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Newborn with Sibling Session

Lesson 8 from: Baby Safety and Posing for Newborn Photographers

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

8. Newborn with Sibling Session

Lesson Info

Newborn with Sibling Session

So I'll put this underneath to start with. And this is not my birthing bag, for anybody wanting to know what type it is. My wonderful friend Molly who is here in my audience again has let me loan hers so I didn't have to bring mine all the way from Australia. Oh my goodness, Margaret, you are beautiful. Okay. At the beginning of every session when I take a baby, I never ask if I can have the baby. I gesture towards them confidently so that they don't hesitate in passing their baby over. I always make sure I have three points of contact, as well. My hand is at the back of the shoulders, supporting, and it's at the other end, and I rest their body against my chest, so that they're nice and secure, and that'll stop any startling or, sudden sort of jolting or reflexing that could wake them up if they're nice and sleepy. The first couple of minutes when I take them and put them in my lap, that's a good way to gauge their response to your touch, as well. All babies are different. They respon...

d differently to the way that you touch them. They, um... She's making a few little faces there which is kind of cute. Yeah, they all respond differently to the way that you touch them. Some babies are really sensitive, some babies are really relaxed, and I wanna make sure that I'm aware of that so that when I go onto start posing them and moving them around, I know what areas to be a little bit more patient and move a little bit slower with, because... Oh we got smiles, this is cute. So I haven't got this heater blowing directly on me. It's actually blowing just past me but it is nice and warm in this area. When we just did a reading over here on top of the posing bag, it was about 76 degree Celsius, so that's not too bad. It should be warming up a little bit though now because we had the doors open, but, again, she's going to be wrapped, and she's going to have body heat from her sister as well, so I don't want her to become uncomfortable. And I always leave the nappy on when I'm photographing newborns with siblings, because no sibling likes to be peed on. So I'm just slowly getting this wrap out from underneath. This is the first time I've held little Margaret, so I am kind of getting a gauge as to how she's responding to my touch and my hands are flat and soft. I'm not forcing her here. I'm just resting my hands gently on her and feeling her little muscles and arms and ligaments move underneath me so that I can sort of feel the way that she responds. So because she's going to be on this side of the posing bag, I'm just gonna place this around her now. She's gonna be facing this way and she's gonna be resting on her sister's chest up here. So the arm that's in between, this arm here, I'm gonna wrap that down. If I wrap it up like this, it's gonna get kinda caught up in there. I want it to be nice and comfortable, just down by her side, so that there's no extra hands kind of up there, and we've got the outside arm just coming across and resting gently on the chest of the sister. So I'm gonna position her a little bit here on my lap, 'cause she's sort of on her side. There we go. She's so tiny. (baby noises) So just bring this little arm down here. I'm not gonna force it, but I'm just gonna put the weight of my hand on there. She's already relaxed. She's gonna keep it there. Bring that above the shoulder, and just wrap it across. So the other side now, this hand can stay out. Just bring it across the chest, and I'm resting my fingers just gently on the back of her wrist to keep her hand supported there. And bring that across. I don't do any type of special wrapping techniques with this. I'm not trying to make it all beautiful, all the way down to bottom, because this shot is a head shot. It's about the connection between them. I just wanna wrap her simply and get a photograph that's beautiful. And I have a long shirt on that's now getting caught up in the wrap. Okay, so I'm just gonna go one more time with this one. Keep her little legs wrapped up. (baby noise) Yeah. Okay. What is her name? Vivianne. Vivianne. Vivianne, oh. Are you ready Vivianne? Good girl. Okay. Now, which parent would like to come and sit next to her? So you can sit on this apple box just on this side. Now Vivianne it's really important that you don't go near these heaters, okay, 'cause they're very hot, and we don't want you to get hurt. (rustling) Alrighty, oh. If Vivianne can just wriggle her bottom this way, down this way, that's girl, and just lay back. There's a little pillow under there. Can you feel it, when you put your head back? Good girl. So this place over here is where we're going to put Margaret. So you need to bring your arm out this way. Good job. I love your dress, by the way. So you can see we have the hand out, and now when we go to place Margaret in there, the little hand is gonna come up underneath her cheek, and that's what's gonna bring her face up towards the camera, which is what we want. Okay, you ready? So I'm gonna roll her in towards Vivianne. And this little hand is gonna come up underneath the cheek. Okay. So I'm gonna keep this support at the back of Margaret's head, while we bring Vivianne's arm around. Good job. So now, can I get you to hold that hand there? And can I get you to place your hand right here, just to help support her? What I'm gonna do is give you a little bit of extra support under here. She's a bit heavy, isn't she? (laughing) Yeah. Okay, I'm gonna grab some cloth nappies, cloth diapers. (whispering) to prop you up. Yeah, I'm just gonna give you a little bit more support. So I'm just pushing that wrap there, that's under there, all the way around the outside of her body, to give her some, to make her feel comfortable. Okay, and can you just lift your head up for me sweetheart? Here we go. And bring your head down. Perfect. Now, Vivianne, you have gorgeous hair. So, can you lift your head up for me? I'm gonna bring this hair out. Well done. Okay and head down. And now what I want you to do is, bring your head here, perfect. And can you rest down on Margaret? Just gorgeous. Margaret's making some funny sounds. (mumbling) Yeah. Good girl. Okay, so, there is a flower here on Margaret's dress that I don't wanna coverup, but what I'm gonna do here is, just lift your elbow there, I'm just gonna give a little tug down here, so that it's not sticking out, because when I'm photographing siblings, I don't want anything to distract from that. That's what parents want. They want to have their babies photographed. Now we are on a little bit of a slope here, which we've created so I can shoot. You wanna make sure, this is why I always have the parents' hands there while I'm doing all of this, 'cause they're helping support, is bring a support up underneath the bottom of the baby. Okay, how are your feet? Are you comfortable? Yeah, you sure? Can I get my camera? Yeah. Let me just bring your head up here a little bit. I'm gonna bring some of this hair out. Lift your head for me again. There we go. Here, lift up again. So I am pretty particular when it comes to all the finer details, when I'm positioning little ones, because I don't want anything distracting, and I want it all to be complimentary, but hair is not something that's easy to get right in Photoshop. So when you have a little one that can respond quite well to your commands, and she's behaving so well, she's got no signs that she wants to run and push her little away or anything like that, what I do need to do because we have Margaret facing away from the light, we've got beautiful light on