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How to Prepare Your Toddler for a New Sibling’s Photo Shoot

Congrats! Your family just grew by one more beautiful little person. While it is exciting to capture their relationship in pictures, it can be a challenge balancing the needs of your toddler with your new addition. I encounter this every time I do a newborn shoot with a big brother or sister, and I’ve come up with some advice to help keep your toddler smiling while managing that tiny new baby. It may seem daunting but follow these tips and we’ll come out the other side happy with some great photos.

Getting Your Toddler Emotionally Ready for the Session

Don’t spring the shoot on your little one! Things will go much smoother if you talk it through with them first. Let them know what to expect. Answer their questions and calm their fears with measured but excited language. This is going to be a big day and you want them pumped, but still aware that their little brother or sister will be getting a lot of the spotlight. 

As the day approaches, have your toddler participate in the preparations so they feel more involved. They can pick toys or accessories for their younger sibling. The more you can make them feel included, the more likely they will support the baby during the photo session. 

Choosing the Outfits for Your Toddler and Newborn

As you select your family outfits, include your toddler. Have them model the clothes and do a little fashion show for the family. Since you’ll be putting together matching or color-coded outfits, this will make the toddler feel more connected to the baby and the shoot.

While you’re making sure your toddler looks amazing, don’t forget about comfort. Use this prep time to test that the outfits allow them to move and feel at ease. Avoid clothes that have too many buttons or intricate fasteners which may be annoying or difficult to use. If your toddler is getting annoyed or anxious in the clothes, that’s a good sign you might need to switch it up a bit.

Involving Your Toddler in the Shoot

The big day is here! Trust that your photographer will come up with creative ways to feature the siblings together. The photographer may place the toddler’s hand in the newborn’s hand, or have the toddler give the newborn a gentle kiss on the cheek. These shots show the love and bond between the two siblings. Allowing the children to interact naturally and playfully will give you some wonderfully authentic photos.

To keep your toddler’s attention, the photographer might incorporate beloved toys or activities into the session. It might be as simple as playing a game of peek-a-boo with the new baby. Always work with the photographer to make the process seamless, as they will have a lot of experience capturing the perfect shots.

Managing Toddler Tantrums

Toddlers can get grouchy, angry, or burst into tears while taking a picture. While it might feel a bit embarrassing or frustrating, know that we photographers see this in practically every session. There are some things you can do to keep the tantrums to a minimum. Make sure your toddler is well-rested and has eaten before the shoot. Bring their favorite snacks or toys to keep them busy during breaks. If they need rest or a break, say so! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to calm your child down so they can get back to being their adorable selves for the camera.

I hope this helps! Please reach out to me if you have any other questions; I specialize in these shoots, and I’ve pretty much seen it all! By talking it through with your little one, letting them help with preparation, encouraging fun, loving interplay during the shoot, and treating blow-ups with good humor and patience, you can make this special experience a happy memory for the whole family. 


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