As a photographer who specialises in newborns, I thought my first blog of the year would cover a topic that I am very passionate about.
There are two main factors that you should consider when choosing which photographer you are going to use. The first is obvious – you must LOVE their work.
The second is something you may not have thought too much about, but it’s actually THE most important factor. It goes beyond someone who can capture great images of your little one. That factor is safety. There are several different styles of photography when it comes to newborns. The two biggest differences are lifestyle and posed. If you are opting for a posed style you NEED to be looking for a photographer that has been trained, preferably hands on, about how to pose newborns safety.
I’m sure you will have seen many gorgeous images on the internet of babies peeking out of baskets or babies resting on their elbows with their head in their hands. They’re adorable right? They look simple enough….. sure. Any photographer could do that right? You may have even thought about attempting to copy the photo yourself. That’s simply not so, and I would urge you not to.
There are lots safety aspects to consider when photographing a newborn.
They are unable regulate their own body temperature
Their circulation is immature
They can not support their own head
They are surprisingly able to move much more and much quicker than you think!
Any props must be safety checked
When I’m photographing at a session, as I’m positioning them, I’m doing much more than putting your baby into a position that looks nice. I’m not just looking for the best angle as I move around them. I’m ensuring their body is supported in all the right places. I’m looking for signs of compromised circulation. I’m checking that they’re not too cold or too hot. Many poses can not be achieved with one shot and the baby alone. Sometimes they need a little help and that’s where the parent’s help and the editing room comes in!
Take this pose for example. Little Erin here was unable to keep her head upright on her own without it wobbling so mum is asked to assist her. A newborn baby’s head accounts for roughly 20% of their body weight – It’s heavy. Not only do I need to ensure her head doesn’t fall, when it’s resting on her arms its is making the circulation to the hands harder. The feet are curled under her bottom and circulation is reduced here also. I have to constantly watch for purple hands and feet that show circulation is compromised and assist to keep it flowing again with a rub of their limbs, hands and feet as well as capturing my shoot as quickly as possible.
Mums finger gently supports her head and her finger is later removed in the editing room.
Anytime a baby is in a prop they are at risk. Therefore to keep them safe while a photo is taken mum or dad are asked to “spot” them. A spotter sits close by the baby, eyes on them at all times while I’m behind the camera. They keep a hand on the baby until I’m ready to take the shot and then only remove it for the time it takes to close my shutter. Where they are unable to take their hand away without compromising safety, the hand will be edited out afterwards.
Mum sits next to Alexander to spot him with her finger supporting the side of his head. The finger and mum are removed upon editing.
The froggy pose is one of the most popular poses in posed photography. It’s a tricky one though. I’m not going to lie to you, it’ IS possible if you get it just right so that the baby’s head is balanced in the palms of their hands and remove your hands to take a photo. I’ve seen Youtube videos of photographers doing so. But for the sake of a photo it’s simply not worth risking your baby’s safety in the event that they startle or move. To do this pose safely you need to keep baby supported at all times and instead two images are taken and merged together upon editing like this:
Dad has on hand on his daughter at all times. The two images are later merged in the editing room.
With all this in mind, you may be surprised to know that there are many photographers out there that have had no training what so ever. You’ve looked after your precious bundle, keeping them safe for 9 long months before you even got to meet them and I know there is nothing more important to you than continuing to do so. So before you book your newborn session, please do enquire what safety training that particular photographer has had.
I’m proud to have completed safety and training courses with some of the best newborn photographers in the country. I love taking workshops every year to continually update my knowledge and skill and to ensure your baby is photographed with the safety they deserve.
If you’d like to more about the newborn photography sessions that I offer, please take a look here, or get in contact.
This week I’d like to recognise an amazing Birmingham maternity photographer. Tianna’s got some exciting news about what the new year brings Tianna J Williams Photography so head on over to her blog to find out.