National Newborn Safety Week

Last week was Newborn Safety Week for photographers all over the country. This is an opportunity for us to educate and encourage others who may be learning or may not know how to get that shot they they are looking for. Safety is always number one!!! A baby looks adorable in its natural state and does not require additional posing. That doesn't mean it isn't as cute as all get out to pose them in thoughtful positions that seem to defy all things that we know about newborns. However, newborns are not a prop and must be given the utmost consideration and care.
First some things that Ive learned along the way that are very helpful, if not a necessity for a safe newborn session:

1~patience, patience, patience. Babies don't give a hoot about your creative vision or if your on a time crunch. If you are rushed, you are going to be sloppy and make a mistake. This is not an area with room for mistakes.

2~A wireless remote. This is a must for me. Here is a link to the one I have. I have my hands on my newborns for any photo that will  be deemed a composite. I set my camera up on some books or a short tripod. Set my focal length, then I put one of the parents in charge of the remote so that I can use both my hands. When I'm ready, I tell them to push the button like they are my 6 year old! Otherwise, you may not end up with enough to choose from.

3~A brick. Yup, a brick. When I place my sweet babies in a basket, a bucket, a box or whatever else I may find to compliment them, I put a brick(or two)in the bottom of it prior to putting blankets, pillow and finally the baby into it. This ensures that the item does not become top heavy. Again, this is precious cargo I'm caring for and I'm not taking any chances!

4~A bean bag. I use this anytime I'm using a set up that has baby off the ground in a hammock or sling. I edit it out in a composite(the merging of two or more images) later. I want the baby no more than a couple inches from the bean bag.

5~Helpful and attentive parents. I make sure that I am clear about what I expect from the parents in regards to keeping their baby safe while I'm shooting. I want the parents within a foot or two of the baby during the whole session. I let them know that they are welcome to touch, hold or do whatever they need if the baby begins to fuss or fidget. I don't care if I'm in the middle of shooting, we snuggle baby back into contentment and then continue.

6~Be flexible. You will not always get the posed shot that you want. Some babies just are not having it. You know what, that's ok. Don't get frustrated and don't force it. Naturally posed babies are beautiful and perfect. Capture that well and your clients will love you. You can view more of my newborn art at Garden Gates Photography.

Here are some examples of composites and safety practices in my own studio:

 In the fallowing shot, you will notice I had both Mom and Grandma helping with this one. I also used a second shot of the baby where his upper body was held and his lower portion was not in order to complete this composite. He was a bit squirmy and made us work for this shot.

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