Few things are as wild and brave as a mom with a newborn and older kids. Sleepless nights during pregnancy, feeling totally drained of just thinking about the day in which they’ll be alone with her children for the first time.
I get it, I totally do, and I understand why so many parents (especially moms) are worried about having a photoshoot at home during the first days of this new unpredictable phase. It can get hectic with two or more children and sometimes it feels impossible to have time to even think about something like this.
I’ve been working with families for many years, so I had many opportunities to photograph newborns and older kids. That allowed me to learn a few things that helped me to take the stress of parents’ shoulders and just have fun during the session.
These tips will work not only with newborns but with older babies too. Yet keep this in mind: if you want to preserve the fleeting details of a newborn baby and to keep memories of the first days of your little one at home, I highly recommend you book your session within the first 2 or 3 weeks of your baby. The reason is that during that time your baby will sleep for most of the day (hopefully also the nights), and even if many things are new and overwhelming, you’ll find it easier to pay attention to your older kids and keep that potential jealousy away.
Newborn and older kids: what to expect from your photoshoot
When planning a family or newborn photoshoot with an older child, parents always express the same concerns: they’re mostly worried about their kid’s behavior and how hard it can be for them to stay focused during the session.
If you read my previous article about the things amazing family photoshoots have in common (or any other post with tips about getting the best of your session), you may remember that one of the issues I highlight a lot, is how important it is to engage with each other. This is even more important when you’re planning a photographic session of your family in such a shifting moment of your life.
Because basically, if you engage with your children, have fun, and simply enjoy some genuine quality time together, there’s no way that your kids won’t stay focused during that moment.
A newborn photoshoot with older siblings is different from a slow newborn session at home. You should expect varied imagery because I’m pretty sure this new life of yours is full of different cute moments that I’d love to help you preserve. Not only baby portraits, but moments of joy, love, and connection, to help you not only preserve these new beautiful memories but also, to show you that you should feel proud of the hard work you’re making, stretching your soul to love another child with the same intensity you do with your older children.
Tips to enjoy a stress-free newborn photoshoot when having older children at home: let them lead
Besides engaging with your older children, which is by far the most important thing to do, another good tip is to let them lead.
If we force sweet moments to happen, and we ask them to do things they don’t want to do, we’ll make them feel that they’re not up to what we expect, and they’ll probably get anxious and less confident about themselves, which might end up in a tantrum.
I always try to assure them that I’m there for the whole family and not just for the new addition. I don’t do this by just talking (which can be a challenge in this city because not all children speak the same language) but with my actions. So I take pictures of them playing alone, eating, talking with you or your partner, and interacting with the baby when they want to do so.
Of course, we can prompt a bit, but never give orders. We just ask if they feel like doing something like holding the baby on their laps or cuddling with them.
Most of the time they don’t do it immediately. But if we don’t insist and don’t show disappointment, after a few minutes they tend to happily do it without saying much.
Let them be themselves
This is one of my mantras. I never force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do for a photoshoot, and I don’t expect children to act like somebody else for the pictures.
I adjust to the children’s personality and the images will reflect that. All the parents who hire me feel proud of their families and especially, of their children. I want to capture this and help you show them that beautiful truth of yours.
Because yes, you’ll love these pictures, more and more every year. But it’s my main goal that your children when older will love them too.
What if they cry?
First of all, I have to say that most of the times I’ve joined a family to photograph their everyday life, there has been some crying. Children often fall, they hit the corner of the table with their forehead, step on a lego, or simply feel frustrated because they can’t do something and they get upset.
This is absolutely normal. Yet I never experienced a tantrum lasting for so long that I had to cancel the session. Because the most important thing in these cases is not how your children behave but how you do. If you comfort them, let them know that you are there to help, that you love them, and that there’s no rush because they have the right to feel upset or pain, the crying will fade out faster, and you’ll probably obtain some beautiful pictures of how you are there for your little ones when they need you.
To enjoy a stress-free photoshoot with a newborn and older kids, simply have fun.
To get beautiful photos of your family requires only to enjoy a beautiful moment together. There’s no secret weapon. You just need the wish to celebrate your family and treasure your memories for you today and for your children tomorrow.
To prove to your children how important they’re for you. That they’re part of the team, they belong with you.
To sum up, if you want to plan and enjoy a photoshoot of your family with a newborn and older kids, it’s not that important how many things you plan in advance, but how much you focus on your children, their needs, and feelings.
Nobody knows your children better than you do, nobody knows how to make them smile or laugh as you do. And no matter how hard I try it, if they don’t feel good about themselves, you may get beautiful images, but you’ll hardly get the memorable pictures that will make you long for the sweet days you’re living right now.
Let them be themselves. Show them how proud you are of their uniqueness. Let them lead the session. Enjoy quality time together, engage with them instead of the camera. I’ll be there to capture all this soulfully.
And you’ll be amazed by how beautiful you are when you simply spend time enjoying the people you love the most.
It probably sounds difficult now. But believe me: you can have beautiful images of your newborn and older siblings at home. You’re an amazing parent, and you deserve it.
Simply reach out:
Newborn and older kids photoshoots in Amsterdam, by Lucrecia Carosi Amsterdam newborn and family photographer