There’s currently a lot of discussion about newborn baby photography safety, and quite rightfully so when there are a handful of photographers naively undertaking skilled shoots with no training, or even a basic grasp as to the specific needs of a very young baby. Equally as worrying is our DIY obsessed culture of “lets give it a go ourselves”, as accidents are increasingly likely to occur when amateurs try to achieve what should only be undertaken by a professional photographer equipped with the expertise of safe newborn posing.
We understand that a newborn baby cannot support the weight of their own head and that indeed their head is the most vulnerable part of their body. It must at all times be adequately supported and protected from sudden impact or shock, especially until they have developed strong neck muscles. With this in mind, baby simply cannot support their head in their own hands whilst balancing on their elbows in the, so called ‘frog’ pose. Equally common sense should tell us that we shouldn’t risk curling the baby up in a flimsy piece of cloth and suspending them 6 feet above a hard floor.
Professional newborn photographers will tell you instantly that these type of shots are composites. If they can’t, then sack them and walk away. These popular images are made up of two, maybe three separate photographs that have been skilfully blended together in Photoshop to create one final image where hands, supports or beanbags have been edited out; as demonstrated with the images of little Patrick where Debbie is supporting his head in the original shot above, but her hand has been removed in post-production to create the final image below.
The trouble is that DIY friend might not appreciate this! He might have a fancy camera but he hasn’t invested in any specific newborn posing training. Things could go horribly wrong!
At this point, you might have thought that we’d smugly present you with loads of real life examples, illustrating exactly how these composite shots are achieved, but we’re not going to. Apart from the relatively simple example of Patrick above that is. It’s not that we don’t have the skill or knowledge to be able to achieve these heavily photo-shopped images or that we haven’t sought the relevant specialist training to do these poses, as we have, it’s simply that we really, really don’t like most of the poses that require composites and therefore have no interest in creating them.
Personally, and we fully appreciate and embrace the fact that our artistic tastes all differ, we don’t understand why anyone would want a photograph of their beautiful newborn baby appearing to swing from a tree or all curled up tightly inside a mixing bowl! Our clients choose us because they favour a much more natural, organic and comfortable approach to baby photography that doesn’t objectify the infant as if they are a soft toy or just another cute addition to the photographer’s never ending arsenal of fancy props. Thankfully though, if this really is your bag, then there is an abundance of excellent, well-trained and safe professionals out there creating images of this kind.
Our approach to newborn portraits is refreshingly yet deceptively simply. We won’t do anything that either looks unsafe, uncomfortable, disrespectful or just downright wrong. If baby looks safe, happy, content and perfectly relaxed in our photography, then that’s because they really are, simple!