Tips for Photographing Siblings

Once of my most requested images by parents of more than one child are sibling photos. When a new baby arrives, parents are typically excited to be able to capture photographs of their children together. Be warned though – depending on the age and personality of your older child/children, sibling photos are probably some of the most difficult images to get. Never fear though! By following some of my tips you have a much better chance of success. Here are my top tips for success when photographing siblings:

Tip # 1: Always do sibling photos first

Sibling photos are always the first images I attempt – especially when siblings are aged 3 and under. I find that they’re usually at their best when they’ve just arrived at my studio as they’re still getting familiar with the new environment and boredom hasn’t yet set in. For this reason I like to get the sibling photo done first and then I move on to the family group shots. After these images are done the sibling isn’t required for any more photos during the newborn session. I always encourage my clients to have either Dad or another family member/friend take them out to a local cafe or home for the remainder of the session.

Tip #2: Build a rapport with them as soon as they walk in the door

My main focus when I’m meeting new clients is getting to know the older sibling as soon as they come in to my studio. I take the time to get down to their level and try to engage them. Maybe I ask them about their new baby brother or sister, or ask about something they’re interested in. I take the time to get to know their personality – whether they are shy or more outgoing – and use this to gauge how to interact with them for the session and what might work best for photos. You can usually tell quite quickly how mature they are and whether you’re going to have an easy or more difficult time in getting the sibling shots.

sibling photography tips
Sibling photos are some of my most requested images!

Tip #3″: Take your time and be respectful

Siblings are little people – not robots. We need to show them respect and take our time. Some might be slower to warm up to us, some might not like to take photos, some might be struggling with lots of big emotions. It can be easy for us as adults to forget that these little people are going through a big change to their home life with the addition of a new brother or sister. We need to take our time, be patient with them and show the respect of listening.

Tip #4: Always do safe sibling images

As a photographer there are different sibling poses that you may want to do for your clients. You should always err on the side of caution when deciding what images you should attempt – especially when the older sibling is under 3. I always start with an easier pose such as laying down next to each other on a flokati rug and move on to more complex posing only if I feel that the sibling is capable. Always have a parent sitting just out of shot as an additional set of hands should anything go awry.

Tip #5: Genuine laughs make the best expressions

There’s nothing worse than a young child who does the “cheese” smile. As photographers what we are wanting are genuine expressions in our images. Talk to your young clients and try to make them laugh. I have been known to tickle, make silly faces and noises – anything to get the shot!

I hope that some of these tips help you in capturing some beautiful sibling photos!

Amy xx

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy: The Top 5 Myths About Being a Baby Photographer

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    You missed taking photos of your newborn during COVID? No worries!

    I’m getting so many emails at the moment from panicked parents feeling sad and upset that they weren’t able to have professional newborn photos done over the past few months due to COVID. Never fear! All is not lost. Here are a few options for you to help make the most of your baby’s first year. (Please keep in mind that I’m an Australian newborn photographer in Sydney, NSW where social distancing measures are easing – the following information may not be relevant to you if you’re living in another place where Coronavirus restrictions are still in place).


    Newborn Photography up to 6 Weeks

    Whilst it’s true that newborn photography is best done very early (usually between 7 and 12 days after birth where possible), if you miss this window of opportunity you can still get some beautiful newborn photos up until about 6 weeks. The older your baby gets, the more likely it is that he/she will be more wakeful, less flexible and able to go into more complex poses. This doesn’t mean you can’t get anything at all. It just means that you need to be a little more open to less “posed” photographs of your newborn baby and being comfortable to have most of your images with your baby wrapped.

    I typically encourage people who contact me after their baby is 6 weeks old to wait until their baby is 3 months old for their photos. This is for a variety of reasons. Mainly that babies usually reach “peak fussiness” at around 6-7 weeks. This means a lot of unsettled time, crying, fussing and general unhappiness. Around this time they also tend to have skin rashes which break out due to hormones etc and are difficult to work with as they are very wakeful but not yet at the beautiful smiley stage at 3 months.

    CLICK HERE for more information about my newborn photography sessions

    If you are living in an area where newborn photography cannot take place due to social distancing requirements, you make like to download my video tutorial where I teach parents to take their own baby photos at home.

    >>Here is the link to my Photographing Baby DIY Video Tutorial for some more information

    Newborn photography can still be taken up to 6 weeks of age!


    3 Month Old Baby Photography

    They’re not as popular as newborn photos but 3 month sessions are some of my favourites. By 3 months old babies are typically very alert and smiley. They aren’t able to sit so almost all the photos I do of them are taken on their back with perhaps one or two shots during some quick “tummy time”.

    Three month olds are very different to brand new newborns so there is no real posing. For me as a photographer it’s more about capturing their sweet smiles and faces in gorgeous lighting.