Vivianne, I wanna bounce a little bit of light back in here. So, in a moment, when I'm ready to take my shot, I'm going to get mum to hold my cloth nappy up in here when I'm ready to take the photograph. Look at this beautiful baby. So we're gonna shoot tethered, which means you're gonna be able to see my camera settings. I'm not really teaching camera settings and things like that today. I'm teaching safety. So you'll be able to see what my settings are and how I photograph them. Okay, I want you to bring your hand up just a little bit higher here. Good girl. And can you hold this up for me, nice and high? Yeah, you can keep your hand here. And can I see one of your beautiful smiles? Good job. And just bring your head down a little bit, rest it down here. That's it girl. Okay. So, looking up at me. Where did mommy go? There's she is. I'm back here. Okay, can you look right up here into the camera, and I'll take a quick photo? Good job, bring your head down a little bit. That's it girl. Okay, ready? One, two, three. Hand down! Boop! There she is! (whispering) Oh, so we can put some light on Margaret's face. So, Vivianne just wanted to know why mommy was holding up a towel, so cute. So the light is bouncing off the towel and coming down onto Margaret's face. You can still see mommy. You can hold it down a little bit actually, so she can still see you. Oh, you want it up high? Okay. Well you hold you hold your hand down here for me, and bring your head a little bit closer. Good job. Okay, and looking up at me. Well done. With camera, it's up here. Camera click. Oh, that is beautiful! Do you wanna see? That is gorgeous! Do you think that you could give Margaret a little kiss on top of the head? Well done. Two frames, and we're done. How cute is that? So simple. You did a really great job. Well done. That's all I have to do. Their attention span, at this point, they're done. They don't need to have anymore photos and they don't need us continually fussing over them. I just, it can't get any easier than that. (laughing) You were such a good model! Okay, so what I'm gonna do here, and this is what I do in my session, is let them know not to move until I have removed the baby from this place. Well done. Shh. So from here, in a normal session, when I'm going into my shoot, if I have a beautiful sleeping baby like this, I'm gonna continue to photograph it. I will place it back down on the flokati and get a couple more shots. Like a couple more close-up detail shots and things like that. If the baby was awake and settled, I would still photograph them like this, with the toddler, as long as they're calm, and not kind of wriggling around or anything like that. Look at that! That's so cute! What parent is not gonna love those photographs? So simple, so easy. So, yeah. Do we have any questions at the moment, Kenna? We haven't any in here. We are getting a number of questions that are things that maybe you've covered in previous classes. Yeah. So things like, where do you get the particular fabrics? Or what would happen if you had newborns twins, along with the sibling? Or, if you had an additional sibling, would you ever put them just on the floor, because there were multiples? Yes. If you do have more than one sibling, more than one older sibling, there's too many of them for the bag, you would definitely create a comfortable place for them on the floor. Actually, the flokati rug is great. I have about five of them and I like to layer them to make a nice soft background, but if you have like a sheet of foam, or something, that you can put on the ground to make it nice and comfortable for them, toddlers want to be comfortable. If they're not comfortable, they're not gonna lay down. If the surface is hard, they're not gonna stay there for too long, so you've gotta be really careful of that. Look at this baby. She's sound asleep. But yeah, in terms of like, all my fabrics, and things like that, I think I've mentioned a few times where I get most of my stuff. Yeah, they're from multiple different places, but I do have a supplies guide on my website. That's free, so they can go in and download that. It's got a list of all the different prop vendors and things like that that I use. What I was gonna mention is, if there were two of these little people, and one sibling, I would have one on either side, positioned exactly the same way, but you'd have to make sure that your lighting is nice and even as well in that case. It does take a little bit to get two babies sound asleep at the same time for a sibling, and then a sibling to coordinate. I've done it. I recently had to do it for a friend of mine who had twins and she had two older boys, as well. So, I had the two older boys in the middle, and then I had one sibling on the outside of each arm, on the two of them. And I did that set up on the floor, with multiple flokatis. So I made sure that it was nice and comfortable and made sure that they were all really supported. Oh, yeah, we have a question here if you wanna pass down the mic please. So if you have a parent who really wants sibling shots but siblings who do not wanna participate, how long do you try? Yeah, that's a good question actually. So, in terms of how long would I try to get a sibling shot, if it's not working. If I tried to do this and they are not gonna lay down, I'm not gonna force it. Let them go, let them play. Let them become more familiar with the environment. Relax. Focus your attention back on the baby. 'Cause what do all siblings want? Attention. Remove your attention from them, they're gonna wanna be a part of what it is that you're doing. Show them the back of your camera so they can see the photographs. Make them feel comfortable. Sometimes, it is just coming back later on. I did a shoot just before I came away, and I had, it was 18 months old, nearly two. He wasn't going to lay down and be a part of the photograph so what we did was, we put the baby in a bucket, an upright bucket, we photographed the baby, then we brought the sibling in, once the baby was out of the bucket. I don't leave the baby in the bucket when I'm doing those composite setups, because, at any point, the sibling could move the bucket, could bump the baby, but also, where I position the toddler is usually where I have my spotter. So the toddler then becomes between the baby and the spotter, which is not what we want. We want the spotter always there when a baby's inside a prop like that. Then, what I'll do is I'll play a game. If they've found a toy in my studio that they Like, then I'll put it, I'll hide it inside the bucket. So that that way, they're interested in sitting next to the bucket and they can play a game. I always tell my parents to stay seated in the lounge when I'm photographing their toddler as well when they're on their own because, I don't want the toddler looking at the parents behind the camera. You know, when they stand behind the camera, going Look at me, look at me! I'm not gonna get that connection I want to be able to get the photograph of the toddler looking at the camera. So I just say to them, "We're gonna go over here and play a little game. You can wait in the lounge, or yeah, if you stay over there, that way, they're gonna be focused on me, and not looking at you. You have to take control of that situation and guide the parents and let them know because their natural instinct is to come and stand behind the camera and wave around and make funny noises. Let's give this beautiful baby back to her mommy. Thank you so much. She's adorable. Thank you. You can leave the wrap on her. Oh my God, she's precious. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Baby Safety and Posing for Newborn Photographers Bonus Packet
Baby Safety and Posing Slides
Potato Sack and Frog Pose Editing Videos - Large 1.1 GB download

