Being a newborn photographer is a dream come true for me. I love it and I could do it every day. But capturing these images is secondary to the safety of the baby during the session. These little lives are someone’s world, their pride and joy and taking the utmost care with them and learning their physiology and cues is vital.
Last week, I had the privilege of spending two full days training with and learning from Kelly Brown of Little Pieces Photography by Kelly Brown. She taught a workshop in downtown Seattle at the Creative Live Studio called Baby Safety & Posing for Newborn Photographers. I was able to be a part of it and was thrilled to be selected. Of all the training I have done, this was by far the most important class I have been a part of. It’s so wonderful to meet and learn from another photographer who shares the same ideals about newborns and this great industry we belong to. Not only is Kelly incredibly talented and giving with her time and knowledge but she is a credit to this industry. I also got to meet another gal, Stephanie Robin of Stephanie Robin Photography, who is an amazing newborn photographer AND a registered physiotherapist. Her knowledge of infant anatomy was so vast. I learned so much and have so much respect for both of these women. You can read Stephanie’s article on what to look for in a newborn photographer here and another article on newborn safety while posing here.
Newborns are not able to support themselves on their own. Even if they can lift their heads for a few seconds they still need to be supported to avoid injury to their necks. Their arms and wrists are not strong or stable enough to hold up their heads and must be supported. Hand placement in all poses is so important. Is it cutting off their circulation or affecting their breathing? What about feet, legs and toes? Are they positioned exactly how they need to be for the comfort and safety of the baby? Are they warm enough? Newborn babies do not have the ability to regulate their own body temperature and can easily get too cold or overheated. Being aware of this is so important for their health and safety. Are the props being used safe? Are they supported properly and not breakable? There are many other factors to think about while posing and photographing these beautiful, tiny, precious human beings. Learning new things and reaffirming some of what I already knew has been invaluable to me.
There are so many adorable “poses” out there online or being taken of these precious little ones. I have been asked to capture quite a few. Some I do, some I will not. I will only do a pose if I know with 100% certainty I can do it safely and with proper support for the baby. The cutest image is just not worth it if it puts baby at risk. So many images in their finished stage are not what they seem to be. For example, babies hanging from branches, being held up in the air, balancing on scales or other props, etc. Most of these images need to be composites or modified in post-processing. Just in case you are unfamiliar with the term, a composite is more than one image merged together to create one image to remove a spotter’s hand or other support etc.
I am so blessed that I had the opportunity to be a part of this training workshop and expand my knowledge on newborn safety. As much as I love my job and capturing these images, a baby’s safety is infinitely more important to me. I will never stop learning to be the best of my ability.