Big brother Cade helps welcome baby brother Roman in this gorgeous at-home newborn photo session
I knew as soon as I met Andrea on the day of her in-home newborn photo session that this was going to be one of my most favorites 2021.
Her beautiful home was decorated in neutral shades – lots of black and white – and these colors always photograph like a dream. She had lots of pictures on her walls, so I could tell that memories of her family were incredibly important to her. But perhaps most importantly, she and her family were 100 percent ready to begin the session as soon as I walked in the door.
That’s not usually the case in families that have two young kids, including a toddler and a newborn. When I’m working with a family adjusting to two children, I arrive knowing that they’ll probably need a few more minutes to get ready – and that’s perfectly fine!
But when a mama greets me at the door with her family all gathered in one place, ready to go, it’s such an unexpected, wonderful gift. I know that quite a bit of planning went into being ready on time, and I appreciate that so much – even though I certainly don’t expect that to be the case with new parents!
Welcoming Roman with a beautiful in-home newborn photo session
Andrea’s favorite room is at the very front of her home, just to the right of her front door. It features huge windows along one wall, facing their porch. Sunlight streams in, making everything look so bright and cheerful. There’s a comfy couch and classy black and white rug, along with a side table featuring a vintage record player, with stacks of records.
This is where Andrea snuggles on the sectional with her husband and two boys as we begin her newborn session. Their chihuahua, Khaleesi, even poses for several photos throughout the session, and the family’s nanny is waiting nearby with Cheerios to reward big brother Cade for his sweet smiles.
While Cade, just shy of two years old, started off being a little shy around me, it didn’t take long for him to warm up! Toddlers this age tend to do best in the first 20 minutes of a photo session, when they’re not quite sure about the stranger with a big camera. Most of them want to be close to mom and dad because I’m an unfamiliar face, making it quick and easy to capture those must-have images of everyone snuggled together with the new baby.
Adapting the session for working dads
One silver lining of the pandemic has been that most new dads are able to work from home. Lots of men are already back at work by the time the family schedules newborn photos, but that’s not a problem for an at-home session. I’m used to working around whatever time constraints clients have, and that includes accomodating work-from-home schedules.
Andrea’s husband Taylor was working on and off the morning of their newborn photos, and the family requested that I photograph the family + dad and baby right away so that he could get back to work. With everyone ready to go right away when I arrived, it was quick and easy to fly through the family photos, and then spend a little time with just Taylor and Roman. I love how even seasoned dads with more than one child are so quick to soften up when they snuggle with their newborns. It’s obvious that Taylor loves these little moments with his newest son.
Me working with just dad and baby also gave Cade a little break from photos, which is fantastic when working with a toddler. The family’s nanny gave him a snack and let him work out some wiggles so that he’d be ready for more photos with his mama and baby brother.
Snuggles in the master bedroom
Andrea also wanted to use her master bedroom, one of my favorite places to capture a family. After a few more photos of everyone together, I worked with just mama and baby on the bed together. The light was beautiful and I loved working in the couple’s wedding photo hanging above the bed.
Usually clients do not share with me before a session which rooms they want to use for photos. I’ve photographed sessions where we use three or four spaces in a home, and I’ve photographed entire sessions in one room (usually the nursery). I’m totally flexible and happy to work in whatever spaces are easiest or most meaningful to you.
Photographing toddlers and newborns together
I’m also very flexible with how we photograph siblings, especially when I’m working with kids younger than about six. Some kids do well while holding a new baby, while others don’t have much patience for it. The best place to photograph little kids is in the center of the bed, where baby can’t go anywhere if big brother or sister suddenly gets restless or tired of holding them.
Cade and Roman both seemed happier being photographed together with mom or dad present. These are some really precious moments with each parent enjoying cuddles with both kids together.
Wrapping up on a fun note
I tend to chat a lot with clients during photo sessions. This helps everyone feel relaxed. Silence during a session is uncomfortable for everyone! For the last series of photos, Andrea wanted to get just a few more family shots on the couch in her favorite room.
She had shared with me while I worked with just her and Roman that she’d be happy to have one more baby, but Taylor felt content with just two kids. The newborn stage with Cade had been challenging, and both parents were relieved that Roman had been pretty easy so far.
Once everyone was settled, I asked them to smile at me and say “Let’s have THREE babies!” and the look on Taylor’s face was just priceless! He was genuinly caught off guard, which made for a pretty hilarious photo. I included it in the gallery for Andrea to see, and she absolutely included it as one of her favorites to keep forever!
Candid moments like these are wonderful to have alongside the more traditional “look at me and smile” photos that you frame in the living room. Photos are about so much more than what you wear – they’re also about how you felt. If a photo session is awkward and uncomfortable, no matter beautiful the images are, you’ll always remember the awkwardness when you look at the pictures.
But moments like this… these are memories that will always make you smile. I love to send galleries to clients full of the traditional moments and the unexpected ones too. Andrea and Taylor wound up with a photo gallery full of gorgeous memories of their two boys, and pictures they’ll treature for a lifetime.