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specialist newborn photography by Secret Smile Photography baby photography leeds baby safety banpas

 

Newborn photography boom warning - the importance of SAFE baby posing

 

Capturing newborn babies in their first few weeks is a magical and wonderful concept and in recent years there has been a boom in the industry with photographers choosing to specialise in newborn photography and the affordability of excellent DSLR cameras mean that pretty much anyone can buy a camera, set up a Facebook page and sell themselves as a newborn photographer.

 

I was one of them. I did a model call for a newborn to photograph and tried a few very basic poses (nothing at all dangerous or complicated) and quickly realised that there was more to photographing newborns than met the eye. I have since trained with several of the country's leading newborn photographers and a large part of that training is to do with SAFE baby posing. Many of the images you see on Pinterest or on leading newborn photographers' websites are composites which means they are made up of more than 1 image put together in post processing or the 'spotter' (parent/assistant sat touching or within a hand's reach of the baby to keep them safe) is edited out afterwards.

 

An example from a recent newborn shoot is of baby Lara who was safely in a wooden bucket weighted down so as not to be top-heavy when Lara was posed in it but I wanted to use the 'head on hands' pose which is not something that a newborn can do unsupported. Daddy was the 'spotter' sat next to Lara and within hand's reach should she move for the poses anyway but for this one I needed him to support Lara's head in 2 different positions so I could take 2 photographs and merge them together in post processing.

Here are the 2 images with Daddy supporting Lara's head in 2 different positions **note these are completely unedited - straight out of the camera**

 

 specialist newborn photography by Secret Smile Photography baby photography leeds baby safety banpas

 

Once edited the images appear that Lara is propped up on her elbow as the Queen of Hearts.

 

specialist newborn photography by Secret Smile Photography baby photography leeds baby safety banpas

 

A photographer new to the genre wouldn't necessarily know that this was done as a composite and they wouldn't necessarily think of the safety aspects of having a newborn in a basket that could potentially topple or baby could hurt themselves in if they moved.

Not all newborn poses need to be composites. If baby is posed on a large newborn posing beanbag in a position where baby's head is supported by either the beanbag or with baby's chin or cheek resting on their arm there is not always a need to have 2 shots merged in post processing. Many of these images were taken unsupported on a large beanbag at Secret Smile HQ and baby was in no danger at all as I am sat in front of them with the camera and the beanbag is large and soft should baby startle or move out of position, the babies' heads are supported and they are in the position for only a few minutes whilst I take the photograph. If I need to move away from the beanbag for any reason I always ask one of the parents to sit with baby.

 

specialist newborn photography by Secret Smile Photography baby photography leeds baby safety banpas

 

Some poses just need a 'spotter' to sit next to the prop, keeping their hand on the baby or the prop or both to keep baby safe, their supporting hands removed from the resulting image in post processing. In this image baby Rory is in a comfortable deep sleep in a sturdy weighted and well padded prop with Mum supporting his head. I always take an extra picture of the setup to ensure the final image is perfect and in this case I did merge the two images together as the props brought to the session by Mum and Dad were neater in my extra picture. Another before and after composite for you to see the safety aspect of working with newborns.

 

specialist newborn photography by Secret Smile Photography baby photography leeds baby safety banpas

 

And the final edit:

 

specialist newborn photography by Secret Smile Photography baby photography leeds baby safety banpas

 

I am a member of the Baby and Newborn Photography ASsociation (BANPAS) who actively ensure that all members can demonstrate safe baby composite techniques and their directory is the best place to start looking for your newborn photographer.

 

If you have any questions about any of the points raised in this post or would like to book your newborn photography shoot please use the Contact Me form to direct your query.

Warmest wishes

Lisa x

 

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