Ratings and Reviews

Lindsey Wall

Kelly Brown is one of my favorite teachers not just in newborn photography but photography and learning in general. Her patience is inspiring and she makes this job seem so much more enjoyable and installs passion in you to improve and be the best you can be! Kelly is an expert at what she does and is great at communicating how she does it. I have taken the Creative live baby bootcamp class which is actually what got me to want to go into newborn photography! Ive also purchased a few of her newborn posing courses and I love them all. I literally own my new blossoming little career to Kelly! I love creative live, I have just learned so much from these courses. They are constantly giving out new classes that are so affordable and such amazing resources for any photographer or professional. I am so lucky to have discovered them and Kelly Brown. Thank you Kelly and creative live!

Alice T.

This is an amazing class! Kelly Brown offers a wealth of information that is comprehensive and straightforward. She has such a soothing voice and such great patience that it translates into becoming a great presenter and instructor. Her methodology both in business and her art are sensible and desirable which has taken me up significantly. She has helped me in understanding this business and how to become successful while doing what I love in a profitable and safe manner for both my clients and myself!


Kelly is such a fantastic instructor! This class is wonderful for both beginners & intermediate newborn photographers to improve their posing and keep safety number one. Not only does Kelly teach you step by step how to safely pose, she also explains why she poses the way she does - which is so important. This class is a great resource to watch over and over again until we are all masters!

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