We’ve been wanting to write a Blog on safety in newborn photography for a long time. It’s something we are very passionate about & we are proud of this.
We’ve been newborn photographers for a few years, and recently have seen a huge increase in the popularity in this genre, we’ve seen and heard of some really scary practices when posing fragile newborn babies. The industry unfortunately, is completely unregulated, any photographer can claim to be a specialist with newborn, but how many have been trained in the safety practices of posing? This is where it gets tough, with so much competition out there, everyone want’s to book the job & with the introduction of pinterest, people tend to show an image & say, “I wan’t that” & most will oblige, thinking, how hard can that be? We absolutely love the thrill of taking the elusive shot, the perfect pose, the windy smile, though it’s really important to never compromise the safety of a baby. We have invested ourselves heavily in safety & posing training, over the last 3 years & have had regular 1-2-1 training, with the UK’s leading Newborn photographer. Our reason for doing this, was to ensure we were correctly learning the more complicated poses, that although look easy, really aren’t. We also made sure, we got proper hands on experience, you can’t learn that from a book or a Youtube video. We still go for regular training 3-4 times a year.
Debs & I have a system, it may seem crazy to some but for us it works. Debbie poses the babies & I shoot them. Seems crazy to say I shoot them, when we are talking about safety, but you know what I mean. I also do the editing too, which is where my hard work starts. We decided this was best for us, as it meant we could be working really safely & each build up confidence & skills individually. It also means Debbie gets Pooped, pee’d & thrown up on & I don’t 🙂
During the session, you will be in my house & our home studio, you will be entrusting your newborn with us. This is huge for us. Debbie is handling them, soothing them & we’re watching their every move to be anticipating their needs. For us, a session can last up to 4 hours, we only ever book in 1 Newborn a day, so we know that we can be giving our full attention to you & your baby. Within that time, we keep nice & calm & patient, we read your baby & know when baby may need a feed, break or a cuddle with mum & dad & allow for this.
I think what most people don’t realise it exactly how some of the more complex images are created. Most of these are a series of images composted together in Photoshop. In some shots, babies haven’t been in the prop in the final image, like the examples below.
When we use props, such as baskets & bowls, we always put something heavy in the base to keep it weighted down. There is always a risk of a tipping prop, it shouldn’t be left to chance. We also line edges with soft padding & posing aids. Most importantly, we always have a spotter next to baby, supporting head & neck.
When we pose babies on their arms, we like to keep their head supported by a finger or a hand. We then take a series of images & will use photoshop to create the final image. This isn’t always necessary, but we will always aim for this.
This is the “froggy” pose. It’s my favorite pose, but it’s also the hardest & the most dangerous if not done safely. For us, it was YEARS of doing newborns, even after our training, before we even attempted this pose! We don’t do it with all babies, Debbie now knows which babies will froggy & which won’t. Babies need to be super sleepy and really relaxed for this. I’m really hesitant to post how this is done as a composite, that’s just due to seeing so many people posting awful versions, that aren’t safely posed & even ones who don’t seem to know the basics, wanting to walk before they can run. The scariest comment we had was “how do you get the hands to stay? Everytime I do this, when i take my hands away to take the shot, they never stay together & baby always falls forward” Please, please please don’t attempt this pose if you have never been shown how to, by someone who can. Don’t do it! Simple as, It shouldn’t be this wan’t to get the pose, but should be about comfort & safety, either, for the Photographer, client & most important the baby.
We are always happy to show the 2-3 composite images we have used to achieve that final shot. That really should be a key question you ask ANY Newborn photographer. We’re happy for you to ask us to see pullback images form sessions.