Newborn Shoot: Posing with Siblings
We have such a beautiful family here. It's actually really nice to have two siblings in the shot. I think this is probably one of my favorite shots. So we're gonna see how they go, how they sort of adjust to this situation 'cause there's quite a few people here and there's lots of things for them to play with. So we're gonna go nice and slow and I'm gonna get mom and dad to help as much as possible. We have a little baby girl and two boys. So what I'm gonna do is wrap our baby first and then I'm gonna get the boys to lay down and then I'm going to put the baby in their arms. The reason I'm gonna do a lay down shot on my bean bag is because we have a 20 month old little boy who can be really unpredictable. They cannot hold a baby so we need him to lay down and have mom and dad nice and close so that the baby's safe and he's also safe. And we have a big four year old brother who's gonna be the main child to hold the baby and we're gonna put the 20 month old in around. So I'm gonna take h...
er and wrap her and then I'm gonna get mom and dad involved by coming with their children and showing them where to lay and just to be next to them so it's nice and supporting for them and comforting so they don't get scared 'cause they've never met me before and they're not quite sure what my camera is if they haven't already seen one before. Oh. She's having a sleep. She's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I wanna keep these colors for this particular set up nice and natural. So I have a white sort of fluffy background which is a great texture for a background because it looks really soft in the photos and that's the overall sort of look that we wanna go for. I'm just gonna sit down and place her on my lap and put this particular wrap around her. She still has her nappy on and I'm gonna leave it on 'cause this is going to be more of a head and shoulder shot not so much a full body shot because it's all about the three children together and these are the images that the parents really want. They wanna make sure they get them. And the reason I wrap them in these particular set ups is so the baby doesn't get startled if one of the children move. They're nice and secure. They've got their arms and legs wrapped in nicely. And it's also easier for the older boy to hold a wrapped child instead of having a baby that doesn't have its arms and legs sort of kicking out and pushing out. He can go. Let him go. He wants to run around. He wants to be in a photo. Yeah? Yes. So we're gonna give this back to mom. It's not absolutely neccessarily to have the baby asleep for these shots because they're wrapped so they're nice and secure and they're safe. But having them sleepy is good but it's not a big deal. I actually have an image up on the wall over there and the baby was awake in that shot. I think I mentioned it yesterday but he just happened to blink and I caught it. And I think that it looks really peaceful with the baby asleep because all the photos of him with his eyes open and awake where he was cross eyed or one eye was open a little bit more than the other, he didn't look comfortable. But the one with his eyes closed he looked really nice and snuggly in there with his brothers and it just happened to be a perfect capture of them smiling which was great. I'm not too concerned about having an arm out and if she wiggles her fingers out but I really wanna make sure that the elbows and the shoulders are wrapped in nice and tight so that she feels secure and safe 'cause there's gonna be a little bit of wriggling going on on this mattress here. Look you are ready to go aren't you? Yeah? Okay well seeing as you are the oldest brother would you like to come and lay on this side? And the reason I'm putting him on that side is because the direction of my light is coming from this way. If I was to put him over here because he is bigger he's going to block the light onto the smaller children's face. So can you come around this way for me? And what I want you to do is crawl up there so your head is up here and your bottom is down here. So sit up here for me and we'll help you. There we go. Can you lay down? And you can bring your legs up if you like. Put your feet up there. Good boy. And what I'm gonna do is stand above them and shoot down. So I'm gonna get you to come in. He's so cute. Look he's so cheeky. He's got this little cheeky smile on his face. He sure is. So you can even use the cloth nappies that I was using yesterday to prop up the older sibling's head. But what I'm gonna do here is just bring one hand out because I'm going to roll the baby in here and have his little hand under his face so it's gonna support his face while she's there. So I'm just gonna slightly position her before I put her down. Isn't she beautiful? Okay now if you can get him to lay down on his