Newborn photographing is becoming more and more popular. The resultant photographs are so beautiful and dreamy that many photographers and people with cameras are launching themselves, untrained, into an area of photography that is not for the untrained! It is not something that is fun and just anyone can decide they would like to try.
A newborn is a person, a human being, not a doll. She has needs and feelings and needs to be handled with great care. Before you choose your newborn photographer please take note of these very important points.
1. Training, Training, Training and then some more Training!
I do not feel that anyone can become a newborn photographer overnight. In-depth training and hands on practice under the supervision of a qualified newborn photographer are vital to becoming an expert at newborn photography.
Training doesn’t just include the art of newborn photography but also learning all about safety of the baby, how to handle them, how to read their cues and what poses a newborn can and cannot safely do.
2. Weird Poses
There are many weird and wonderful poses on Pinterest and the internet. Several of them are what is called a composite. This is two photographs put together in Photoshop to make one. Keeping a baby propped up and secure is vitally important so two photographs are taken where the baby is being securely held but then are put together to look like one photograph where the baby is balancing on her own.
Once again, proper training will teach the photographer how to do these poses safely and how to create the resultant photograph.
3. Reading Baby’s Cues
Newborns have very real needs and a photographer cannot just go from pose to pose without attending to their needs. Knowing what a baby needs when it needs it comes from having children of one’s own and from learning the different cries babies have. If things are not going to plan the photographer needs to know how to handle the situation, what the baby needs and how to soothe it.
4. Safe Poses
Not all poses seen on Pinterest are safe. Some are just plain insane.
Babies heads are heavy and they simply cannot hold them up. They need to be carefully positioned so they do not fall and injure their necks. They can also easily slump down putting pressure on their lungs and closing their airways. The pose may be the cutest you have ever seen but if it compromises the baby’s ability to breathe for even one moment I will not even consider attempting it.
They also cannot tell us when the blood flow has been cut off to one of their limbs. Yes, babies can fold up in the most amazing way but knowing how to fold them is so important. It is very easy to cut off blood flow so knowing where limb is and checking regularly for no purple hands and feet is imperative.
5. Moving Baby into Position
Never, ever pull on a baby’s limbs to get them into position. Gently move the baby using their own movement to help. If a baby cries once in a pose, shush them softly and gently rock them in the position. If they continue to cry pick them up out of the position. Try one more time. If they continue to cry, move on!!!
Babies have their favourite positions to lie in. Some babies simply do not like having their arms up, they like them tucked in. A trained photographer will quickly recognise this and work around it. There are simply dozens of possible poses so if baby does not like one then try another.
6. Never Leave Baby Unattended
Newborns have what is called the moro reflex. They startle quite easily and kick out with their legs and arms. They can quite easily and completely unexpectedly kick themselves out of a prop or topple over if the prop is not weighted down. So never leave the baby without someone watching her and no more than an arms lengths away.
7. Never try poses at home
I heard just this past week of more than one friend who tried a pose their newborn in a prop and it, with baby in it, toppled over. The newborns hit their heads and were injured. Is injuring the baby worth the photograph?
Please be careful and choose your photographer wisely.