Here’s how to take the best sibling pictures (and make it look like they actually love each other!)

how to get siblings to take great photos

Do you have siblings that you want to photograph together in a sweet, loveable manner? Getting kiddos to interact with each other without shoving one another down can be a challenge! There are moments at home where big brother is so adorably sweet to little sister, but as luck would have it, they’re usually in a messy room and wearing last night’s pajamas and slept-on hair. At a photo shoot, a parent’s dream is to recreate these moments (but with washed faces and better clothes!) Making that dream become reality can be extremely challenging though. Kids usually don’t cooperate as much as we’d like, or they get a little overzealous in their attempts and end up making little sister cry when they hug or tickle too much. How do you get those sweet moments without the drama?

Here are some things that usually work for me:

Ask them to show affection

Some kiddos might be more into tattling and fighting over toys than hugging, but at the end of the day, they usually have a deep well of love for each other—have you seen just how protective siblings can be? Draw from that (sometimes hidden) well of love in your pictures. A few things you can say:

  • Can you give little brother (or sister) a kiss on the cheek? Kind of by their ear?
  • Can you all give each other a very soft, sweet hug?
  • Now, can you look at each other while you’re hugging?
  • Now look at me while you’re hugging.

Don’t have a camera? Krista discusses how to buy an affordable pro-grade camera HERE

Hold hands

This is along the same lines as the hugging, but it’s a bit less touchy and can give some great shots. A few scripts for this:

  • Can you all very gently hold hands– and look at each other while holding hands?
  • Now can you look at me? Keep holding hands!
  • While you’re holding hands, can you jump up and down? Now stop! Okay go! 
  • While you’re holding hands, let’s play red light green light. When I say green light walk towards me! Red light, stop!
  • Can you hold hands and wiggle? Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle! 
  • Can you hold hands and dance? 


Probably more than any other humans, kids love celebrations! It makes sense: class birthday parties, friend’s birthday parties, their own birthday parties (that they talk about every day eight months ahead of their actual birthdays) —kids love to have fun and have a party. Pretend the photo shoot is a major celebration and ask the kids to do the following:

  • Can you give each other a high five? Low five?
  • Can you jump up and down like it’s Christmas morning?
  • Can you pretend your brother/sister just gave you the best present ever and smile and say “yay!”?

Play a silly game

This whole thing might feel like a silly game to a child, but you can enhance the fun factor and get major smiles by doing the following. Ask them:

  • Can you put your backs together and look over at me? Now wiggle!
  • Can you do: “1-2-3-4 I declare a thumb war!!!” (for kiddos old enough to know the game)
  • Who is the fastest at slap hands? Let’s see…. Too slow! (Again, for older kiddos—make sure they don’t get too overly-enthusiastic about this and get to the point where they slap too hard!)

Make faces

  • If at any point they start to glaze over and get that glassy-eyed, bored look, we make some silly faces. “Okay, let’s see who can make the silliest face… Ready? Mad face! Sad face! Confused face! Happy face! Excited face!” 

What ideas have worked well for you? Leave us a comment below and tell us about it! Also, we’d love to see any photos you capture while using these techniques! Hashtag #RealLifeCaptured on Instagram or Facebook.

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Krista Lee is a Nashville, TN based portrait and wedding photographer. See her work and professional site at

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