Posing with your newly expanded family for the first time might feel a little awkward. Here's a few ideas to help make the change in dynamics a little more natural for family photos both as a couple and with siblings.
You might be a couple with your first child trying to figure out how to hold this tiny fragile little baby in a way that is flattering for everyone, or you might be adding a second, third, or any number addition to the crew. Honestly, every new person totally changes the dynamic! Especially a newborn.
Sessions are Baby Led
Before I go into my guidelines for posing with the whole family at home, let me just say that newborn sessions are and always should be baby led. If you have toddlers, they are also very much going to lead the show, and that's okay!
Photo shoots can be really exciting for the older kiddos and working with them on how they want to be photographed with their new sibling is a great way to get photos of how they naturally enjoy the new baby. Whether it's getting help holding and cuddling the newborn (or licking them?!) the photos will be so much better if they think it's their idea.
How I Pose Couples with their First Baby
I love starting with familiar ground (for most couples, I hope!) by having the focus be on the relationship between you and your partner! Baby is in your arms hopefully sleeping, cuddling, or nursing, and your partner can get in close and adore YOU. Most couples have probably posed for couples photos at least once before, so starting by kissing the forehead, holding each other close, and looking into each other's eyes is a helpful way for you to get over the awkwardness of having a camera pointed at you!
Then, we alternate who focuses on the baby while the other parent continues to admire the other parent. Having all the focus on the baby following that. I encourage parents to try to memorize their baby's every feature and to touch each one as they do.
For example, "look at these tiny little toe nails! They're the size of a grain of rice!" and just touch those little toes while you're thinking about it! This is a great way to get those really close up details of mom or dad's hands holding baby's feet in a natural way.
One way to avoid the "crunchy" baby hold (shrugging your shoulders with baby in one arm so their face is closer to yours) is reclining or lying down. That is why your bed is a great spot for newborn photos. You can lie down with your face right up next to your baby's and relax. You can have baby on your chest while you are propped up by pillows. You can lie on your side and interact with baby between both you and your partner.
How I Pose Families with older Siblings
So you've gotten used to taking pictures with your cute and energetic toddler or older child, but it's actually kind of hard to be sure what looks good with a newborn! It's been so long since you had to work with someone who is immobile and generally unresponsive to your attempts at connection, but that's where the older sibling(s) comes in!
I love to ask the older child to "show off" their newborn sibling! They can get really excited and need moderation of course, but showing affection often just comes naturally. Starting with the focus on the relationship between the little ones should come first because they have the least amount of patience out of everyone in the room!
If they're really shy and want to hide behind mom or dad, well, that's cute too! Whatever personality they express will be natural and that's exactly what any parent wants to document anyway.
After that, I get the whole family together on the couch or bed and have you and your partner sit back and admire the kids because we all know kids loose their steam and you have to get the best out of them while you can.
If the older sibling(s) need a break, then we send them off to play or have a snack and then we focus on the new baby and parents.
Watch this Welcome to the World film for inspiration...
Book Rocco Photography for your Newborn Photography Session at home here.