Bringing a baby home is an exciting time.
There is a different energy in the house and everyone is adjusting to a new norm.
With an energetic toddler already at home, documenting this change can seem daunting and photographing toddlers creates its own set of challenges. Instead of suppressing your toddler’s spirit, incorporate his or her energy into capturing your new day-to-day.
1. Engage your toddler first.
Before even picking up the camera, spend some time with your toddler. The transition to big brother or big sister is different for every child so overindulge them in attention before asking them to take photos with their new sibling. You know your child best, and what works well. Sit or kneel down near the older sibling and just play with their favorite toys for a while. Life with a newborn can be a blur and it adds to the photographic memory of what the older sibling was interested in during this special time.
2. Embrace movement.
Run! Jump! Chase! Bounce! These are all things our kids do. Life with young children is never static and when a newborn comes home that doesn’t change. Documenting your new reality creates an interesting visual dichotomy.
3. Redirect the energy.
Toddlers love to be helpful. When photographing your children together, ask your toddler to count the baby’s fingers, to find the baby’s nose or to give the baby a kiss. If the toddler is interested, ask him or her to help by getting baby to “smile.”
4. Get creative.
We all want photos of our kids together but it is important to gauge our toddler’s temperament. Toddlers can be unpredictable, and it is essential not to force anything. If the sibling is unable or unwilling to hold the baby, that is okay. Instead, get creative. The toddler doesn’t have to hold the baby for you to have a photo of them together. One solution is to have one parent hold or sit with the kids and then crop in.
5. Hand the camera over.
Don’t forget to document yourself or partner with the older sibling(s). A lot of attention might be being paid to the baby and these weeks may seem like a blur later on. You’ll love having photos of yourself with your other child(ren) later on. Kids love attention, especially from mom who has been spending more time with the baby. Hand over the camera to someone else or use the self-timer. Instead of trying a posed photo capture genuine moments of love by goofing around with the older sibling.
6. Don’t forget the details.
Photograph the difference in size between the children. This can be done by photographing hands, toes or even by using shoes or clothes.
7. Capture the downtime.
Whether it is reading in his or her favorite chair, eating breakfast, or the rare moment of your child playing independently use this opportunity to document the calm.
8. Break time.
Everyone needs some time away from the camera and toddlers are no different. A significant transition just occurred in their life and a period of adjustment is needed. Give your child a break and try taking photos later. Have one parent spend some one-on-one time with them away from the camera or let them play independently. Use this opportunity to focus on photographing your newest addition.