Sibling Love: Preparing Older Children for Newborn Photos

Many families plan a newborn photography session upon the arrival of a new baby. Whether this session takes place in the hospital, at home, or at a studio, it is important to plan so you have an experience that’s memorable for all the right reasons. If you have older children, it may be necessary to prepare them ahead of time. Here are our top tips for preparing your older children for newborn photos.

Preparing older children

  • Introduce the idea in a positive way. Start talking to your older child(ren) about the upcoming photoshoot in a positive and exciting manner. Emphasize the opportunity to capture special moments with the new baby.

  • Involve big siblings in the planning process. Asking for their input is a great way to involve big siblings before the big day. Allow them to be part of choosing a special outfit, toy, or blanket for their newest sibling’s photoshoot. This can help increase their excitement and is a fun way to introduce the concept of a photoshoot.

  • Share sample photos. A sample photo gallery can help you and your child set expectations for the event. Show your older child(ren) fun poses and discuss how they can be involved. Highlight photos that capture a special moment between older siblings and the newborn such as a gentle kiss or peeking into the bassinet to see the baby. See our sample images below for a starting reference.

  • Set realistic expectations. Explain to your child what to expect during the session. They will have the chance to take pictures with their sibling and as a family, then they get to relax and have fun watching the photographer take a few pictures of their baby sibling alone. Remind them that their baby sibling may cry during the session and assure them that the baby is alright and it is normal for them to cry.

  • A girl wearing a black shirt lying on a white background. Her newborn brother is lying next to her, and their heads are touching. The girl is holding the baby with the fingertips of her left hand on his shoulder and her hand resting down his side. Her right hand rests on his torso. The baby is wrapped in a blue blanket and is wearing a dark blue hat. The girl’s smile shows her multi-colored braces.
  • A seated woman holds her newborn baby in her left arm. She is looking down at the baby and smiling. Her right hand rests on her older child's right shoulder. The child's left shoulder faces her mother as she turns to face the newborn baby and lightly touches the baby's nose with her right index finger. The baby's father stands slightly behind and to the left of the mother and children. He is leaning down toward them and looking at the baby.
  • A newborn baby lying on a flat, white surface. The sleeping baby is swaddled and the baby's head is turned to the right toward the camera. The baby's older sibling leans in from behind the baby. The child's left hand rests lightly on the baby. The child is looking slightly upward toward the camera and smiling.
  • In the back, the torsos and just the lower portion of the faces of two adults are visible. In front of them their two young children kiss the temples of a newborn baby. The top of the baby's head faces the camera, so nothing more than the baby's head and pink bow are visible. The adults' hands are visible supporting the newborn's head and the older children's hands overlap with their parents'.
  • A child kneels on the seat of a couch that is just visible on the right side of the frame. A clear, hospital bassinet fills the remaining 2/3 of space. The child is barefoot, wearing shorts and a pink t-shirt. The child faces the bassinet with both hands on the edge of the bassinet. The child looks at the newborn baby in the bassinet. The baby is swaddle snuggly. The top of the baby's head faces the camera so only the newborns head and the length of its body are visible.

What to bring

  • Think about color when choosing outfits for the family. Consider how you can coordinate the outfits for mom, dad & older sibling(s) with your new arrival’s picture day outfit. Neutral colors are great for creating a timeless look. If you prefer color, select items in pastel or muted tones. Bright colors like reds may cast color on the wall or surrounding family members in your photographs.

  • Avoid heavy patterns and large logos. Large logos or complex patterns may be distracting. For a clean look, we recommend that family members wear solid colors during their newborn session. If you plan to wear a patterned item, we recommend no more than two family members wear the pattern. This will help keep the focus on you and your family.

  • Choose comfortable clothing. While you may certainly dress more formally, most families wear jeans and a T-shirt for their in-hospital sessions. Some moms choose to stay in a robe or hospital gown. Clothing that is restrictive or “itchy” is likely to make you or your child uncomfortable. Picking clothing that makes you and your child feel comfortable and confident can help create a smooth and enjoyable session.

  • Consider bringing a favorite toy or stuffed animal. A favorite toy or stuffed animal can help keep a young child occupied while your photographer takes solo pictures of your newborn. Your photographer can also use this toy as a prop to spark your child’s engagement and encourage them to interact with their baby sibling during the session.

On photo day

  • Allow time to get ready before your session. Plan ahead if you would like time to shower, dress, or apply makeup before your in-hospital photos. Your photographer will do their best to accommodate if you need a few minutes to prepare for your session, but we will require time to process your images and see all the other new babies during our hospital hours. We may not be available later in the day.

  • Have siblings arrive dressed if possible. To make your session as efficient as possible, we recommend having siblings arrive dressed in their photoshoot outfits. The less time needed to adjust clothing and hair means more time your photographer can spend capturing your children interacting with their new sibling.

  • Make sure your older child is comfortable. Bring a snack or have a meal before the photoshoot. If your child is in diapers or pull-ups, make sure they are clean and dry before your photographer arrives. Making your older children as comfortable as possible can go a long way toward ensuring their cooperation during the session.

  • Be patient if things don’t go quite to plan. Being in the hospital can be overwhelming, especially for younger children. Your photographer will do their best to accommodate if you need additional time during the session to soothe an upset child. You may also consider reminding your child that the session will not take long or offering a small reward or incentive to motivate older sibling(s) to participate during the session.


Preparing for newborn photos as a family involves careful planning. If you plan to have your older child(ren) present, it may help to begin the discussion early and focus on creating a positive and inclusive experience. We hope incorporating these tips can help you create an enjoyable newborn photoshoot for the entire family. Enjoy the journey and cherish every moment!