back. That's it. (shushes baby) Okay, would you like to lay down and have a photo? Here look. What is her name? Now if you put your arms out nice and wide for me. That's a boy. I'm gonna put Colette in here for a little cuddle with you. So I'm gonna focus on the older boy at the moment because little Milo here is just a little bit excited about being in here. He's curious to see what's going on. We're gonna get you something to put under your head now. You can see just by bringing that hand in up underneath her face there and that elbow around it's gonna make her face come up and she's not gonna bury it down in here. Okay now how strong are you? Can put one hand there for me. Now I want you to lay really, really, really still there okay? And you hold onto her for a second. Can you pass me two of those? Thank you so much. So this is what I would be doing in my studio at home is getting the parents really involved in this. And I'm gonna help you wriggle down just a little bit. Can I give you a little pull here? One, two, three, there we go. Good boy. Is that better? Is that more comfortable? Would you like to lay up here? So if he doesn't wanna do it I'm not gonna make him. I will continue on to take some photos while I have two out of the three children set up. But what I'm gonna do is take a photo and then I'm gonna show Milo the back of my camera. So we'll just get Colette's little hands in here up a little bit more so they're not in front of her face and we can see her face. Just keep your arm nice and still there, sweetheart. Good boy. You are strong. Okay and then I wanna bring this arm here all the way around. Okay and can you just bring your hand? There we go. And I want you to look up at me and give me your best smile. Can you do that? Can you give me a really, really good smile? Oh you're a good boy. Come in nice and close and give her a cuddle. Just move your head. That's a boy. So I'm gonna increase my aperture to about 4.5. I'm just gonna take a test shot. Hi. Okay so we need to go up a little bit higher. Now I am at 4.5 and 120 fifth of a second and I'm still on 1250 ISO from yesterday. And those exposures look pretty good. So I'm gonna lift her up a little bit higher on your arm okay? Just to bring her closer to you. That's a boy. And I want you to bring this arm here out. Nice and gentle. That's it. And you know what this hand can do? It can hold that hand so she doesn't move. Good boy. You are doing such an excellent job. Okay. Now can you rest your head against Colette's head? Good boy. And look in here for me. You don't have to smile if you don't want to but you can look at me. You look very handsome laying there with your sister. And how old are you? Four and a half. Four and a half. Okay hold on to this hand. Good boy. And looking up at me? Good boy. Turn your head in nice and close. Oh I love it. Thank you. Here look. Look at this. Milo, who's this? Who's that? It is. Would you like to hop up here?
No? Please? You know what? You can't make them do it (laughs). But I'm gonna ask. Okay. I'm gonna ask mom to ask him to come and hop up here. So obviously I'm not someone that he trusts 'cause he doesn't know me. But he trusts his mom and if she can encourage him to come up here that would be great. Big cuddle. You are doing so well. High five. (Milo crying) And you know what? I probably would not push on further from this because we don't want him to get so upset that we lose all opportunities of getting a photo with him. So what I'm gonna do is move. I'm gonna get one more photo here of this set up and then I'm gonna move to the floor and he might actually come and sit on the floor next to his brother which is another option. If he was younger, like say sort of three, I probably wouldn't have him sit on the floor and put a baby in his lap because at three they're still a little bit unpredictable. But he's four and he's communicating with me really well and he's been able to sit there and lay there so well and hold his little sister. So I'm gonna attempt to sit him on the floor with her and still have mom and dad nice and close. But that way we might get Milo to come in and sit next to him on the floor. So it's another option. But if this was happening and I didn't have an older brother the situation could possibly be a little different because there isn't an older brother but I would just continue to try later on in the session. I would give him a break, let him get used to the environment or have him watch me work and then maybe bring him in and try again a little bit later if he gets upset. So stay there for two seconds. Come in nice and close. You are doing so well. So I'm gonna pick Colette up and then we're gonna move and I'm gonna get you to sit over here on the floor. But we're gonna put the fluffy mat on the floor as well so it's not too uncomfortable. So hang on, let me lift her up.
