Is Newborn Photography Safe?

A fairly common question I see popping up around the internet that I would like to address is this  – Is newborn photography safe?

In short, yes.

Buuuuuuut there is more to it than that, of course.

These days, everyone seems to be a “photographer”.  The belief is that if you have a camera, you should be charging for your… ahem,  skills.  This is where things can become dangerous for certain genres of photography, newborn photography being a PRIME example.  Picture this: you are expecting and in need of a photographer.  You type “newborn photographer near me” into a search engine and are immediately overwhelmed with lists upon lists of photographers all chomping at the bit to be hired.

So who do you choose?  The task can seem daunting, but all the YOU need to do, is a little research.

  • Check their work.  Compile a list of 1 or 2 photographers whose work you LOVE and then dig deeper.
  • Be cautious of photographers that are suspiciously cheap.  These are generally amateur photographers who do not have much experience in the industry and are low balling in an attempt to get any traffic through their doors.
  • Read about the photographers!   So many people just look at the pretty pictures and do not take the time to read the content that so many great and responsible photographers offer.  If we pride ourselves on our safe handling of newborns and babies, we will write about it!  I for one am pediatric CPR and first aid certified.  I have also spent thousands of hours over the course of 5 + years watching video lessons on the safe handling of and posing techniques for newborns.  It is something that I am constantly keeping myself up to date with.
  • Ask questions.  Once you find a photographer that you love, if you have any remaining questions PLEASE reach out and ask!  My clients all begin their portrait process with a phone call consultation.  This is a great time to ask anything buzzing around your brain.  If you like what you hear,  the next step is an IN person consultation where we discuss your session in even finer details.  Worried about how comfortable a certain pose is for the baby?  Ask!  I can tell you that some of the poses I do are composites.  This means, I take two or more separate images with the baby being FULLY supported by my hands and then I merge the images together with editing software so that it appears as if the baby is unsupported.  The perfect example of this is the ever popular- “Froggy” pose.  The image below is 2 images.  The first once included my hand supporting the baby’s head.  For the second images,  I then switched my hand position and supported the wrists.  Blend the two together and – voilà!

 

Still unsure about what to expect and how to ask?  Here is a good checklist of things you can ask your photographer!

  • The temperature of the room –  I keep the room warm and utilize a space heater near the baby when they are naked so that baby is not cold.  In addition, I watch for signs of overheating:  red, sweaty, grumpy.
  • Cleanliness –  Studio is clean and sanitized between every session.  I keep all props, drops and tools clean and sanitized.  Hand sanitizer is readily available for use.
  • Posing – Posing surfaces should be an adequate size to prevent accidents.  In addition, if the baby is being wrapped, I always ensure they are not being wrapped too tightly.  This ensures the baby can breathe freely and no little fingers or toes are losing circulation.
  • Newborns are supported at ALL TIMES   I never leave a baby unattended during the session.  I always ensure that they are safe and supported before making adjustments.
  • Baby’s needs –  My newborn sessions are 100% baby led.  If your little one is hungry, ample time will be allowed for feedings.  If they are inconsolable, we can work together to soothe and give them time to settle in, or, in extreme cases, we can discuss rescheduling options.
  • Illness –   If you, anyone included in your session, or the photographer are feeling ill, we ask to PLEASE reschedule.  I take health very seriously when working with such little humans.
  • Flash –  There was a time when people wondered – “is flash photography safe for newborns?”   Flash photography used during baby photo shoots is very different than what most people think of when they think of a flash. Most people think of the pop up flash unit. I do not use this type of flash as it does not create very pleasing light on the baby. For the most aesthetically pleasing effect, I aim for very soft light using some sort of light modifier. During my newborn photography sessions, I use a large 86″ umbrella on the lowest light setting which diffuses the light dramatically.  For the most pleasing results, I “feather” the light so that the newborn is at the edge of the light.  The resulting light is extremely soft and not at all bothersome to newborns.

One last topic I would like to touch upon are siblings.  Siblings can sometimes pose an unintentional danger to newborns.  You know your children best.   Please let your photographer know if you have ANY concerns about the interaction that may take place between the newborn and their siblings during posing.  I personally base the poses I offer for siblings entirely off of the age of the siblings and any parental concerns.

In summary, do your research.  Quality over cost, ask questions, read testimonies and reviews and then relax.  Newborn portraiture is beautiful and special and something every one should invest in having done.