    CLICK HERE for more information on my 3 month old baby sessions.


    6 – 8 Month Old Baby Photography

    If I had to pick one older baby age as my favourite, this age group would be it! When your baby reaches the milestone of being able to sit by themselves but aren’t yet on the move (all babies reach this stage at different times but for most babies this is usually around the 7 – 8 month mark) this is THE time to get their professional baby photos done. Babies of this age are perfect to photograph as we don’t have to chase them all around the room trying to capture the perfect photo. They’re usually very happy, smiley and very content with themselves being able to sit on their own. Being able to sit also gives us lots of flexibility in being able to photograph them in lots of different ways – on their own, in a prop/basket, perhaps even some nudey bum photos.

    CLICK HERE for more information on my Little Sitters baby sessions for older babies

    Older babies aged around 6-8 months are so beautiful to photograph!


    First Birthday Cake Smash Baby Photography

    As a specialise in babies – first birthday sessions are the oldest type of baby photography that I take. This age group are similar to the 6-8 month babies except that they’re usually a lot more mobile and quicker to move! This means that I have to really be on my game as they have a shorter attention span and really want to roam all around the room exploring everything. It makes it harder for me to capture them but the results are always well worth it!

    To celebrate their birthday, parents usually like to bring in a birthday cake that I can photograph your baby sampling (and just making a great mess with in general!). Afterwards I have a mini clawfoot bath that I fill with warm water and some bubbles. This is an awesome way to finish off as it makes for gorgeous photos and it also helps to clean them off after their cake time as well.

    CLICK HERE to find out more about my First Birthday Cake Smash photography sessions

    So if your baby was born during the Coronavirus pandemic – never fear! We have lots of opportunities to capture beautiful photographs for you regardless of what stage they are at!

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      COVID-19 and Newborn Photography (Updated Post)

      Wow! What an incredible few months it has been for everyone. I have been receiving so many questions about COVID-19 and whether newborn photo sessions can still go ahead.

      There has been little specific guidance as to whether posed newborn photographers have been able to operate with many discussions in forums etc that I’m a member of. Whilst there was never any specific directive from the NSW Government to close, I felt that as I could not comply with the 1.5m social distancing requirements, that closing my business over the past few months was the most responsible thing to do.

      Posed Newborn Sessions Are Back… with extra Coronavirus precautions

      As of today (1st June) I am offering posed newborn photo sessions at my Sydney Inner West photography studio. This is in line with the Government’s recommendation that is now allowing hairdressers and similar services where people need to touch clients.

      Of course, the health and safety of my little clients (and my own little ones at home) has always been my number one priority. Due to COVID-19, I have added some extra precautions to help keep everyone safe:

      • No shoes in the studio
      • Immediate family members only at the session (parents and siblings only)
      • Extra hand sanitising and mask to be worn by me when I am required to be within 1.5m of my clients/when required to pose your baby

      These are in addition to my normal precautions that I have always taken (eg. never photographing when sick, sanitising the studio and props between sessions, good hand hygiene etc).

      By hiring me as your photographer for your posed newborn session, I do ask that you complete an extra clause in my contract which outlines the additional measures we must both take to keep both our families safe at this time.

      If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact me!

      I hope to photograph your little one soon.

      Amy xx

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        4 Steps to Taking better photos on your iPhone

        The best camera is always the one you have with you! I don’t always have (or want to carry!) my big heavy DSLR, so knowing how to make the best out of the camera on your iPhone is important. Here are my top tips to get better photos of your baby using just your iPhone

        1. Use Portrait mode

        Make sure you have the very latest version of iOS installed on your iPhone as there are some important camera additions that have been brought out by Apple recently. Once you’ve sorted that out, you’ll want to make sure you’re using “Portrait” mode. This will change the settings on your camera to give you great images straight away.

        Use the PORTRAIT setting on your iPhone to give you better results straight away

        2. Turn off the flash

        The on-camera flash doesn’t give the most pleasing results when you’re taking portraits. It’s better to just use the natural light. On camera flash gives you yucky flat light and no shadowing on the side of the face – definitely not what you’re wanting! Turn the flash off and you’ll be amazed at the improvement in your photos right away.

        3. Lock focus

        If you have a moving object (like a child on the move – goodness knows they’re quick!), you might find that locking the focus on their face really helpful. Just touch and hold on the screen to wherever you want the camera to lock the focus on (usually their eyes/face) and the camera will do the rest of the hard work for you.

