Let’s talk about newborn photo session safety! It is top of my list for every session that includes a baby. There is always an easier way to do poses, but why risk the safety of the baby to get the shot? A little extra time keeps the baby comfortable and safe. I have trained extensively in this area and am also a certified medical assistant with 20 years of experience working with babies, not to mention a mother. I know as a mother, I would not want to harm my baby to get a certain photo. So how do I practice safety when some of the poses look anything but safe?
First, all of my sessions are done with my wonderful assistant, Jackie, who also happens to be my step daughter! She has been trained in newborn safety and has assisted me on many sessions over the last year and a half. If she is not with me, there are certain poses that will not be attempted. I will never put a baby’s safety in jeopardy just to get a shot. Safety always comes first in my studio. There unfortunately have been photographers that have hurt baby’s trying to do something that they saw online, but have not been trained on. The pose below, with baby’s chin in his hands, is actually a composite of 2 images safely done with baby’s head and hands being supported at all times. Some babies will not go into that pose and in that case it is not attempted!
Another example of head in hands pose
There is a lot more that goes into this pose that every photographer should know before attempting it. I am not going to go into all of that in this post….but if you are a photographer, please make sure you are trained correctly on doing this pose and if you are thinking of attempting this pose, make sure you are trained and have an assistant that is also trained! I DO NOT recommend doing this pose unless you have been fully trained by an expert!!
Secondly, I watch babies extremities. Babies are VERY delicate and can not tell you when something doesn’t feel right, but they can cry, fuss,and fidget. Sometimes wrapping a baby too tightly can turn their little hands red, purple or blue. It is important to watch for these color changes and know when their circulation is being compromised. Babies circulation system is not completely working properly yet, so some babies already have purplish hands and feet, but if their extremities are cold and are turning a color that they weren’t before wrapping, or posing, you need to be aware and stop the pose or unwrap baby immediately.
I almost always start my sessions by wrapping baby and doing parent photos with baby. These are fairly quick photos and babies usually love being wrapped (not ALL do, but the majority do!) This gets baby comfy and cozy and we get parents done so they can kick back and relax! I then will do some photos of baby wrapped in props or on the beanbag. I am always watching their hands for color changes and loss of warmth. As we get further into the session, I start unwrapping baby and capturing poses of them in simple poses on my beanbag. I have a heater going that is not too close to baby and is watched closely to avoid baby getting over heated during the session.
Another pose that I always need an assistant for would be the chair and bucket poses. My assistant is always within arms reach of baby and we sometimes do these as composites if necessary.
The main thing as a parent searching for a newborn photographer is to make sure that the photographer is trained in the safety of newborns. I feel like unfortunately that gets overlooked during the search for a photographer and it really is so important to make sure that the person you are hiring and trusting with your new baby, is qualified to handle them in the manner which we need to for newborn photos.
So, now you know a little more about my newborn photo sessions and some of the safety precautions I take during all of my newborn sessions. There are many more things that I watch for, but the most important thing that you should know is that I take the safety of all my little clients very seriously. They are the most important person in the studio during their session and they will lead me throughout the sessions.
Please feel free to ask me any questions about my newborn sessions or safety!
Melissa is a photographer based in southeast Michigan specializing in newborn, baby’s first year, family and maternity photos. She has 8 years experience and is a certified medical assistant for over 20 years with CPR certification