There’s an inner diva in us all, and that’s what we love about 2 year olds as we’d so love to get away with some of their antics. Reliably unreliable, a photo shoot with a two year old toddler and their brand newborn baby sibling is always a memorable shoot. As seasoned parents and aunt /uncle to a large extended family, we’ve had the privilege of hanging out with many 2 year olds, both personally and professionally. We’ve got the grey hairs to prove it!
Our studio comes to life when a toddler visits, with the sound of play, excited chatter, squeals of delight and the occasional tantrum during their photo shoot. Our challenge is to keep the shoot flowing, and to keep your little one on board whilst taking shots that really capture their vibrant, cheeky characters. Add into the mix a brand new baby of just a few days old with some healthy sibling rivalry, and it’s usually a lively session. We work a lot on instinct, and it’s a balance of play, firm boundaries and flattery that helps these sibling shoots come together. When all else fails, we blatantly resort to good old fashioned bribery.
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Whilst we want to get the shots for you, our number one priority is always the safety of your newborn baby, as the energy of their toddler sibling can sometimes be a little overpowering. A well meaning cuddle for the camera can quickly become a stranglehold without due vigilance! There’s another potential hotspot once the images have been captured, as the whole ‘done now’ mindset of your 2 year old means they’re likely to extract themselves from the set at lighting speed without any thought for their sibling. Clear instructions are a must and a spotter close by essential, ready to step-in in an instant. There’s never a dull moment yet it all looks so straight forward in the final images… not so!
What we don’t want is for your older child to launch onto the beanbag to be with ‘their’ new baby, catapult style! Nearly all 2 year olds try this, after all, they know that beanbags are exciting toys and should be jumped on for fun. Grown ups can really cramp their style with their boring requests to sit still or face the camera. They also want us to know that although their new sibling is ok, they don’t really like holding them because this means the risk of being vomited on or cried at. Also, we should know it’s much more fun to wander round the studio and explore. That’s ok and perfectly natural, but we’ll do a deal that they can explore after we’ve grabbed a few shots and for this reason, we’ll start the session off with the siblings while their attention span is still negotiable.
Our newborn shoots take 3 hours, and this is a long time for a toddler to sit still. Sometimes, tots will be happily distracted with colouring or a comic, but very often this isn’t enough to see them through the session. We suggest a trip to the local park, library or cafe to help pass the time once the sibling images have been taken. Not because we want to split the family up, but from experience, the noise of an active sibling can often stimulate the senses of a newborn baby and keep them awake, which is contrary to the sleepy poses parents choose us for.
We’ve chosen a recent shoot to illustrate this blog because we love the expression on the older sister’s face, full of cheekiness and adorable with it, yet she took great care to place her hands gently on her new baby sister to cradle her. These early connections are tender, intuitive and intimate. So if you’re thinking of some photos of your children together once your new baby arrives, we totally get what you’re after, but there are no guarantees as so much depends on the day. What we do promise is that we’ll do our absolute best for you….. but be prepared to chip in to help us sing twinkle star to get there.