One of the most important aspects of being a newborn photographer is (you guessed it...) SAFETY!! When posing fragile newborn babies, safety should always be the #1 priority, every single time. As a photographer, it’s always such a thrill to get the perfect pose & cute smirk, but it’s really important to never compromise the safety of a baby under any circumstance. Here are some helpful tips on newborn safety to keep in mind:
1. Never Compromise Safety
Never try to achieve a pose that compromises the safety of a newborn. You’ve probably seen photos that appear as if a baby is balancing their own head in their hands, or as if a baby is hanging in a sling from a tree. Please note that those poses are not achieved "as is." All of those set-ups are achieved safely with the use of composites and cloning in Photoshop so that there is never a need to put a baby at risk. Also- always use a spotter. A baby is much stronger than you think! They can roll, push themselves over, and move within the blink of an eye! (If you have kids, you know this to be true!!) Having a spotter (perhaps one of the parents or an assistant) next to the baby at all times is best. If using a basket or bucket, be sure to use weights or something heavy to weigh down the base to keep it from tipping over, and for extra precaution, line any hard edges with soft padding, pillows or blankets.
2. Newborns Get Cold
Newborn babies tend to get cold, so be sure the room is kept warm and toasty. If you’re doing it right, you should be working up a sweat half way into the session! The temperature should be somewhere around 82-85 degrees. Adding to that, make sure that the space heater is a safe distance from the baby at all times. You don’t want a baby sweating or overheating.
3. Stay Clean
Clean and sanitize your hands and equipment. Newborn babies haven’t had time to build up a strong immune system yet and sanitizing is important for their health.
4. Don't Force A Pose
You’ll find that some babies like to bend more than others. Never try to force a baby into a pose. Adjust them to where they are comfortable. (And never try a pose that you feel unsure about or are not confident doing.)
5. The Baby is the Boss
Remember, when working with newborns, you are on their schedule. Be sure to listen to their needs and cues, whether they need a break to be fed or just some cuddles for comfort. Make sure the baby has enough support for their head, especially during upright poses.
6. Use Safe Props
Always make sure that you check the stability and quality of any of the props or baskets that you will be using. Do not use or put the baby in any glass props.
7. Think About Circulation
Babies lose circulation quickly. With all that posing they are doing, be sure to double check that all of the baby’s limbs are nice & pink with good circulation.
8. Always Use Your Camera Strap
When shooting above the baby, have your camera strap around your neck to ensure that it cannot accidentally fall.
9. Never Leave the Baby Unattended
Never leave an infant alone, unattended, or with a young sibling.
10. Use a Proper Posing Beanbag
It is very important that you use a posing bean bag that is specifically designed for newborn photography. Trying to use makeshift posing surfaces can endanger your little subject. The PoseBaby Pro Beanbag is made with a large, impressionable surface that will help to keep the newborn comfortable and safe. You can check it out here.