This blanket is
It's bugging you. Okay. That's right. Okay. Alrighty can you come and sit down for me? (shushes baby) Oh, she just burped as I sat down. Good girl. Okay so having patience with the sibling set ups, now she has the hiccups, is definitely a must because they're so unpredictable. You never know what they're going to do. But yeah. We have our light obviously over here to my left. So if you can sit down here. Cross your legs just like me. Colette has the hiccups. And can you turn a little bit towards the window? That's a boy. So we have enough room now that if Milo wants to come and sit down during this set up he can. Food is a tricky one to have in your studio with toddlers because when they're eating, this is fine, it's keeping him happy. But I usually don't recommend giving them a treat or anything like that until after the photo. So if they have bought some type of bribery which works really well I wouldn't recommend giving it to them until after the photo unless they lose the plot. But (laughs) yeah, and also if they bring jelly beans or any type of colored lolly and if they are like a small toddler they can drool and obviously it can go everywhere. They can create a little bit of a mess. So I tend to keep food until after the photos. Okay sit up, cross your legs for me. Okay we're gonna pop her in your hand. So dad, I'm actually gonna get you to come onto this side so that way he's not blocking my light and that way if Colette's head needs to be supported at any time his hand is gonna be right there. So if you can sit down and put your back to the wall and your feet out towards me. And just scoot that way just a little bit but come forward for me. Perfect. And that way his hands are nice and close to support at any time. Can you hear those hiccups? So she's in a nice little position there for me to pop her on her tummy. So if you can sit, maybe even bring this leg through. Yep, that's a boy and sit just like that with your leg here. I'm gonna lay her up here. So instead of having him hold her I'm actually gonna position her on his leg. Okay just bring your arms out for me, sweetheart. Arms out, arms out. Out. Lift your arms up.
She's gonna lay across your lap.
There we go. Bring this leg out for me. Bring your leg out. There we go. Okay I'm just fiddling here with my wrap just to bring her little arm and elbow out. Daddy. What a good boy you are. Now I want you to rest your hand very gently just there on her head, okay? And so this would be a shot where I would have dad's hand in here just supporting the back of his hand. We're gonna bring this foot in a little bit closer. That's it. Would you like to sit down and have a photo? No? Okay so just place your hand on the back there again. So dad is nice and close in case anything happens and when I'm ready to take the shot what I'm gonna do is just ask dad to bring his hand out carefully. But keep it nice and close. Okay dad, just bring your hand out. Hi, Milo. Looka. Cocoa, where's Cocoa? Okay dad, can you just bring your hand in and push his hand up? That's it. He's so interested in the camera. Look at him. Okay just bring your hand out, dad. Okay looka where's Kelly? Hi. Boo. No, oops. Okay come and have a seat. Good boy. Where is Milo? He just does not wanna be a part of it. Okay just bring your hand out again, dad. Can you look at me? Hi. Okay just bring your hand in. Just bring your hand in, dad. Look what I have. Who's that?
Yay. Would you like to be in the photo? No? Can you sit down here for me? Can you sit on my fluffy mat? Please. Okay. Good boy. Hand back a bit. That's it. What are you gonna get? Milo, what is mommy getting? Okay dad hand away. What is mommy getting? Hi. Milo. Just keep an eye on his head, the hand there. Just bring your hand away, sweetheart. That's a boy. Okay we might change her up a bit. Can I get you just to pop your hand just on her head for me? Just to support there. Boo. Okay so I'm gonna put her up right now. I'm just gonna pick her up and see if I can position her a little bit differently in his arms. Okay and now what I want you to do is bring this arm down. That's it. And I'm gonna lay her back here in your arm. (baby cries) (shushes baby) What do you call him?
Mr. Mission Man.
Mr. Mission Man. He is on a mission isn't he? So I'm just positioning Colette and we'll attempt one more time but if he doesn't wanna be in the photo then we'll just move on. Okay sit nice and still here. Oh yum.
And chocolate crackers. (baby cries)
Alright. Milo, would you like to come and have a cuddle? Yeah? Do you wanna cuddle Cocoa? No please. Look. Would you like to come and have a little cuddle? Yeah? Okay and that is it. So we might actually finish there with these beautiful boys. Occasionally you just don't get it and you try really, really hard but you cannot force them to do something they don't wanna do. Obviously it would upset him if we made him sit down there 'cause we tried to do that on the bean bag. What I would attempt to do later on in the session if this family was in my studio is get a nice family photo with dad possibly holding Milo and then that way we would get them all together. 'Cause it would be better to have something than nothing of them all together. But we did get a beautiful photo of Luca and Colette together which was great. Isn't she beautiful? So I'm gonna give her to you. I'll let you stand up. Thank you. (laughs) Isn't he gorgeous? You could play with him all day couldn't you? And he's in your studio. I would love to photograph him on his own. He's a classic. Do we have any questions?
