If you are a new parent planning to capture precious memories of your newborn baby on camera, please please please heed my advice and steer clear of photographers who do not use appropriate techniques and safety procedures.
Safety in newborn photography
I am professionally trained and have worked in the safe art of newborn photography for more than three years.
Properly conducted newborn sessions, like those I offer at Frances Stephenson Photography, usually last up to four hours. I work around the baby’s feeding schedule and keep the room at a warm temperature to maximise the baby’s comfort.
I know how to handle and pose newborn babies safely, and am focused on ensuring the safety of your baby at all times. I ask the parent to act as a ‘spotter’ to monitor and support the baby at all times, while I take the photographs.
The potential risks for your baby
Yet there are inexperienced newborn photographers in the local area who are not offering the same level of experience or service. These photographers tend to be cheaper, but do not adhere to the safety practices recommended within the newborn photography industry and are therefore potentially putting babies at risk.
The result? Parents across the UK have shared horror stories of how their baby has been left unsupported and rolled off the posing stands, or their baby’s delicate head was allowed to drop in an attempt to create a “head in hands” pose.
These accidents happen because of the photographer’s lack of experience and bid to cut corners to offer a cheaper, faster service.
And, they prey on the parents’ inexperience. If a parent is using a newborn photographer for the very first time, they are unlikely to know what is right and what is wrong when it comes to newborn photography posing.
This is why I have written this blog. I want you to understand the difference between a safe and an un-safe newborn pose.
Safe newborn photo sessions
Images in which babies appear to be supporting the weight of their own heads or hanging from a height are created digitally, after the photoshoot. To be produced safely, they are created using edited, composite shots, where two or more images are morphed together to allow the baby to be held gently in position and kept safe at all times.
However beautiful the resulting image is, never should a baby be expected to support themselves. Nor should they be balanced on unsteady surfaces or at a height.
Portraits of babies in sleepy poses in baskets, on suitcases or swings are lovely but they must be taken as composite images, and never created in the studio if it means that the baby is put at risk of falling or rolling.
I can create these composite images if you would like me to, but I will always do so 100% safely and I will use my digital editing skills to make the photos appear real.
Raising awareness of safe newborn photography practices
I’m very keen to raise awareness about this issue. It’s why I am a proud Ambassador, of the Baby and Newborn Photographers Association (BANPAS) which promotes best practice in newborn photography.
Sadly, as a member of BANPAS, I hear about horror stories on a monthly basis. Of babies being put in danger, near misses. Of photographers who are not trained in the art of newborn photography who don’t understand how we achieve the results we do.
Your babies are precious new lives, who should only be trusted in the hands of a photographer that works safely and can prove it.
It only takes a fraction of a second for a baby to have a startle reflex, maybe to the sound of the shutter or a cough, or they might sneeze. Babies are able to push themselves out of a pose. If not spotted or supported by an adult at all, the baby may fall or move.
How to know if a Photographer is safe?
Ask them to show you how they create composite images
‘Composite’ images are made by combining two or three images together. The images are taken while the parent or photographer’s assistant supports the baby. It’s in the post processing where the magic happens!
We remove the adult’s hands and merge those shots together to make the end and final image.
You can also visit the BANPAS website to view composite images by the organisation’s members, mine included.
Ask if they are insured?
I, personally, am insured for public liability and professional indemnity. You should expect this level of insurance from any newborn photographer you hire.
Remember too that at any newborn session you choose to go to if you do not feel your baby is safe and supported then you have every right to stop the session and leave.
Read more about the importance of safe practice in newborn photography as published on the Staffordshire Newsletter Website here…
And if you are looking to book a newborn baby photography session in Staffordshire, guaranteed to be offering a safe newborn photography experience, please get in touch with me by completing this contact form.