Taking photos of a single newborn comes with challenges, but imagine if you had two at the same time! How do you light newborn twins to avoid one casting shadows on the other? How do you pose them? What about settings and which twin do you focus on?
This was a topic we’ve been wanting to write about for some time. So when Click Love Grow Advanced Grad and family photographer Charlie O’Neill shared a stunning newborn twins photography session she shot recently, we asked her to share everything she learned!
Read on to grab her easy tips for taking photos of newborn twins at home…
I recently had the pleasure of photographing newborn twins and I fell in love. Twins have the most special relationship and it’s incredible to see and capture it, even as babies.
A twins photoshoot is not as scary as some people think! There are some small considerations to make around positioning in relation to the light source, aperture and where to focus… but it’s actually not that far removed from taking photos of a single newborn baby.
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Soft natural light from a window is the easiest way to light newborns for photos, and newborn twins are no different.
During the photo session, I lit both babies and positioned them just as I would for one, using soft natural light with the top of the baby’s head nearest the window whenever possible. In this way, the light washes down their bodies rather than up-lighting them.
You can also use top-down lighting when the babies are in a basket, their bed, or in someone’s arms. In this set-up with the Moses basket, I positioned the basket so the top was close to a lar
I also used side lighting for a more dramatic look which is easiest with one baby. When doing this, expose for the highlights and check that the light and shadows blend well to avoid jarring hard light shadows.
I did have some success with side lighting with both babies, but you need to be more mindful of their positioning.
It works best with the babies on their back and a good amount of ambient light so that the light can reach both of them. If you want to sidelight the babies on their side facing one another, you need to be mindful of shadows on the baby positioned with their back to the light.
To avoid unwanted shadows in your images, place the babies on the floor or a surface lower than the window so that the light falls down onto them. Another option would be to use a reflector on the opposite side to the window to bounce the light back onto the baby’s face.
I also took some family photos outdoors, which made lighting the newborn twins a breeze! This series was done toward the end of the session, in the early evening when the light was soft and golden, which helped avoid harsh highlights and shadows.
I ensured the sun was always to the side or behind my subjects to avoid them needing to squint.
The issue of timing when capturing photos of newborn twins is no different to a single newborn, in that it requires patience and flexibility. But this is doubly so with twins, as you’re dealing with two babies who may be on different schedules or have different personalities, so schedule lots of extra time for feeding, changing, and soothing.
Plan the photoshoot at a time of day when the babies are normally at their most content, fed and changed. This makes it easier to get the more posed photos, and if they do get fussy, this can be a good time to take photos of them being held.
Lastly… if things don’t go exactly as planned, just go with it!
My main goal when taking pictures of any newborn or family is to show a connection. And this is no different when newborn twins are involved.
I wanted to show a connection between the babies but also individual connections between them and their parents and any siblings.
So I aimed to capture a combination of posing the twins together, on their own, with big sister, with each parent and as a full family.
The Moses basket is my best friend for newborn twins photos. I love that you can lay a baby in a basket and instantly it feels like a planned, posed shot. In the basket I captured the following poses:
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Another of my favourite places to take photos of babies is on their parents’ bed! These are the poses I love the most:
Easy poses with the parents that I like to try and get:
Related: 101 Lifestyle Newborn Photo Ideas
I love to shoot fairly wide open to let light in and create a nice blurred background, which helps make newborn twins photography soft and dreamy.
But with twins, you need to get them both in focus while still creating that nice blur, so the priority is aperture. I shot at f/3.2 whilst also ensuring my shutter speed didn’t drop below 1/250.
All of the shots of the twins together were shot around aperture f/3.2, shutter speed 1/250s and ISO 500. I shoot wider when taking photos of the newborn twins on their own and details, and narrower when photographing the whole family.
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When the twins are positioned on the same focal plane, you can focus on either baby’s eye. If one twin is closer to the camera, grab focus on that baby’s eyes. You can also zoom in to check both babies are in sharp focus, which you can achieve with a slightly narrower aperture than you might use when capturing just one baby.
Related: How to Get Groups in Focus
When babies are on the same focal plane, you can focus on either one and get both in sharp focus.When babies are on the same focal plane, you can focus on either one and get both in sharp focus.
Charlie O’Neill is a CLG Advanced Graduate and professional photographer based in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, where she specialises in lifestyle family and newborn photography at Charlotte Oliver Photography.