There is quite a buzz in the photography community about Newborn session safety. It has been sparked by the abundance of photographers who think it is okay to photograph a baby in a glass bowl, or dangling in nothing more than cheesecloth, or the like, from a branch with little (or no!) support from a spotter, etc.
That is all very unsettling to me. But rather than criticizing others, I’d rather tell you how I approach my newborn sessions.
I do so with an equal balance of being a mother and a photographer. If I were approaching as just a mother, I wouldn’t know that a baby can be positioned in certain ways or that it is comfortable for them to be in their birthday suit, as long as the room is nice and warm. Likewise, if I approached as just a photographer, I may overlook the tenderness and gentleness that a newborn needs. That they are not molding clay, but a human being (though a very flexible one!). I am NOT saying that a newborn photographer HAS to be a mother. No way. But photographers often do whatever they need to for the innovative, original shot – working with a newborn isn’t one of those times. The newborn in and of itself is innovative and original.
Remember: Yes, a baby is art … they are God’s art, and a photographer’s job is to photograph them as such. Safely, carefully, and lovingly.
I encourage photographers to do extensive research about newborn photography and sessions before taking one on. I would be MORE than happy to talk to anyone regarding this and I also encourage you to read this article on the Clickin Mom’s blog.
One thing that I cherish is that my best friend has willingly helped me with many of my sessions. Together we focus on the baby to make sure that every toe is in perfect place and how a pose will work better, but also that the baby is perfectly safe the entire time.
Many new photographers (and non-photographers!) don’t realize that some images are actually composites, or two images put together to make one. And SOOC = Straight-Out-Of-Camera. Thanks to an assistant, these shots are safely possible.
Those are obviously Melissa’s hands holding him up in each image. Admittedly, I have achieved this shot with the baby doing it on her own. She was totally fine and is now a healthy 1-year-old. But, really, I would so much rather accomplish this as a composite than making the baby work so hard at such a young age.
As photographers we want our clients to trust us whether we are photographing their family or newborn. And as clients, you should be able to trust your photographer, artistically and where safety is concerned. It is a huge honor to be given this trust and I do not take it lightly. No photographer should.
Lastly, I want my clients to be able to relax and enjoy their session – whether that means taking a nap, studying, playing with their other children, or cuddling with their spouse. I never want you to feel nervous that I am caring for your baby. So please, during your session, do not feel like you can’t watch or “ooh and aww” over your precious newborn. Regardless of how beautiful your images end up being, if you are uncomfortable during your session, it is NOT a successful session to me.
Thank you for reading and please spread the word about newborn photography safety!