Safety is paramount!
Newborn photography can be defined into two styles; posed and lifestyle. Lifestyle sessions generally take place in your home, in your natural surroundings and the final results are more documentary style – no posed images, no swaddling of baby in props etc. Some photographers do set up areas like this in their studio too, but mostly they will happen at your home. For this style of photography, there is no real need for safety training as such, because you are simply handling and cuddling your baby in a natural way. Your photographer should however, have professional photography training and experience in angles and family posing to create the best, natural images for you.
Posed newborn photography is very different, and this is what I do. It requires extensive training in safety and posing. I have also had Ofsted approved first aid training, which allowed me to understand how baby’s airways work and how fragile they are from head to toe in the first few weeks – when you will bring your baby to me for their photographs. This teamed with the professional photography training and equipment, amounts to a lot of training and experience!
If you see an image online, on my website or social media, and think ‘How did she get baby to do that?’ or ‘How is baby balancing on that prop?’ I can guarantee you, that photograph is a composite image. This means the final photograph has been built using two or three separate photographs, where I will have been holding and supporting the baby in some way, and for the final photograph I have used skill and experience in photo editing software to layer these images and remove my hands. The most common composite photograph is the ‘froggie’ pose. I tend to start every signature newborn experience session with this pose, simply because once your baby has relaxed into it, it reminds them how curled up they were in your womb, and they settle into a lovely, deep sleep.
With correct training, there is no need for composite images to be used when posing in buckets and bowls. As long as your photographer has padded and weighted the prop (bowl/basket/bucket) properly and there is sufficient support in the correct areas for your baby, they will be perfectly safe and secure.
If you have a personal item you would like to incorporate into your images, depending on what it is, and the size of it, I may create a composite image; like the photograph with the double bass below.
If you would like a photograph of your family dog with your baby, this will always be created by composite. Your dog may be the softest dog in the world, but, safety is paramount and I will always create these images digitally, as you simply don’t know what mood your dog is in at that time. If they are particularly protective of your baby, me being around may unsettle them.
Finally, the second most popular type of composite I create is of siblings! Quite often, a toddler will not be too keen on sitting and posing with their brand new baby brother or sister and that is absolutely fine! What we can do, is put their favourite toy or distraction in place of the baby in the prop and take a photograph of them, and then I will digitally incorporate your baby back into the photograph so you have the perfect photograph of both children together!
Hopefully this article has reassured you, that with lots of sufficient training, newborn photography is perfectly safe with your little one. The ideal window is when they are aged 4-14 days, when they are still very sleepy, but with the right expectations, some poses can be created right up to 10-12 weeks old! Your signature newborn experience with me, will generally last 2-3 hours. This seems a long time, but it is important that we take our time, let your baby settle in and get used to me and relax. Every session is baby led, and therefore completely different. Some babies will be awake longer, some will want feeding every hour or so, and some will sleep from start to finish without a flinch! I have had lots of experience in all scenarios. If of course you are unsure about anything whilst I am working, then please, always ask and I will be more than happy to explain in more detail.