Safety is discussed, emphasized, and constantly evolving in newborn photography… Between Photographers. In every forum, group, mentoring session, coffee break, you name it it is discussed and taken extremely important.
The problem is, most people who are not a newborn photographer don’t give it much thought. A lot of photographers just starting out also don’t give it a lot of thought. It’s not necessarily wrong, but with the way newborn photography is today, a lot of images are an illusion. Take this image for example:
While it looks like the adorable bundle of cuteness is being held in the air by her strong daddy’s hands, she is not. She is very safely positioned on a soft surface and shot from an angle that gives the illusion that she is held high up in the air.
Many poses that you see are composite images, which means that multiple images are taken of baby being supported in different ways and put together in one image to make it look like baby is doing it all on their own. These are poses like the froggy pose, the stork pose, chin on hands pose (at the top of this post), baby in buckets should have spotters, etc… While these images are beautiful, it does pose the risk that those who are unexperienced in newborn photography will attempt these poses without knowing how to safely do these images.
Safety is #1 in every session here. Not just in the 2 scenarios I have already talked about, but everything from frequently cleaning and sanitizing all props and the studio itself. I am frequently washing my hands through the session, using spotters for poses, and the #1 rule of never ever forcing a baby into a position they are not comfortable with. All props that are used are safe. I will never use props made out of glass or easily breakable materials. Everything is inspected for sharp edges or damage before use. While posing I am constantly checking for clear airways, overheating, baby being too cold, limbs turning purple (Which some poses can cause if left in the same position too long).. among many many many other concerns. It’s something I take seriously because every newborn is in my care for the time they are in the studio and I am a firm believer that they should go home in the same condition they arrived. Happy, safe, and still beautiful.
I encourage all my clients, and anyone else reading this who is getting photos taken (Even when not with a newborn) that if you EVER feel something being done or that is about to be done is unsafe, SPEAK UP. Be heard. Voice your concern. I know that what I am doing is safe but you may not and I’d much rather explain and have you feel 100% comfortable and able to relax, then have you worried.
Safety doesn’t stop at newborn sessions either. Every session I am always on the lookout for safety. Babies I always check to make sure that they are spotted if sitting on something they could fall off for example sitting on a wooden box. I make sure that there is nothing around a baby could fall ontop of. I make sure the wooden boxes and bowls are in good condition and not splintering or damaged. I make sure that an expecting mom is comfortable and not in pain. That she isn’t on something that she can slip on. That if she’s on her back that she is well supported and not on her back long.
It’s MY job as your professional photographer to know how to photograph you safely and comfortably. To know what could be a concern. I have turned down requests for images that I feel are unsafe and will offer a safer alternative.
I know safety can be a boring topic. But it is the most important topic. Some images can technically be done without spotters or compositing, but there are so many “what if’s” that its better to take the extra 5 minutes editing and know the baby is safe and supported. I ask that everyone who is getting images done of their children, especially newborns to ask your photographer about safety. Make sure that the person you are hiring knows all about newborn safety. This is your brand new baby. Please make sure that your little one is safe while you get those beautiful images captured of them.