I wouldn’t be a professional newborn photographer if I didn’t make an early blog entry about newborn safety. This topic, by far, is the most important thing to consider when picking your newborn photographer. Aside from looking at their work before you choose who you are going to use to photograph your new baby, you should most definitely consider if they are cautious and safe about what they are doing.
Has your newborn photographer had their pertussis (aka whooping cough) vaccine? Newborns are so susceptible to contracting whooping cough and really, everyone who comes into close contact with newborns should have one. I know vaccinations can be a controversial subject, but after I read one article about a photographer mom who had a child contract this horrible illness and pass away, I decided that the benefits far outweighed the risks. I would never ever forgive myself if I made a baby sick or worse.
If your photographer does posing with the baby in props or those adorable poses where the chin is propped on the baby’s hands, do they use an assistant or parent to be inches away with props or do they do two part composite images when posing the baby in a way that the baby can’t support it’s weight? If the answer is “yes” then your photographer is doing it the right way.
Other things I do just to insure the safety of the baby: weigh down props before putting the baby in a prop; never use a glass prop; always make sure there are no edges that the baby can hurt themselves on; have a beanbag under the baby when doing any poses that involve lifting the baby in a sling or hammock even if you are lifting them a few inches.
The last thing I want to talk about is watching for signs and making sure that a baby is never forced into a pose. I attended a newborn posing class once where the instructor said to never force a baby into a pose. If they don’t go into it easily or if they express discomfort, just move on to something else. Now, I’ve posed babies that have had a condition that I’m aware of going into the session like: broken collarbone, hip dysplasia and even a sweet baby who had heart surgery, and I knew upfront what the limitations were, but in a session last week, I had a baby who didn’t want to put his arms forward. In other words, he wanted to keep them tucked and he was visibly uncomfortable with anything else. I asked the parent if they had checked him for broken collarbone because it seemed to me he was experiencing some pain. (It was more than just being a bit grumpy because he was hungry.) The parent said that they hadn’t found anything wrong with his collarbone at the hospital. I went on with the session and got plenty of cute pictures without moving his arms forward, and then two days later, I received word that they had been back to the doctor for a checkup and asked the doctor to check the collarbone. Guess what? The baby had a broken collarbone. Broken collarbone is more common than you think during childbirth, but it speaks volumes to the fact that a newborn photographer should never force a baby into a pose. If they express discomfort (and you know the difference between that and hunger or gas), then just move on to a pose they are comfortable in. I am so very thankful that i took that course and remembered what I was told.
My point with this article is that you reserve every right as a parent or grandparent to question anyone that will be photographing your child. What type of training do they have? What precautions do they take towards safety? What does their portfolio look like?
I hope this has been beneficial to you. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Until next time!