I have photographed newborns for over ten years now. Newborn twins have certainly been quite a steep learning curve for me. Learning little way to get the most out of the session and getting both newborn babies to settle at the same time certainly can be tricky.
When to schedule newborn twins photography session?
Newborn twins photoshoots are different from your normal newborn sessions. Especially in terms of when you should schedule the session. Twin newborns generally arrive much earlier than a due date given. At least so far every newborn pair has arrived very early.
Babies would arrive around 4 weeks early and would be put into NICU under observation. They would be really small, very often around 5 lb/2.3kg. Sometimes one of them could be even under that weight. This also would mean that babies could be a bit skinny. My preference would be to wait out a bit, let the weight to grow to around 6lb and then do the session.
Since babies are so small, they are also much sleepier and will stay like that long too. I have done with no problems newborn twins sessions even at around 7 week age. So you have time to play with and get ready for the session, get your props in place, think of ideas etc.
In recent years I have found a little routine I stick to and it seems working. Fingers crossed here.
Pre Session planning.
Try to find out the gender of the babies so you know what colour schemes you might need. Don’t forget that if the family is expecting two boys/girls, you need a double set of wraps, hats, headbands etc. If you plan this ahead, then you have time to source and prepare these items.
It also gives you an option to talk with parents about colours and what they would like to do with their portraits. Preparation probably would be a key here. If parents don’t know genders, then you will have a few weeks from the moment babies arrive. Might just need to act quickly to get things in place and look for companies which sell read to ship items.
Extra hands to help during the newborn session.
I would strongly advise you to get an extra person on the set to help you during the session. Ideally, that would be a buddy newborn photographer or someone who is very confident with kids. Parents are way too tired to help you. Both mum and dad have taken shifts to juggle feeds and changes. I always have at least one more person on the set.
Sessions can last easily 4 hours and trust me parents will appreciate a little break from routine. I also recommend having a little baby transition station. This is simply to put one of the babies or both of them in a neutral safe place while you change over the set. I use a very large basket for this and if we need to take one baby away, we can always wrap up baby and place in the basket next to us.
What do I do during twin newborn photoshoot?
First thing what I do when babies arrive, I ask parents about feeding part. Normally twin babies eat separately, but if they are bottle-fed then this can be done simultaneously. We would feed the babies, burp them very well if needed change them. I would then straight away go for a full/half wrapped portraits.
Wrapped newborns settle quicker and twins are very much used to be snug in mums belly. So they love to be swaddled. I then get my wrap portraits done. Very often these could be potato sack photos or family portraits. You can also place them on the carpet and do the more interesting wrapping.
During the session.
There will be times during the session when one of the babies doesn’t play the ball. Normally it is the one which always is a great sleeper at home :) There always is one… So very often instead of trying to fight and get this baby into the position, I would remove the baby in transition station. Wrap up baby snug and move it away.
The reason you would want to do this is if you try to battle with unsettled baby and another one is asleep, the chances are that you will wake up sleepy baby and then you have lost both of them. This way you have at least one of them to work with.
What kind of props for newborn twin sessions.
I have a few go-to props I always use. Generally, you would want a props large enough to fit two babies. Large basket, bowl or box work well. I have all of these.
I also have raw wool layers which I use to fill the area and place the babies in it. Parents call this like a cloud image. It is very soft and adds loads of texture to the image. Plus you can buy these in so many shades of colours.
Family photos with twins.
Don’t be afraid to stack babies on each other. I have found that very often they even settle better as they are close to each other. Don’t forget that whoever is holding babies, they have double weight on their arms so you have to move a bit quicker and get things done.
You can also do portraits where each of the parents holds one baby. Depends on how are you envisioning these family portraits.
Sibling photos with twins.
I had few times dealing with siblings during the twin’s sessions. Let me tell you, it is not easy :) Especially if one of the twins doesn’t want to play the ball at all. I always recommend wrapping both babies and then do sibling poses.
Mum and newborn twins.
Same rules apply as per family photos.
Dad with newborn twins babies
Get some nice cuddly portraits, kissing, looking at the babies.