My style of posing and even the flow of my sessions, is very natural. I tend to prefer natural posing, natural connections, and images that make you feel something over the perfectly posed image. That said, I do try to include a few classic poses in each of my sessions. And sometimes, a little photoshop magic is needed to get the final result. For a pose like this, the baby’s head is supported at all times. I am able to keep baby safe, without putting any strain on their tiny neck muscles, get this shot and then remove the supporting hand in photoshop. Keeping your baby safe and happy throughout the session is my biggest priority.
These are things that all experienced newborn photographers should already know. But in order to keep your baby safe, it’s also important for you, the mom, to be aware.
Things to know that will keep your baby safe during their newborn session:
1. Newborn photography is a very specialized kind of photography that requires extensive knowledge of newborn babies, posing, handling, and soothing. You should make sure that whoever you hire to do your baby’s newborn portraits is experienced with newborns and has invested in training and continued education.
2. The photographer should use a camera strap (preferably a neck strap) at all times. Professional cameras are very big and very heavy. Many of the poses and angles require the photographer to shoot from above the baby, leaning over the baby. The camera should be secured at all times with a camera strap to eliminate the possibility of dropping the camera on the baby. As a parent, you can ask your photographer to use a strap if you notice this is not being done.
3. The baby should NEVER be left alone on a bean bag or prop of any sort. Your photographer should be within arms reach at all times. If your baby is being photographed on top of or inside a box, basket, bed or other prop, there should be another person there to support and spot the baby. You may be asked to sit close and keep your hand on the baby’s back. If you are uncomfortable with this, you should let your photographer know.
4. If your baby is being photographed inside a basket, box or prop in such a way that they are leaning or hanging out of one side, there should be a large weight in the bottom of the basket to keep it from toppling over.
5. The baby should never be placed directly onto a heating pad. There should be multiple layers of fabric between your baby and any heating pad or blanket. It is okay to use a heating pad to warm a spot before laying the baby down, but it should be removed prior to the baby being placed.
6. Your newborn photographer should be vaccinated for flu (during flu season, of course) and Pertusis (Whooping Cough).
7. Your newborn photographer should be insured.
8. Your newborn photographer should keep their nails clean and trimmed. They should also remove any rings or other jewelry while handing your baby to avoid scratching their delicate skin. Their hair should be pulled back or away from their face so that it is not falling onto the baby.
9. All fabrics and props should be thoroughly washed in baby safe detergent after every session.
10. Your newborn photographer should wash their hands with soap and water (not just a hand sanitizing gel) before handling your baby and after handling any soiled fabrics or changing diapers.
11. You should never be asked to leave your baby or go to another room where you cannot see what is happening. You should be offered comfortable seating nearby and be invited to watch the entire session.
12. “Froggy” pose (where the baby is sitting up with their head in their hands) is a composite image. This means that two or more images are merged together in Photoshop to create the final image. The photographer (or assistant’s) hands should never leave your baby.
13. The baby should not be left in any pose or position for an extended period of time where their hands and feet begin to turn purple.
14. This is an obvious one, but your newborn photographer should not put their fingers in your baby’s mouth to soothe them. Ewww.
15. Another obvious one, but the baby should never be placed into any kind of glass bowl or vase. I have seen images where a photographer placed a baby into a glass vase filled with gum balls. This is extremely dangerous! No, no, never, not ever!
And finally, it’s okay to speak up if something makes you uncomfortable during your newborn session. Listen to your mommy instincts and make sure that whoever you hire is experienced in handling newborns and SPECIALIZES in newborn photography.