Newborn Safety in Newborn Photography - Why it matters
Wait what? Newborn ‘safety’? I thought you were just going to take photos of my baby?
I’m sure that’s what some of you are thinking right now right? But safety in in the newborn photography industry is a valid concern, and something every mum and dad needs to consider when booking a photographer. We are one of the first people you take your new baby to, and one of the first who will be positioning, holding, settling and being in physical control of your baby.
Newborn photography involves much more than just placing a baby down on a rug and taking some photos - it is hands on. As a result, it’s absolutely essential that you place your trust into someone who is educated on baby safety within this context.
Is it unsafe?
Newborn photography is not an unsafe practice, however like anything involving a baby, safety is paramount. Newborns are placed in bowls/baskets that were not made for newborns in mind. They are posed into positions that while are totally comfortable for the newborn - are still essentially unnatural.
Some poses are only safe as ‘composite images’ (two images merged into one) as babies cannot support themselves in those positions. Those images you see on pinterest of the baby with their hands holding up their chin? Those are two images photoshopped together so that someone was always holding the baby's head in position.
Some setups do require babies to be closely spotted so they are always safe if they happen to move and change positions.
Setups with siblings also need to be monitored very closely by everyone in the room, just as they would be at home.
What to look for in a Newborn Photographer?
It is essential that the photographer you choose has insurance. Would you go to a midwife, or doctor or doula or any other person who will handle your baby, without insurance? If the answer is no, the same should apply to your newborn photographer, who will be handling your baby for up to 3 hours at only 7-10 days old.
Your photographer should have had some kind of training/education in newborn photography and safety. Many of us attend workshops, seminars, private one on one sessions or online courses.
Solid business systems including hygeine practices. Newborns do poop, vomit, spit up and pee on all our props. A system should be in place so that you know your baby is being placed in and on clean props.
Immunised against whooping cough and other childhood diseases - enough said!
What I have learned to keep your baby safe and comfortable -
Safe, correct posing. This means understanding if baby moves, where will their head go?
Are they supported enough so that there is no pressure on their limbs?
Are their heads positioned correctly so they can breath comfortably and without restriction?
What are the signs of an uncomfortable baby?
Is the PROP weighted correctly so that baby cannot tip forward?
Is the baby wrapped securely but not too tight?
Is the temperature of the studio warm enough to keep a naked baby comfortable and secure?
Have the wraps and blankets been washed in baby-friendly washing powder?
Is the baby showing any signs of reacting to the wool/material used?
Are the parents comfortable with how their baby is being posed?
While photography is a wonderful hobby - newborn photography is a specialist genre that needs to be taken seriously from a safety perspective.
Go to someone experienced, ask them questions - check it out as you would anyone else who is going to be responsible for your child.