Newborn Safety In My Photography Studio
Newborn safety in my photography studio is my HIGHEST priority at all times. Any of my clients who've brought props for me to use will know that they're sent a questionnaire ahead of time which mentions to let me know if they're bringing props from home. I need to have the chance to work out how to incorporate them into the shoot in the SAFEST possible way. Safety isn't something to be thought about on the fly.
Pinterest is literally, simultaneously the greatest thing to ever happen to photographers for inspiration, and also the biggest pain in my butt! Potential clients see images of newborn babies in various poses and props, but there's no mention of how (or IF) these images have been achieved safely. Babies should never be placed into suspended props without a spotter / assistant being present at all times, or in or on breakable objects like mirrors EVER.
Personally, I never suspend babies in props even with a spotter present. I also only ever pose newborns in complete safety and comfort. If your baby doesn't enjoy the pose we're doing, I'll move on to something else. I always tell my newborn client's parents that not all babies will do all poses, and some babies aren't comfortable in some poses for whatever reason. Little newborn bodies have been through a lot shortly before they arrive in the studio, and however flexible they may be, it's important to consider their physiology.
Babies are best photographed in the "newborn" window of under three weeks when they're still flexible. During this window, most babies will curl into a similar position as in the womb and the hips are still bendy. One of my favourite poses to do if baby will allow if called "Froggy" pose. A newborn's head is disproportionately large to the size of their bodies. This is because their brain is at an advanced stage of development compared to their bodies at birth. There is NO WAY that a newborn can safely hold their heads in their hands, supported by the wrists, safely. I always advise my clients that froggy pose is ALWAYS done as a composite, and that I will have my hands supporting baby's head AT ALL TIMES.
Composites are images made up of two or more layers of image and combined. I usually pose baby in my hands, supporting the head by the wrists first, and take a shot using my right hand. After that, I set my camera down, change hands and swap to supporting baby's head with my hand and take another shot. My hands NEVER leave baby to support themselves. Baby's hands are also not so far back on the neck that they're obstructing the windpipe, and thumbs should be flat so as not to dig into the throat and hinder breathing. You can see that baby is also propped up so that the weight is in the hips rather than on the arms. The arms are merely resting in place.
If you have any questions at all about newborn safety in my studio, please do ask at any stage of the booking process or even during your shoot.
Have a look at these other blog posts for all the information you need in the lead up to your baby's newborn photo shoot.