Can I bring my older children to a newborn photo shoot?
You’re expecting another baby. Congratulations! This is such an exciting time for your family, and no doubt a little more tiring than your first pregnancy now you have other children to look after.
One of the questions you may have is whether you can bring your older children to the newborn shoot. After all, that first photograph of your children together is going to be very precious to you.
You’ll probably find that every photographer has a different approach to newborn photography. Some will include parents and siblings in the newborn photo shoot as standard. Others may charge an additional fee.
In this article I’m going to talk specifically about newborn shoots with me. When you book a newborn shoot with me, family and sibling photographs are included as standard – there’s no extra charge. In particular I’ll cover:
- Timings in a newborn photo shoot
- Why I recommend that you only bring your older children for part of the shoot
- Things to do in the local area to entertain your older children whilst your baby is being photographed.
Timings in a newborn photo shoot
Before I explain why I recommend only bringing your older children to part of the shoot, it might be helpful to run through the structure of a newborn photo shoot.
Typically a newborn photo shoot at my studio will last between 3 to 4 hours. I know that sounds like a long time! But we won’t spend all of that time taking photographs.
I’ll usually start by photographing your new baby, and will spend the majority of the shoot focussed on them. Most babies will need some breaks during the shoot – perhaps for a feed, nappy change or just a cuddle with mum. The shoot is completely baby-led and so we’ll take our time and follow your baby’s lead.
At the end we’ll spend the last 20-30 minutes capturing family and sibling portraits – photographs of parents individually with your new baby, photographs of your children together, and photographs of you as a family. It’s only these 20-30 minutes out of the whole 3-4 hours that we will be involving your older children in the shoot.
The other thing to be aware of is that during a newborn shoot the studio is kept very warm – around 25-26 degrees so that your baby is comfortable when unwrapped. The downside of this is that the rest of us will feel very warm!
Why I recommend that you only bring your older children for part of the shoot
If your children are anything like mine, 3-4 hours in a very warm room is not going to feel very fun for them, regardless of how many snacks, books or toys you bring.
They will probably feel quite fed up by the time we come to take their photograph!
For this reason I always recommend that wherever possible one parent or a close friend or family member looks after your older children whilst you’re at the studio with your baby and brings them along for the last part of the session so that they arrive fresh and ready for their photographs.
Activities in the local area for your older children
Knowing now that it’s better to bring your older children at the end of the shoot, you might be wondering how you can entertain them during that time.
You may choose for one parent or a family member to stay at your home with your older children, and keep them entertained locally. But if you’d prefer to do something local to the studio, there are lots of things to do close by.
Things to do within walking distance of the studio
Visit Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is a 12 minute walk from the studio, and has plenty to entertain little ones.
From Easter to October the Magic Garden, a truly magical children’s playground is open and is sure to entertain your little ones for a few hours. If the weather is warm enough, your children might like to splash in the fountains, and build castles in the sandpit so do bring a towel and a change of clothes!
All year round there are plenty of other things to do at the palace. You could get lost in the maze, explore the formal gardens, or look around the palace. During the school holidays there are often special activities put on for children too.
Visit A Playground On The River Thames
You can reach the River Thames in around 10 minutes from the studio. From there, you can walk along the river up to East Molesey Cricket club. Just before you reach the cricket club, there’s a children’s playground. You can also grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat at Eight On The River, which is next to the playground or at The Clubhouse 1871 which is inside the cricket club.
Cafes and Restaurants on Bridge Road
If you’d prefer the coffee and food without the walk, there are lots of cafes and restaurants on Bridge Road, which is just a 6 minute walk from the studio.
My personal favourite for children is the Mada Deli, which has indoor and outdoor seating and a children’s menu with light bites like sandwiches, scrambled egg or baked beans on toast.
Things to do a short drive from the studio
If you don’t mind a short drive, there are a few other things you can do close to the studio.
The Play Cafe at Sandown Racecourse
The Play Cafe is a lovely soft play for children under 5 years old. It has an indoor area, and a small garden. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Claremont Landscape Gardens
These National Trust gardens in Esher are a beautiful place to spend time throughout the year. As well as a huge amount of space to explore, there’s also a children’s playground and a cafe.
You could walk to Bushy Park from the studio, but it may be a little bit too far for little legs. There’s so much to explore in Bushy Park, but my favourites areas for children are The Woodland Garden, which includes The Pheasantry Cafe, and the playground, which you can walk to from the main car park.
Garsons is a garden centre, pick your own farm, farm shop and restaurant in Esher. There’s also a lovely playground outside.
During the summer months you can take your children to pick their own fruit or vegetables, and in the run up to Christmas they can meet Santa’s reindeer.
Across the road from Garsons is West End Green, where your children can stretch their legs and see the ducks in the duck pond.
I hope that this article has helped you to plan how you’ll entertain your older children during your newborn photo shoot.
I completely understand that sometimes you won’t have anyone else who can look after your older children whilst you’re at the shoot with your baby and if this is the case for you please don’t worry. If this is the case for you please do let me know and we can figure it out together.
- Related article: How to prepare your children for a photo shoot
Over to you
What other questions do you have about bringing your older children to a photo shoot? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you.