Your newborn baby is precious and their safety comes second to none at your photo shoot.
Have good communication with your photographer
Whoever you choose as your newborn photographer, make sure you feel comfortable with them. They are going to be handling your most precious cargo so you need to trust them.
How long have they been in business? Have they done any First Aid Training? Do you feel comfortable asking any questions you have?
My Giant Posing Beanbag
When people see my giant posing beanbag they always say how comfy it looks.
It has a large surface area to place newborn babies on, can be wiped down and is covered in many layers of soft blankets, each washed in baby safe detergent.
I never walk away from a baby on the bean bag or in a prop. Considering they can't move - they sure can move! If I need to step away for a minute i'll ask mum or dad to come and stand by their newborn until I return.
Not All Babies Like All Poses
Newborns are never forced into a pose. Some babies just don't like being on their front or their side and I will happily base the photo shoot around how they are most comfy.
I completely understand some parents come in dreaming of that curled up photo on their tummy but if your little one is either too awake or not comfortable, I will in no way force them.
Some babies love being swaddled, others like their hands by their face. I take their lead.
Some poses I don't believe are safe without a trained assistant therefore I don't offer them. This includes the froggy pose where baby is resting on his elbows with his head in his hands.
I have a heater to keep the room at around a comfortable 28 degrees. This may seem warm but remember they are naked for the majority of the photo shoot.
I regularly check their feet and hands to make sure they are are warm enough.
If I'm not sweating, it's not warm enough for them!
Using Safe Props
Props are only ever made of safe materials that do not splinter or have sharp corners. I would never put a baby in anything glass or uncomfortable.
Every prop, big or small, is checked for comfort and has weights in to keep sturdy if needed.
Babies are never left alone while wearing any headbands or hats and I always ensure they aren't too tight. If it doesn't fit comfortably, the don't wear it - simple.
I love it when clients bring props, big or small, to their photo shoot. Try and let me know beforehand if you're considering bringing a prop that may be a little tricky to use. This gives me time to plan a safe way to use it that still looks gorgeous in the end. (see the rugby ball below)
Sometimes a hand or finger is needed in a shot for babies safety.
This little guy was a wriggly thing so I kept mum close by at all times. A little bit of photoshop magic later and you'd never know!
Whenever I find myself leaning over a newborn baby my camera strap is
always around my neck.
(images made of two or more images edited together)
There are images all over the internet of babies balancing on swings, in glass jars, inside helmets, and what a lot of people don't understand that these images are composites, which is where 2 or more images are joined together to create the final photo.
Some of those 'failed newborn photography' posts are funny but others are just dangerous.
This image was a particularly tricky one but as their team had just beaten the All Blacks I knew I couldn't let them down! It took three images and many hours to put together. Thankfully they loved it and bought a large canvas for their wall.
Camera & Editing Trickery
Similarly to composites, what you can see in the image does not always tell the whole story. Tricks using the camera and certain types of editing can fool the eye. This baby is laying on black fabric on a beanbag.
In other instances an image may be rotated to make it look like a baby is laying flatter or more upright than they actually were.
Gorgeous & Timeless Family Photos
If you decide to get parent photos at your photo shoot (and I encourage it!) there are a few different options. We can leave your little one dressed, wrapped in a blanket, wrapped in a newborn wrap (below left) or naked (below right). It's whatever you're comfortable with.
You will have three points of contact with your baby at all times - both arms and your chest. If at any point you feel you need a rest or are uncomfortable, I am there in a flash.
Let's be honest, not all siblings want their picture taken with their new brother or sister. I will never force them, as it's not safe for the baby, but I am not above using bribes!
Depending on how confident they are, there are three main poses.
For older siblings I will wrap babies so they can be held, and for younger I can either lay them together or get them to lean over the beanbag and give their new brother or sister a little kiss.
Before I pass them the baby I explain how the must stay very still. If they want to move at any time, it's absolutely fine but they must tell me, I will come and take their brother or sister and then they can go. I also have mum or dad nearby at all times.
Whenever they are being held I always have the nappy on as I don't know any child who wouldn't jump up quick if they good pee'd on!