We do, we do. Well thank you so much and thank you again to the Hooks family. In that scenario then it was brilliant to see how not everything goes perfectly and that's the way it is. So in that scenario then with the shoot with this family would you ever set up a reshoot? Do people ask you for that? I know you explained about the family shot and then would you focus on more set ups of just the baby alone?
Yep. So obviously in my studio it would be quite a more intimate session if I was doing this at home in my room. There wouldn't be so much for Milo to look at and such a big space for him to run around in. And if that didn't happen, and like I said yesterday I would attempt my sibling shots at the beginning of the session when they're very interested in what's happening and where they are. But yeah, if he needed a little bit of extra time I would perhaps go on with the baby 'cause Colette was quite easily settled. Once she did sort of stir we could get her quite sleepy again and possibly move on with the session which would be great. And then I would bring little Milo back in and try to get some more photos a little bit later on after he'd watched me work some more. So I know that having them here the distractions were quite great for him. But you know, he's 20 months old. They're gonna do what they wanna do and you can't really force them. But we can try and encourage them and I would have just given him a little bit more room to move, a little bit more time and then attempted it again definitely. But I probably wouldn't reshoot because that's just what happens on the day.
What we would love to see in the next shoot if possible would be if you are doing wrapping the baby the internet would love to see your actual methodology and have you talk through how you wrap the baby.
And it's so simple. Yeah definitely I'll pay attention to that for you. Great.
Alright, fantastic. We have a question in the audience.
I just had a question regarding the parents. So oftentimes during newborn sessions when you ask a parent to help bring a sibling to come and lay next to an older sibling on a bean bag or something they might take it a little bit too seriously I think and maybe overdirect their children. So how do you deal with the process of trying to maintain control over the environment so that a parent isn't kind of too hard on their child?
Do you know that's a hard one because everybody's family dynamics are a little bit different. So I always have quite an assertive voice when I am working with children and I will tell them what I want. I sort of get down to their level and just try to make them as comfortable as possible. If I sort of sense that something like that is happening and one of the parents is maybe getting flustered because the child won't react I can sort of try to reassure the parents that it's okay. We can actually attempt this again in maybe half and hour and then what I'll do is I'll just sort of say to them when I reattempt it why don't you just let me take him for a bit and see if he'll do it a little bit differently for me? And then once I get him into position maybe have them place the baby in his arms up on the bed. So give them some control as well over a different aspect of the session because they come in and they sort of have these visions like they see images of sibling shots on my websites and they want them for their children so I suppose if it doesn't work the first time try again, have persistence. But be patient, definitely. And just sort of help guide them because even though they see the images and they want them they don't neccessarily know how they're achieved. So give them clear direction and sort of be quite not firm or anything like that but try and be as directional as possible. I think is the word I was looking for.
Well our next baby is ready.
Yes. So we have another little boy and he's two and a half, isn't he? Three and a half? There we go. So I have an Alexander. I'm gonna use the same set up that we did before because it's nice and easy with the textures. And I'm gonna give a little pillow here and make a little well in the middle of my bean bag again. I was talking to Alexander out in the other room and he was playing with the little Mr. Potato Heads. So finding something that they're interested in and asking them questions about what they like is also probably gonna help with getting their attention and getting them involved in the session. So Alexander, would you like to come and have a photo? Yes? Come over here to my special bean bag. Yeah, mommy's gonna come with you. Come on over. Okay so I'm not gonna get him up there just yet because I wanna show you how I'm going to wrap the baby. I'm gonna use a different wrap. So he's just gonna come over here to where we are so we can all see what's happening. Come around here, Alexander. Okay. Well I'm gonna take your baby from you. Oh hello. So being able to say to the parents I'm gonna take your baby also reaffirms to them that I'm confident enough in taking their baby. I'm not asking if I can have her baby. I'm just gonna say I'm gonna take your baby now because I'm getting ready to do this shot. So that also lets them know that you're confident in what you're doing and they can trust you just that little bit further. He's nice and wrapped up in here. So wanna keep him nice and sleepy. But again if he wakes up he's gonna be wrapped so it's okay if he has his eyes open and things like that. And when I am photographing them with their eyes open I just try to get that focus on the eyes and see if I can get the baby looking directly at the camera. So I have a little stretchy wrap under here and it's basically just laying in my lap and I'm gonna put the baby in the middle of it. But we'll pull him out of his other wraps here. And he's not wrapped up too much which is great. How old?
