was me in my studio, I would have got her to do it anyway because she would have been one of my clients or I would have got one of the parents to do it so I don't have to get up and down with this little baby while he's asleep in my hands and to disturb him so it's nice to ask for help and it gets them involved as well and you can talk to them, your clients, about the process of what you're doing and why. Say, "Oh, I need this to do this." So we're going to make this really, actually let's push it back underneath there like that and we'll tuck it in once he's on top. Yeah, I saw that. Okay, so I'm going to prop him on his tummy and bring him forward into a similar pose like this again because it's a fairly popular pose so you can't really do it enough but you can mix it up with the different props and we have a gorgeous little hat here we're gonna put on him as well. I'm gonna keep his nappy on. (baby cries) Cute faces hate April. (shushes baby) So because I want him to have his arms forward in this, I'm just sort of holding them up there while he's squirming and we let him relax into it and we give him a little gentle rock and that way, when I put him down face down, I'm not having to pull his arms forward. I'm actually putting him down with his arms forward so it's going to make positioning him a lot easier. (shushes baby) And because he was wrapped so loosely, it's easy to just peel it off him just like that. So keeping your hands on them while they're wriggling just to guide them into position is not only gonna make it easier for you to pose them but it's also a massive safety factor because at any point, they can throw their head backwards and they could topple and fall or do anything like that so keeping a hand on them at all times and that means that because you've got a hand on them, if you don't have that hand on them and you start trying to move them, they're going to recognize that touch and have some type of reaction to it. But, because your hand's already on them, they're used to that touch. So, this little wrap that I've got at the back here, I'm actually gonna use that just to tuck in behind him because there's that hard edge so we really wanna protect him from that hard edge.
Okay, so I'm just tucking that down there and sort of tucking it in around his legs so he can't kick back there and all we have to do now is just bring this other little hand forward. Actually, Molly, in that basket over there, can you see if there's a little gray knit wrap or something that's gray that I can place over the top of him and I'm going for grays but for different textures and that's all about styling the actual set-up to make it look really great in the photo, but to keep it nice and easy. So I'm just gonna lift his head up here. His other little arm has come back, so I'm just gonna drag it forward here just gently where he's comfortable. He's gonna move and that's when we move with him. There we go. (Shushes baby) So a gentle little rocking here. (baby coos) Wait for him to get comfortable. Oh, that's a big yawn. Can you just drape that just across his back there? (baby cries) Oh, sweetheart. So a slight adjustment, let him get comfortable. And, he's looking for food. So on my little PDF that Kenna was talking about my settling techniques, one of the big points is to always start the session with a baby with a full tummy and that way, when they're nice and sleepy, if they wake up, they're not gonna be hungry and looking for food on their arm. So you kind of get the picture with what I was doing here? I was gonna bring his hands forward, put the little hat on, and take a shot. But I'm actually gonna give him back to his mom unless he settles and we might move on with our next baby because we have so many to photograph today. So in a session, I would give him back or just spend a little bit more time comforting him here. If he had a dummy, I might use that. Sorry, a pacifier, I might use that during the session. But, we're in a different situation. Oh, sweet boy. Oh, I think he just likes cuddles. I'll pass him to you, thank you so much. Thank you so much, Fiona, that was wonderful. I enjoyed that. I'll see you a bit later on.
Okay, alright, should we take a few questions while you're transitioning?
Yes, please, go for it.
Great. Well first, I have one from our chat rooms. Photos as you were wants to know do you have recommendations for what the siblings should wear in the photo shoots? Do you mind or do you just sort of take it with what they come in wearing?
Like what we were saying about the choice of clothing, it's a really good idea to avoid large patterns, stripes, anything on clothing. Little pretty floral dresses are always going to be acceptable on a girl as long as it's not overly saturated with color that's too distracting to the baby and any logos on t-shirts and things like that. But, that's a dress, that's an eleven year old girl. She's starting to really get an eye for fashion and know what she wants to wear. She's gonna wear what she wants to wear and that's her at that time in her life and the photos are hanging on their wall so their whole sense of clothing and style, that's them, and I have to appreciate that. So I'm not actually going to go down to the point of actually telling them what to wear, but just, you know, give them some guidelines and make sure that when they do come for a session, there's no distracting elements like those logos, patterns, bright colors.
I mean, bright colors are great but if it's like a floral pattern that's overly hectic to the eye, I'd probably stay clear of it. But, really soft and pretty for girls is what I probably would say to them and with boys, just keep it really simple with a t-shirt if they don't wanna do the whole skin thing and either denim or some light colored shorts or pants.