Newborn safety is paramount in all my newborn sessions. Below I wanted to explain all the newborn health and safety procedures I follow before, during and after my sessions to offer parents peace of mind. If you don’t book your newborn session with me then PLEASE read these steps just so you can be aware of the sorts of things you chosen photographer should be doing as standard practice. I’ve also included some potentially more obvious safety considerations just in case you have seen lovely photographs on the internet and think you might like to try them for yourself at home.
1. All wraps, blankets and props are washed separately from my other household washing and are washed using Ecover non-bio for sensitive skin washing liquid.
Every item used in a session is washed after the session.
2. All wipeable surfaces are cleaned with Milton Antibacterial Spray/Wipes which are safe for use around babies.
3. During a session, I will have hand sanitizer close by and will always wash my hands thoroughly before starting the session. If at any point during your session you’d like me to wash or sanitise my hands again, please feel free to ask.
4. I do not smoke, nor do I have any pets. My home studio is entirely pet and smoke-free. If you wish to smoke during the session, you will be asked to step outside and it would be preferable if you bring a second person with you to remain with the baby during your smoking break.
1. After a session and before redressing baby I always check for fibres, threads or hairs which might be caught around fingers and toes. Please also check your own baby for these things. Fibers, threads and hairs can potentially cut off a babies circulation to their tiny fingers and toes so this is more important than you may have realised.
2. If your baby was born with or is suffering from any medical conditions I will ask you to let me know of these before the session starts and I will adapt the session accordingly. If your baby struggles with reflux I will pose him/her in more upright positions for their own comfort. If your baby has any hip problems I will make sure s/he is not placed in any poses that will put any pressure on their hips or put their hips in any kind of unnatural position.
3. If I happen to have a cold or any other signs of illness when your session is due I will inform you prior to your session and offer for you to reschedule or alternatively have your session fee refunded. If I have a mild cold (runny nose/sore throat) you will have the same offer to reschedule/refund however if I feel well enough to work and you would like to proceed with the session I would ask for you to sign a waiver as part of your client agreement.
1. You will have seen many images online of babies posed in very cute but almost impossible looking poses. Many of these are made by taking two separate photographs and putting them together in photoshop.
Even though these images require some photoshop trickery there are still some poses which should never be attempted while a baby is awake (in case they suddenly flinch or move) and babies should never be forced into any position. The physiology of each baby is different and some babies will just never bend into certain positions if their bodies just don’t want to go that way.
2. I NEVER pose a baby in a position they are not comfortable in. If a baby is only settled and happy wrapped in a beautiful cocoon, then I will take a beautiful range of portraits with that baby wrapped. The comfort of your baby is paramount. As much as you may desperately want a certain photograph from the session if it’s going to distress your baby or your baby is too awake or too rigid then I just won’t do it.
3. Some images aren’t even what they seem! A baby should NEVER be suspended from anything hanging, EVER. It’s just not safe. Any photographer that has received newborn safety training will know this. Any image where a baby appears to be suspended is done through clever angles and photoshop trickery. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t ever let a photographer suspend your baby in any type of fabric or hammock.
Spotting your baby
You may be asked during a session to assist with “spotting” your baby. This is nothing technical or difficult, it is simply a request for you to hold and support your baby whilst I take a photograph. This is often the sort of image which is then later edited in Photoshop to remove your supporting arm. The image below (left) was taken while mum was fully supporting her baby (right). If you ever don’t feel comfortable supporting your baby in a pose PLEASE just say, we can move on to something else or adjust the position. It’s really that easy.
When you are spotting your baby your focus for every single second should be on baby and not me. I will talk you through every step.
You’ll notice in the image above baby is actually tilted back slightly so there is no risk to him falling forwards. Mum is supporting his neck and he is very firmly wrapped in several layers.
In the image above and similar images like this baby is never actually levitated off the beanbag. They are still comfortably nestled on a beanbag with blankets snug and supportive around their body. The biggest worry mum usually has is whether her nails have been done 🙂
Once baby is away from mums warm snuggles and out of their babygrow, I will raise the temperature to around 28 degrees, this is the temperature that most newborns are comfortable when they are wearing very little. I will have a room thermometer nearby to regulate the temperature around your baby. To monitor how warm or cold your baby is, I will check the temperature of their chest neck and tummy, they should feel warm but not hot. Other signs such as redder cheeks than usual and fast breathing are also a sign that a baby is too warm. A baby who is overly warm may also have damp hair, a sweaty back and chest, red ears, a rapid pulse. If your baby becomes too warm I will reduce the or switch off the heater and/or remove layer wraps.
I will ask if your baby has breathing, reflux or hip problems as well as ask if there are any medical conditions that I should be aware of. This is so I can ensure your baby is always positioned comfortably throughout the session. For example, I would not position a baby with clicky hips on his/her front with their knees apart because this can put pressure on their hips.
When moving baby into a pose I always hold babies head around their jaw, cheekbones and the harder parts of their head avoiding the softer areas around the temples and the fontanels which have not yet properly formed.
Babies Modesty & Identity
It is always up to parents whether they would like their baby to be photographed naked. Naked photographers are a lovely way of capturing them just as they are but if this is something you don’t want then you will always have the opportunity to say no. If you would like naked photographs of your baby, they will always be positioned modestly & tastefully and there will be no bits on show!If you would like naked photographs of your baby but you don’t want them to be shown on the internet in any way whatsoever then that is also a decision you have full control over.
You will be in the room with me at all times while I photograph your baby. You will be able to watch every single moment of the session. If there is ever anything you suddenly don’t feel comfortable with you can ALWAYS ask me to stop, regardless of what you’ve previously requested. The whole session is planned around you and your babies comfort and safety, if you don’t feel comfortable or if there’s something, no matter how tiny, niggling at you then please please say. I want you to feel relaxed and enjoy the whole session.
There is an entire blog post dedicated specifically to your little one’s privacy online. PLEASE READ THIS TOO.
Things I’ve seen online that you should NEVER try at home
1.NEVER place a baby in anything glass. Whether a bowl, vase or any other vessel. It’s just not worth the risk.
2.NEVER place a newborn (or older baby) near Christmas baubles that can shatter and cause painful injury if a baby fell onto one.
3.While we’re talking about Christmas please don’t EVER wrap fairy lights around your baby. They can get very hot and burn them.
4.I’ve already mentioned it but don’t ever suspend your baby in a hammock or dangle them from a sheet of fabric. Newborns have a startle reflex and if they startle it could be catastrophic.
5.If a baby looks in a position that looks cute but tricky please don’t try it. A baby can not naturally balance their head up on their hands propped up on their elbows. Their head is too heavy and their neck and wrists aren’t strong enough. Not to mention they are not stable and could startle at any time. Leave tricky poses and composite images to those who have had training.
6. Don’t dazzle them with your flash. Camera phone flashes can go off unexpectedly in low light and it’s likely that you’ll be quite close and baby might be looking right at you when you take the photo. In the Studio my lighting is soft and feathered and not directly in front of your babies eyes (and hopefully they’ll be asleep too). So if you’re taking a million photos on your phone please double check your flash is OFF and not on auto if you’re taking a photo of your baby while they are awake.
Please remember just because you’ve seen it online doesn’t mean it’s safe. Please don’t put your baby at unnecessary risk for the sake of a photograph.