I’ve photographed so many newborns over the years that I actually have lost count but no matter how many I do, their safety and comfort is always the first priority.
Of course the newborn photography world is unregulated (regulation wouldn’t be practical even if I was an advocate for it) and so when you book a newborn photographer, it’s important that you know that will act according to the highest safety standards.
Many of the images that you see online are created as composites and then digitally manipulated in editing suites to make it appear that a baby is holding a pose on their own when it wouldn’t be possible or safe for them to do so. One of the most commonly seen example of this is where the baby appears to be asleep and supporting their head on their hands – this is achieved using a parent to support at various points so your baby is always safe and stable and the resulting photos are knitted together on a PC later. The photo above where the baby is apparently sitting in the mum’s upturned hands is another example. It’s actually shot from the top with the baby being safely asleep on a beanbag covered with a black blanket. So if you see a photo in a pose that a baby can’t actually hold on their own, then you should expect to get involved and assist your photographer (unless they have an assistant – sadly I don’t :) ) in providing support to get that image safely. It’s never a case of ‘balancing’ a baby!
A baby’s ‘startle reflex’ is active from day one and is stimulated when they hear a loud noise or feel like they are falling (and for some reason this can happen even when they are perfectly well supported and in a quiet environment). It should also never be underestimated when posing in the studio, they can jump quite a lot for someone who doesn’t actually know how to move. For the most of a session, we work on my giant beanbag that means that they can’t go anywhere with even the biggest ‘jump’. I’m always close enough to them to soothe them back down if they experience this. This means that you’re free to relax on my comfy sofa and just watch your images being captured.
Working with Props
When we are working with certain props, then if there is the slightest chance of a startle reflex meaning that they could tip or turn from their pose, then I’ll always get one parent to sit close to the prop just so there is an extra pair of hands. I don’t actually have any props in my collection where there is a risk for obvious reasons but it’s a kind of ‘belt and braces’ approach just to make super sure.
I can think of two examples in the past where parents have brought along props that are inherently unstable and these are both helmets – one for the fire service and one for the police. For both shots, we wanted the helmet upside down and the baby tucked up and sleeping inside of it – both gorgeous shots to have and so personal to the families involved. To get these done safely, then we simply worked together to ensure that both baby and helmet were supported by parents at all time – again a composite approach to achieving a stunning finished image with zero risk involved.
In Safe Hands
There’s no need for scare mongering when it comes to newborn photography – you’re going to be there the whole time to keep an eye on things. My props, accessories and environment are designed to be safe from the beginning and then I always add an extra layer of ‘parent protection’ if there is even the tiniest chance of a mishap. So, rest assured, when you visit my studio for a newborn photo shoot, your baby is in safe hands.