Find yourself expecting a new baby and wondering if newborn photography is safe? Well, you’ve come to the right place, for a non helpful answer. But let me explain why I say yes, and no.
Newborn photography can be incredibly safe, with the right photographer. It can also be very unsafe with an untrained photographer.
Did you know that photography isn’t a regulated industry? Literally anyone could go buy a camera and start advertising. Now imagine that you put your baby in the hands of a person who’s never taken a posing class, or learned CPR, talked to someone trained in how the body works. What if they’ve never handled a baby before? Would they know the soft spot in a baby’s head, how to know when circulation isn’t moving right? Tell me that’s not a scary!
Newborn photography can be safe if your photographer is properly trained. And it’s important to ask questions and vet the person you are about to give your baby to, just like you would ask someone if they’ve ever built a home or replaced a furnace. You don’t want to be someone’s test subject right?
So many of the poses we see on the internet aren’t actually photographed that way. It’s important to know that a photographer worth their money can safely position a baby to make it look whimsical and unrealistic, when it’s actually very safe.
Let’s talk about one of the most widely talked about table poses, froggy. I don’t know how often it crosses the average parents feed, but I see it all the time. Photographers that pose froggy and then actually take their hands completely off to get their shot. Some do it for clout and views knowing it spikes their algorithm as photographers interact with their post telling them it’s incredibly unsafe. But I cringe every time, just hoping that baby isn’t injured. Please, please, please. If you ever go to a photographer and they take their hands off baby in froggy, take your precious newborn home immediately. Do not trust that person again.
A newborn should never under any circumstances be allowed to support themselves in the froggy position. It is actually a composite, done with two images, and then brought together in post production. Do not ever, trust anyone that says it’s safe.
Here’s my froggy pose with Cameron to show you how it done safely. When baby is correctly positioned to make sure their airways are not being blocked and their neck and spine are well supported, one hand will hold their wrists in position to capture the top of their head. Then a second hand is placed on their head to keep it from leaning one way or another. Only once both hands are on baby, and they are stable again, the hand holding the wrists can briefly let go to capture the lower half of baby.
What to ask your photographer
When you are in the market for a newborn photographer of your own, here are some thoughts as you do your research.
- Ask what training they’ve had, and how much experience they have with babies. Any well trained photographer can easily list who they learned from, and give reliable sources and proof of their training. Because it’s not a regulated industry, don’t expect a certificate of any kind. But workshops with big names, CPR certification go a long way in showing they care about your baby’s safety.
- Ask if they are a licensed and insured business. Along with not be a regulated industry, many photographers aren’t running legitimate businesses. They are in a side hustle business. Maybe you don’t care if they are paying their taxes, but what happens when something goes wrong? Are they carrying proper liability insurance?
- When you browse their website, are babies comfortable looking? Is their work consistent where multiple galleries show similar poses, or do they vary widely from gallery to gallery. A consistent set of work shows they are able to pose a lot of babies in repeatably similar poses. It’s not as easy as it looks. Fussy baby’s, sleepy baby’s, alert babies, they all require different skills. Do the poses look sloppy and rushed?
Safety vs Cost when it comes to safe newborn photography
Each and every time I get a “how much does it cost” inquiry, I wish they would first ask “what sort of training do you have”. We all live on a budget. But before you choose your photographer based on price, consider choosing them based on their care for your baby’s safety. There is no price worth your baby’s safety, budget or no budget, I think we can all agree on that right?
Continuing on the safety vs budget conversation. It will most likely cost you more for a trained photographer. We invest in our education to keep our clients safe. Every year I take a workshop to refresh my skills, hone posing safety, learn about how the body works, and even styling sessions to keep babies safe. Not only do I invest in my education, I invest in quality posing aids. It’s not just a cute setup, it’s the pieces under what you see that is actually keeping your baby safe. Purchasing those posing pieces and knowing how to use them are both very important.
Tell me your thoughts, is newborn photography safe?
So is newborn photography safe? I’d love to know experiences you’ve had or heard of, and how you chose your photographer. Maybe you have other questions, please drop them below, I’ll address it in a future blog post. But please, know what to look out for, and keep those precious little baby’s safe at their newborn session!
Here’s the rest of Cameron’s gallery. And more than one of these was a composite. He was so sleepy, I didn’t take a chance on him. That means a pose I take in one photo, require extra measures to make sure his noodl-y self is safe. The best photographers know the difference and don’t mind a little extra work in the end to make sure your baby leaves their session as happy and healthy as they arrived!