Babies are special little creatures! They turn our world upside-down…in a good way! We have waited months (sometimes years!) for them to get here and then we can’t remember life without them. We will do anything to care for and protect them. We don’t want to forget anything, so we take countless photos of them. We scour Pinterest and mom groups for ideas but trying to imitate some of those Pinterest-worthy newborn photos is not always wise. Here’s why…
When you see a unique photo on Pinterest, what you aren’t seeing is the behind-the-scenes of what it took to get that photo. Did you realize that a lot of newborn photos are composites? That means that two or more (sometimes a lot more!) photos are taken and merged together in editing software to make the one photo that you see. This is done for safety issues. Some examples of composites are head-in-hands, baby hanging in a hammock on a tree, potato sack poses, or even babies in props such as a motorcycle helmet. Have you seen photos of babies posed in a mossy, rotted out tree trunk in the middle of the forest or a baby posed on a bicycle seat?? These are composites! A general rule of thumb is if it looks dangerous or unsafe, it is and the photo you see was done as a composite. You should not attempt to do these photos on your own. Each part of a composite is done separately to make sure baby is always safe and secure.
Babies are jerky little things and can project themselves off a prop without any warning. Newborn photographers usually enlist the aid of an assistant or parent to help prevent baby from throwing themselves and getting hurt. Putting them in unsupported, unsafe props can lead to disaster. Not only are you needing to watch for baby cannons (lol), you need to be aware of the prop you are using. I have seen babies put in things like toy Tonka trucks or metal buckets with nothing to protect them from sharp edges…I’m hoping that there was at least a spotter very close at hand to watch baby.
Nakey baby shots are some of my favorites! Care must be taken with these as well. Babies are unable to regulate their own body temperatures, so they can heat up and cool down quickly. You need to be aware of what signs the baby is giving you. Just because you are burning up doesn’t necessarily mean your baby is hot. 😉 When I’m working with a baby and we are doing nakey baby shots, I keep a space heater going (not blowing on baby!) to help keep baby comfortable.
This next one is mainly opinion-based (I guess you could argue that this whole article is lol), but I think babies tend to do better with someone else taking the photos. They need to be real asleep to do a lot of the common poses you see. The minute mom gets too close, baby will smell her and decide it’s time to eat again. This is especially true in those first couple of weeks when feeding schedules haven’t been established and baby is growing exponentially and cluster-feeding. When they don’t smell mom, it makes it easier to get them good and asleep. Once they are asleep, you can just about get them to do anything especially those cute little curled up poses. Having said all that, every baby is different.
These are just a few things to think about. It all boils down to baby’s safety! If you do attempt to do your own baby photos, please watch some classes first. Also, be careful of the classes you watch. Not all of them are taught with safety in mind. If the way the photographer is doing it in the video looks unsafe, then DON’T DO IT! Either forego the idea or find someone who knows how to achieve it safely. You can always reach out to me if you have questions about how safe something is. I would much rather you ask than attempt something that could harm your baby. My number one rule when I’m doing photos (any photos whether newborn or not) is to not ever but anyone in harm’s way for the sake of a photo (I have another article on the blog about safety as well: Safety in Photography). Enjoy those babies! They grow so fast!