Congratulations! You (or someone you know!) are pregnant! You've been Pinteresting your heart out and daydreaming up poses, colors, props and pictures to adorn your home with. There are so many reasons to invest in a newborn photographer, but that's not the topic we're covering today. Today... I want to help you find and trust a photographer who practices the utmost baby safety.
As someone who's had hands-on experience with newborns since the age of eight, I find baby safety to be the most important aspect of my job. Being in this industry, there is a constant need to further your education and learn the safest ways to achieve the trending poses. Many photographers know how to pose, light their studio, how to adjust camera settings and how to wrap a baby -- but not all practice baby safety.
My goal is not to shame, or bring ill will to this industry. My goal is to educate parents and photographers alike on the true importance of putting Baby first and foremost during the entire duration of your session.
When choosing a photographer, make sure they have been educated in their field. I highly suggest hiring someone who specializes in newborn photography -- just as you'd hire a wedding photographer for your wedding, you want a newborn photographer for your newborn. It's important to find someone who's experienced and confident in their field. Being self taught is perfectly fine, but even the best self-taught artists should be continuing education either online or in person (preferably in person). It's important to choose a photographer who practices all forms of safety - not just some. Your photographer should feel confident and you should feel very comfortable entrusting your baby to them for the duration of your (very likely) long session.
1. Find a photographer who takes infection control very seriously.
Your chosen newborn artist should wash hands, have antibacterial/hand sanitizer in plain view, and wash all props and fabrics/wraps/items after use. My laundry hamper is always being filled with any item baby comes in contact with, to be sterilized before my next session. (I personally use a UV-C sterilizer that kills 99% of viruses and allergens -- this is waved over every prop, flokati, and surface that can not be physically sterilized in my washing machine.) Your newborn artist should never be sick during their session -- if they do not sound healthy, ask to reschedule. Even my own children are not allowed at my studio if they are or have been very recently unwell. Baby's health is EXTREMELY important! Their immature immune systems can be taken down by things that we may not consider very serious. It's important to protect them from any surface or airborne illnesses.
2. Find a photographer who utilizes safe posing methods.
The photographer you hire should *always* use safe posing methods. A spotter is necessary for many of the poses parents are interested in or that you see online. If I am unable to have an assistant present during my session (which is unlikely, but happens) then I have parents assist me in posing and spotting props, etc.
Some popular poses that should always have a spotter present are: Froggy (chin in hands), prop shots, and bucket poses.
Below, you will see images that require someone be nearby with a hand ready to catch, support, or stabilize baby. Images marked "SOOC" are "straight out of camera"; meaning they have not yet been altered.
During bucket shots, baby should never be placed balancing or without a safety spotter within a hand's reach. Babies are unpredictable, and can topple over very easily. Startle reflexes are present at this age, and many babies will jump without warning, causing them to shift and need a hand to steady them immediately.
"Froggy" should always be a composite image. This means, the photographer should have (themselves or) a spotter holding babies hands, and alternate holding the head, to merge the two images in post-production. Baby should never be left to self support or to maintain the pose during the shot. No matter how stable baby is, they should be supported at ALL times during this pose.
It's very important to realize that NO PHOTOGRAPH is ever worth baby's safety! Find a photographer who aligns with this belief.
3. Find a photographer who is supportive of baby's (and YOUR) comfort.
Baby's comfort is essential to your newborn session experience. It's extremely important that you, the parent(s), are extremely comfortable at your session. Any anxiety or stress you feel, will be felt by your baby. It's important to trust the hands of your photographer and be able to relax and destress during your session. Part of baby's comfort is respecting baby and their need to feed! Any photographer should be comfortable taking as many feeding breaks as baby needs -- never ignoring rooting or feeding cues, especially when breastfeeding relationships are being established. Baby should never be forced in to positions or poses that are causing the baby distress or discomfort. All babies need a little time to settle, but if the baby is not comfortable or cannot settle in the pose, the photographer should move past it. Uncomfortable baby means uncomfortable parents, and rising stress levels. None of which are healthy or necessary! Your photographer should respect your comfort of soothing choices. If you do not want a pacifier introduced, they should respect that. I always suggest parents bring one for me if they have specific poses they absolutely want tried, but will not force baby to take the pacifier or soothe with it if baby is unhappy with it or disinterested.
I hope that this post helps shed light on baby safety and the importance of your photographer practicing it. The safety of your baby is never worth any image.
For any questions or concerns, please contact me directly via the email link below!