I was having a conversation with some other professional photographers on Facebook today. The subject was about new photographers starting out or even just parents trying newborn photography with their own babies and Safety was on the top of the list, so I thought that I would write this blog for anyone who a/. actually reads my blog and b/. for anyone just starting out and is thinking of photographing newborns or c/. Mums and Dads thinking it looks easy and posing their babies at home.
We all have to start somewhere and learn our profession, whether we are photographers or dentists, shop assistants or going to be a mechanic. When I first started photography way back in the 80’s….yes the 80’s (I’m showing my age !) I learnt photography from a fantastic teacher at high school who taught lighting, posing, exposure, composition, darkroom skills and the art of seeing and much, much more…Thanks Mr Bridge, apologies for my grammar (he was also my English teacher).
I now had the fundamentals for being a photographer…..so I thought…..then I get a job in the photographic industry and started working for a well known family portrait studio. The first thing they taught us was safety. WOW! A total eye opener about working in the big wide world. They taught us to have parents standing next to their child at all times and for babies they had to have a hand underneath clothing, no sharp props (common sense ya think), props with wheels had to be fixed so the wheels couldn’t move, and I could go on. Even back then newborn photography was nothing like it is now…..these days we see babies hanging in hammocks, lying on their tummies holding their heads cupped in their hands, in buckets and I could keep going on and on.
I must say when I first started to see these images of a newborn being able to support their own head was “how can a baby do that?” and then “how is that done?” So I researched and learnt and researched some more and started to realise that most of what you see these days is all a illusion……well at least I hope it is…..most/not all professionals use Photoshop to create these images that WOW you.
It takes a lot of time and patience to get a baby settled and you can’t just “plonk” a baby down and expect to photograph he/she in one minute. Most sessions take me at least half an hour just to start and transition them from each pose, perfecting each movement and adjusting hands and feet, fingers and toes into a beautiful image for their parents to treasure. My sessions can take 2-4 hours. I always explain that not all babies will move into all poses, some babies love being on their backs while some love their tummies. Some love to be wrapped and some love to be Houdini’s.
So, new photographers or parents before you think “I can do that” remember this is a little person, a precious life. Babies are not props.
Qusetions to ask yourself:
- Do I really know how that image is created?
- Have I got the experience in handling a newborn correctly?
- Have I got the environment set up so its safe and warm?
- If using a prop, is it safe…..no sharp bits, its not glass, hasn’t got splinters, can it break?
And if in doubt don’t try it. Remember this is my opinion and not everyone will agree with me.
And for parents choosing a Newborn photographer, please make sure the photographer you choose cares and respects your child’s safety.
This image below has Dad holding the baby cupped in his hands, Mum is right next to Dad with her hands cms away from babies back in case she arches her back. Her bottom and Dads hands are resting on a metre wide posing beanbag.
The images below was created by using composites. A technique using layers and copying and pasting.