This is a very serious post from me but one that I feel you need to know about. I can not emphasis enough how important safety is during all of my sessions, but even more so for a newborn session. Those tiny little babies are unable to tell us if they are hot, cold or uncomfortable etc, except maybe with a little cry. My job is not only to capture beautiful memories of these brand new babies but to also read their cues. I always monitor the temperature in the studio, you may think it is hot in there and it is but that’s for a very good reason. Babies are often photograped naked and they lose heat quickly if the room is not warm enough.
You will also see me check little fingers and tiny toes when I have a baby in a pose, why? To make sure baby is comfortable and that circulation is not compromised in anyway. I will never put a baby into a pose if it isn’t happy being posed that way. There are plenty of poses we can do so we will just move on to something else.
Behind the scenes
You may be surprised to hear that not all of my images are as they appear. To ensure your little ones safety there are a few little tricks that I use. Photoshop is very much my friend when it comes to safely creating these images. So how these images are actually created? Why they are done this way? Here’s a look behind the scenes of some of my favourite poses.
Baby in hands
This is my all time favourite pose for tiny newborns. After all when will they ever be small enough to fit inside your hands again. Baby in hands is also my most requested image so I think parents love it as much as I do.
You can see in the finished image it looks like baby is being held up by her Daddy. In reality she doesn’t leave the safety of a beanbag with her Daddy just placing his hands around her. This means that baby is safe at all times. I always talk parents through the pose before I start and explain what I am doing as I position them and baby. Baby is never left unsupported and a hand will remain on baby at all times. Dad or Mum will not let go after the image is taken until I am supporting baby again.
Head on hands
The next image is one that I have seen done many times without support. I cannot stress enough how important it is to support a babies head at all times in poses like this. As I am sure any of you who have had a baby will know, babies have a startle reflex meaning that they jump. If a baby is placed in a pose like the one below and startles there is a real possibility that it may be hurt.
As you can see Mums finger is supporting little ones head in the first image, then I have used the magic of Photoshop to edit it away in the finished image. When doing this pose or any pose when baby is laying on his or her front I will constantly check hands and feet to ensure correct circulation.
Now for probably one of the harder situations when photographing newborns, the addition of a sibling or two. Photographing babies with siblings presents a whole host of different safety considerations. Older children are often able to follow instructions and depending on their ages may be able to hold the baby without concerns. However younger children are unpredictable and this must be considered when creating sibling images.
So how do I overcome this? Depending on the pose I will either have the children laying down with adults close by to support and observe as in the image at the top of this post or I composite images together just like the image below.
This finished image is made up of two separate images, one of the baby and one of the older siblings. The images are blended together in Photoshop to create the final image.
Why do I do it this way?
Let’s start with the image of the newborn. As you can see Mum is sat right next to the basket and is supporting the babies head. This means that the baby is supported at all times and Mum can ensure that the basket is secure. (The basket is weighted at the bottom but I always have a parent or helper next to it anyway).
Now the image of the two girls, can you see the beautiful blonde hair in the basket? That blonde hair belongs to Evie. Evie is a doll that is used in poses like this to encourage interaction with siblings but to ensure the safety of the real baby. Little Evie started this pose in the basket laying just as the real baby is in the first image. As you can see Evie has moved somewhat and she doesn’t have a startle reflex so Evie was helped a little by the beautiful girls sat next to her.
If this image was not created safely, Mum would not be right next to baby supporting her head and the basket. This would not be a fun and relaxed image for everyone involved because they would all be on edge. Mum would be anxious about the older children waking the baby. Nothing would be in place to stop baby from falling if she startled or the older girls knocked the basket. And the older girls would react to this and we would not see those beautiful, relaxed smiles.
When it comes to safety it is always best to composite an image rather than risk the safety of a baby. Yes it takes a long time to edit these images, but I would rather spend an evening editing one image than risk my little clients being hurt.
Many other images are done as composites. Some poses I will not do as I just don’t like them. Any photographer should be able to explain to you how they safely create an image. If you feel uneasy about a pose then you have the right to ask the photographer to stop. Please, please, please do not try the images you see online yourselves. You could be putting your baby at risk of a serious injury or even worse.
What makes me a safety expert?
I have been trained in the Art of Newborn Photography by one of the countries leading photographers. Throughout my career I have also undertaken various other business and safety related courses. I have many years of childcare experience as well as various child care qualifications. I am also a Mum to three beautiful boys, I know how precious these babies are and how important it is to keep them safe.
If you are thinking of booking in for your newborn session please take a look at my newborn session information
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