I always knew I wanted more than one child. Even in the thick of new motherhood, sleep deprived and struggling with the enormity of raising a baby into a self sufficient adult, I knew I would do it all again just for the sake of giving my daughter a sibling. Not everyone feels the same – and that’s totally OK – but my family didn’t feel whole until my son was born.
Siblings are a vital part of our family legacy, and I love documenting that value through photography. I experience so much joy when I capture an image of my two babies together. It doesn’t have to be photographically perfect. As long as it somehow documents their budding friendship and sibling relationship, I’m happy.
So, in honor of National Siblings Day, here are my 5 tips to photograph siblings…
1. Give Clear Directives: Photographing siblings is like using all your parental communication skills at once. When giving your children directives, be extremely clear and give only one instruction at a time. “Give him a hug” can result in an image of arms flaying and covered faces. Instead, use directives like, “Put your head on his shoulder” or “Get cheek to cheek.” Simple directives will help create the image you’re looking for.
2. Contain Them: Photographing siblings is much easier when they’re contained. Without the stress of one running off, you can focus on encouraging engagement for a fun, lively shot. While they’re enjoying a ride in the wagon (like above), dip in the bath tub or pool or in a playhouse together, use that opportunity to capture some touching images.
3. Use the Continuous Shooting Mode: Most cameras have a continuous shooting mode setting. Use it! Moments between siblings happen fast. They go from wildly in love to all out war in a matter of minutes. Use the continuous shooting mode to capture all the moments in between. You’ll love looking back at those images later on.
4. Keep Shutter Speeds High: To avoid blurred chaos, keep the shutter speeds high when shooting siblings. Many DSLR have a Shutter Speed Priority setting (Tv on Canon) that make it easier. On the flip side, document movement of older kids jumping on a trampoline or running together to create a different feel.
5. Pucker up: I adore portraits of my kids. But equally so are the images that document the engagement and action in a sibling relationship. Ask your little ones to pucker up for a kiss or give each other a high five. Capture your children feeding each other at a park picnic or discovering the fish in the pond. Think about your everyday lives and how your children engage with one another, and document those moments.