        4. Use the Rule of Thirds grid

        The Rule of Thirds is a fundamental rule of thumb to taking better composed images. Basically it says that you should divide an images into thirds both horizontally and vertically. More important or interesting parts of the image should be place on these lines or where the lines intersect to make the photo more visually pleasing. The great news is that you can add some Rule of Thirds guides to your images to help guide you when you’re composing your photo. Just turn on the grid in Settings > Photos & Camera

        4 steps to better iphone photography
        The Rule of Thirds grid will help guide you to take more visually pleasing compositions with your photos. Image Credit

        5. Keep your photos safe!

        Now that you have some beautiful images, be sure to keep them safe! The benefit of having a small camera in your pocket (iPhone) is that it is also one of the easiest things to lose. You don’t want to risk losing all of your beautiful photos as well. Be sure to keep your photos safe with proper and regular backups.

        For more information about Backing up your photos be sure to check out my article:

        >> BACKING UP YOUR PHOTOS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

        I hope these tips have helped you take better photos with your iPhone camera!

        Best wishes to everyone during these times of isolation. I hope that this will inspire you to get creative with your camera! Amy xx

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          Coronavirus and Newborn Photography

          As of today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a global pandemic for COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. But what does this mean for parents out there wanting newborn photography and how is this going to impact upon the baby photography industry?

          First and foremost, I would like to say that I am not an expert in health or in virology. I leave that to the experts in that area. In Australia we should all be heeding the current advice from the Department of Health – for me in NSW Australia that’s NSW Health. They have a great page with all the latest information on the Coronavirus and the latest guidelines and information for the public.

          > Check here for the latest information about Coronavirus from NSW Health

          With so much media coverage I know many people out there are feeling concerned (and if you see the state of stocks of toilet paper and paper towels at my local Woolworths, I’d say some our outright panicking!). With this environment on unease, I want to help allay any concerns my upcoming clients may have on my return from maternity leave. Here are some answers to some questions you may have as a parent and are booked in or wanting photographs of your newborn:

          I am already booked in for a newborn photography session with you. Will that session still go ahead?

          Following the guidelines of NSW Health, there should be no problem with continuing with your newborn photo session (so long as both myself and my clients remain well). Sessions will continue as per normal except where myself or my family become ill (or if my clients become ill), or are needing to self-isolate (due to direct contact with a confirmed Coronavirus case, or travel to an affected country).

          The health and safety of my clients and their precious newborns (as well as my own family and small children) are my top priority. I will be in contact with you should any of the above circumstances occur and we will arrange to reschedule your session.

          As always, I will never continue to run a photo session where I am unwell as I would never want to pass an illness on to a new baby or their family. If you are unwell, I do ask that you inform me as well so that I can help keep my little ones safe also.

          coronavirus and newborn baby photography
          The safety of my littlest clients and their families is always my number one priority

          What steps do you take during a newborn session to keep my baby safe from viruses and illness?

          As a baby photographer (and as a parent of 3 young children), it’s important to me that I do not spread illnesses and viruses to my clients and newborns who can be particularly vulnerable to illness in the first few months of life. I take the following steps at all newborn photography sessions (and I always have) to help keep babies safe:

          • Cancelling and rescheduling sessions where I/my family are unwell and I am likely to be infectious.
          • Washing my hands with soap and water and/or alcohol based hand sanitiser prior to handling babies
          • Cleaning and sanitising the studio area as well as props and fabrics
          • Ensuring that my vaccinations for whooping cough and seasonal influenza are up to date

          What if I no longer feel comfortable continuing with a newborn photo session?

          If you are already booked in for a newborn session with me I encourage you to discuss your concerns with me. If you feel that you are no longer comfortable in continuing to have a photography session due to concerns regarding Coronavirus, I am happy to reschedule your session to a later time in the year. Please be aware that newborn-style images are typically not possible after your baby has reached 6 weeks of age so the sooner you are able to come in the better the results will be. You are most welcome to defer your session to a 3 month session, a Little Sitter session, or a 1 year cake smash session instead. Unfortunately I am unable to refund your session fee.

          Thank you again to all my clients at this time. As Australians we will weather this tricky time (as we always do no matter what comes our way!). Lets keep calm and get through this tricky time together with clear communication and respect for each other.

          Best wishes!

          Amy xx

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            About amy - newborn & baby photographer sydney
            - Academy of newborn photography
            certified photographer

            - Over 8 years experience

            - Current CPR & Infant first aid

            - current whooping cough vaccination

            - multi award-winning
            experience & Safety

            Hi! I'm Amy Tong. I'm a newborn baby photographer in the Sydney Inner West surburb of Balmain, Australia. I'm Mum to 3 little ones, and wife to my best friend of almost 20 years. I've always been creative. A lover of music, art and history. Photography has been an important part of my life since I first picked up a camera as a hobby back in 2008.

             

            I began my career as a professional baby photographer back in 2012 and have had the honour of photographing over 300 babies since then.
            To me, photography allows us to preserve moments in time for future generations. I can't think of any better job in the world. I'd love to hear from you and help you hold on to these special moments too..

            Amy xx

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