Oh wow. So he was really wrapped up under here. I'm just trying to pull it out without waking him too much. If you can pull that one that would be great. There we go. Okay I'm gonna help you. Alright. He stayed asleep (laughs). I'm gonna fold his little legs up and I'm gonna bring his hands up to his chest so that that way when I do put Alexander in his brother's arms we can use those hands again to lift the face so we can see it in the photo 'cause that's really important. So the reason I haven't asked Alexander to lay down just yet is that he is three and a half. He's gonna lay for a second and then he's gonna wanna get up and have a look around again. So we don't want to bore him. So we'll just get his little arms up. Okay. So I've got them up nice and high and what I'm gonna do is just pull the wrap over his shoulders and his arms. Okay. And so with this piece here if you can see I'm just gonna tuck it under his thigh down here and that way when I lay him down his body weight is gonna keep that side in place. And now bringing this hand up and the reason I have kept this hand up is because Alexander's gonna be on this side. I'm going to turn the baby in to Alexander and this is the hand that's going to be under his face. So I'm just gonna bring that up to his shoulder for the first part and bring that wrap over the top so he's nice and secure. And this is also such an easy way to wrap a baby and to unwrap them as well 'cause you can just pick them up and peel the wrap off them without having to disturb them too much and they're nice and secure and the wrap is held in place by their own body weight when you put them down. Okay Alexander are you ready to lay down? Okay can you come up here for me? Put your bottom up here. Climb up. Up you get. Good boy. Okay there's a little pillow there. Would you like to lay down? Good boy. Oh, you're a good boy. Okay. So I wanna create a little bit of a well there for him to go into and we're gonna bring this arm up and I'm going to put Alexander in your arms right here. So I'm putting him down bottom first. I've still got hold of his head. Tuck that wrap in. But this is like a really, really nice close headshot. So we're not sort of focusing too much on down here and we can leave nappies on for this type of shot as well because that way if he did decide to go to the toilet it wouldn't upset his brother. So I'm gonna bring that hand in over and rest him gently up here on Alexander. Okay and then this arm, it comes all the way around the back of your brother. That's a boy. And this hand holds on to this hand. Can you do that for me? You're nice and strong. So his little head is falling down just a little bit but what we can do is just use one of these as a bit of a support underneath to put him further into position. Okay. And we're ready to take our shot. You are doing so well. Good boy. So what I would do here is he is actually I'm sensing that he's so comfortable holding his little brother that I would be comfortable having mom hold a little reflector to bounce some light back in. And this is what I would do in my studio. So I'm just actually gonna get you a little cloth nappy here and it's not gonna be a lot of light but it's just going to put some light just into those shadows and if we hold it up nice and close, so you can see when you drop it we have some shadows on the face just down here and we lift it up and we're just filling those shadows just a little bit. So camera strap around the neck. And their faces are nice and close together. I'm just gonna push your pillow down just a little bit. Good boy. And can I have one of your beautiful smiles? Yes? Oh you're so cute. Good boy. Oh that is absolutely perfect. And getting that connection and getting that reaction in the older child's face is what sells the pictures. It's so cute. And now can you, oh sorry, my leg was on your toe. Can you put this hand back over here for me? Okay and give me one of those beautiful smiles again. Alexander. Good boy. Oh that is so good. Thank you so much. Would you be able to give your baby brother a little kiss for me? Oh good boy. Oh and a butterfly kiss? Oh thank you. And by getting them to do something like that and when they turn back to look up at the camera they're gonna have a little sparkle in their eye. They're gonna have a little story. They're gonna have a little bit of emotion. So that's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Just look up at me again sweetheart. (laughs) that is perfect. Which was your favorite Mr. Potato Head? The Star Wars one? That was pretty cool. And on cue, isn't that the best smile? And because in this situation because our baby's so sleepy I would do a very quick set up on this bean bag with the same back drop and the same wrap without the brother just to get one of