We often start the session with a few classic smiling-at-the-camera family shots while everyone warms up. Once we have a couple of those in the bag, I’m looking for images full of connection, warmth, and love.
Try to not worry about the camera. Any awkward poses, double chins or other bloopers go straight in the bin and never see the light of day. Connect with each other. Take a deep breath. Relax. Snuggle. Leave your inhibitions at the door and focus on enjoying each other for a few hours.
If older siblings are involved, focus on getting them to have fun and enjoy the experience. Having a new baby can be a tough time for toddlers, so let’s not force them into anything they don’t want to do. Be flexible in your expectations of whatthe sibling shot is going to look like. Don’t spend your whole session telling them to look at the camera or ‘say cheese’. Be present. Play the games you know they love to play. Sing their favourite songs. Cuddle them, whisper in their ear, tell them what you love about them.
I will direct you throughout the session, but the less direction you need to take from me, the more natural your session will be. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative. Focus on the experience, not on my camera.
Once we have what we need from your toddler, I will probably suggest that Dad takes them outside – into the garden, or to the park. Toddlers will not focus for 2 hours and we will have more success with the newborn portraits if things are calm and quiet.
Newborn babies love to be warm. I’ll ask you to crank up the heating for the portrait section of the shoot. If baby is cold, they won’t settle and it’ll be much harder to get any photographs of them unwrapped (showing their gorgeous wrinkly skin).