Choosing a newborn photographer can be a little overwhelming. You spend hours on the internet to find the perfect photographer, considering price, location, and narrowed it down to a few of your favorite photographers. Now what?
First and foremost when seeking a newborn photographer, PLEASE make sure the newborn photographer you choose will be experienced enough to capture your little one in all those cute poses safely. As a mother, and professional photographer with over 15 years of experience, I was surprised to hear about unsafe handling of newborns by other photographers and have compiled this list of questions to help you to weed out those who may inadvertently risk the safety of your newborn at their sessions. Although poses of little ones resting their chins on their hands or hanging and standing upright in sweet bundled sacs look adorable, not all newborn photographers know how to do these poses safely.
This list is not meant to scare you into hiring me as your photographer because I still may not be the right fit for you (i.e. I don’t do the hanging shots because I’m not comfortable doing them). The purpose of this list is to help you educate yourself so whomever you choose, you can be assured they will handle your newborn with the utmost care and respect your little miracle by taking every precaution during your time together.
1) Ask questions. How long has your photographer been working with newborns? How many newborns have they photographed approximately? Does the photographer shoot with an assistant or will they ask or allow you to participate by spotting your baby in the setups?
I have photographed around 30-40 newborns, so a few but not as many as some, and I or a parent is always sitting near the baby at all times. No one should EVER leave a newborn alone or stand on anything above the baby.
2) Do the babies in your photographer’s images look comfortable and not strained?
A strained face, furrowed brow, or claw like fingers can be indicators that babies are experiencing various levels of discomfort though sometimes they can simply be characteristic of a baby in particular. Seeing a few of these characteristics in your photographer’s work is expected, but if the majority of their photographs look this way you may want to think twice. And if you ever feel uncomfortable during a session, go with your instincts and speak up. Don’t worry about being overprotective. Stop the photographer or ask them to try a different pose.
3) Has the newborn photographer attended any newborn baby posing workshops or safety classes?
One of the best ways to ensure your photographer practices safe posing techniques is through their attendance or training aimed at teaching safe posing and handling of newborns. Despite attending ALL the newborn classes provided by the hospital prior to having my own child, workshops geared at photographers has really opened my eyes to the physiology and safe handling techniques for newborns. So ask about training and experience because even if a photographer has children of their own that doesn’t mean they know safe posing techniques.
Personally, I prefer to photograph all my newborns cozy in your arms or hands, warmly wrapped in a blanket from grandma, and peaceful (and often asleep) because those photos are timeless and safe. Babies change SO quickly that I prioritize capturing all the little details that will look different a week later and the body language you will want to remember. The adorable way they how they hold their hands, THAT face, the color of their hair or lack of it, and moments of you cuddling. I don’t pretend to be Anne Geddes and my props are typically limited to blankets, baskets, hats, and cute outfits (but for newborns mostly nude is usually best).
There are some great photographers out there that will do more elaborate setups, safely, because they have the experience and training to be comfortable doing it. Just please make sure that before you set your heart on a prop you saw on Pinterest, or plan your next Christmas card using a string of lights, consider what you really want and make sure your newborn photographer is comfortable and experienced enough to pull it off, safely.
Want more examples of natural poses that I like because they keep everyone happy & at ease? HERE are more great examples of what I like to do and a few safety notes from my workshop teacher.
Interested in having some of those great hanging images? See HERE how it is done, safely, by Canadian photographer Stephanie Robin.