those extra shots that's so easy to do. So what I'll do is place my hands under here. You did so well. And so now Alexander can jump up. Thank you. Well done, well done. So our baby's wrapped and we have a beautiful backdrop and a beautiful fabric and he's nice and sleepy so this is where I would just continue to move on. I'm gonna push a few of these beans back into the center from where Alexander was laying and I'm also gonna use this actually as a prop underneath just to support him a little bit more. So I might just adjust my wrap just a little bit. So see how easy it is by wrapping them like that and crossing it over to undo it and pull it out and now I can just quickly pull it around the sides of our baby and get him into a really nice curly position. You could tuck it in underneath or I'm just actually gonna tie it in a little knot here at the bottom. I love the texture of these cheese cloth wraps and they're nice and stretchy and hold everything in place. He likes his hands up near his face. He's pulling against me. Okay I just wanna position his legs up a little bit more so he stays in that nice circle shape. So I'm not lifting him. I'm just using the cloth nappy underneath just to support him. I'm actually gonna come just over to this side to take this photo. Oops sorry a bit trigger-happy there. Okay so I'm focusing on the eye that's closest to me. This one. And I'm just coming in, I'm gonna fix his one finger. There we go. So that exposure's quite bright which is fine 'cause it's still within our range. But that's it. And that's where I would move on from a sibling shot onto a back pose and then I would slide that furry blanket out. I would have my next blanket underneath and then go into that side pose onto the tummy and continue with my flowing process. And I am done.
Do you wanna take a couple questions?
Anyone here in the studio?
So with the sibling shot when you have a toddler and it doesn't wanna participate would you ever recommend or use a sticker on a baby or like a Cheerio or something so they can go and look for it?
Any type of bribery is wonderful but I actually did a video two days ago with a baby in the basket and a little boy. So I was really hoping to get these beautiful lay down shots to show you how I pose a toddler with a newborn when I lay them down and I used the basket the other day which is another way you can get around it is that you can position the baby in say a prop, take a photo, and then later on in the day you can put the toddler against that prop or near that prop and you can combine those two photos together in Photoshop and I've done that quite a few times. I actually have a bucket at home and what I'll do is I will take a picture of the baby with the handle up and then later on I'll put a toy in that bucket and get the toddler to hold the handle of the bucket and I can put the two images together so in the photo it looks like the baby is inside the bucket and the toddler's holding on to it. So it's actually, there are ways around to get those sibling shots. It's the lengths that you wanna go to to give your clients what they want. If they're adamant that they want that sibling shot I would definitely do that. But if they're like oh, it doesn't matter. They're not gonna do it. I would just move on. So it really depends on the parent at the time.
I have another question. Sorry it's a little bit different topic. But what is the size of the cheesecloth that you're using? Do you have a specific size or does it matter?
I just ordered it and it was sent to me. So it's probably just sort of about that wide and about that much. It's not a very large piece of cheesecloth, no.
We have one more question from the chat rooms. Actually a number of people have been asking this. M.K. Brown as well as a few others. What do you suggest for girl siblings, older siblings? Do you have them wear a dress, clothes, bare chested like the boys? How do you approach that?
Yeah, when they tell me that they have siblings and they usually say that they have an older sister or an older brother, is it alright if we get photos with them? I tell them to bring a couple of different outfits. Boys, I love the skin to skin touch. I think it's so natural and so raw. With girls, if they have a pretty little white dress or a little white top and I tell them again to avoid large logos and patterns on t-shirts so that it's not distracting in the photo and we still get those beautiful nice colors. And depending on what they're wearing I'll then set my scene up that will match their outfit. The other day the little boy that came along he had a navy blue pair of pants and an orange shirt. So I lined a basked with a navy towel and I put a little orange beanie on the hat. So I try to coordinate it so that it fit with what the little boy was wearing.