Things to consider when choosing a newborn photographer: Newborn Safety!
If you've read through my previous blog post about the different types of newborn photography, and decided that a posed newborn portrait session is the route you want to take, there are a few things you'll want to verify before making a decision on a photographer. When it comes to your brand new, precious baby, you want to do your research before hiring a photographer to ensure your baby will be in good hands! I've put together a list of questions to ask your photographer so you'll be confident your sweet little bundle will be handled with the utmost care during their first modeling gig!
There are currently no regulations in place for newborn photography. Anyone can self proclaim to be a professional newborn photographer. It's important that you do some research before choosing a photographer. If the photographer hasn't been trained in safe posing, you could potentially be putting your sweet little love in danger. Pinterest photos are often deceiving. While some photos look like they might be easy to replicate, a lot of them involve advanced editing techniques along with very specific posing to ensure the baby is safe at all times during the session. Saving a little money is not worth potentially putting your itty bitty newborn in danger so make sure to do your research! Here are a few questions you can ask your photographer:
1.) What newborn-specific posing training have you had?
Being an incredibly talented photographer doesn't automatically qualify someone to be a newborn photographer. Posing a newborn is significantly different than posing a family or wedding party. There are two types of newborn photography training; online courses, and in person training. There are some really good online courses available, but in person training is essential to learning safe newborn posing techniques. If you are hiring a photographer who specializes in newborn photography and has a lot of experience, chances are they've had extensive training but it still doesn't hurt to ask for specifics! If you are hiring a photographer who specializes in other session types, or a new photographer who is offering portfolio building sessions at highly discounted prices, please make sure they have been properly trained to work with newborns! I have taken numerous online courses, in-person workshops, one-on-one mentoring with a phenomenal newborn photographer, and have assisted other newborn photographers.
2.) What safety practices do you use in your studio for newborn sessions?
This question will help you get a better idea of how well your photographer understands the needs of a newborn. The studio should be set up with your baby's comfort in mind. Things like room temperature, cleaning and sanitizing, safe posing surfaces and props, environment, and if the photographer is vaccinated against pertussis and the flu are all things that should be part of studio safety practices.
3.) Do you use composite techniques?
A composite image is created when two or more images are merged together in Photoshop. Professional newborn photographers use composite techniques for a lot of poses. Any upright or suspended poses, or some poses in props require hands on baby at all times. For these poses, an assistant or mom or dad hold the baby in the pose, and photos are combined to remove the hands from the final image. I also like to use composite techniques for a lot of my more intricate setups. The baby is photographed safely posed on a cozy surface, and then transferred to a different background in Photoshop. This allows me to offer a large variety of imagery without having to move the baby as much which avoids overstimulation.
4.) Will my baby be supported by human hands in upright positions?
Upright and suspended poses are very sweet and make beautiful images, but they must be done with human hands supporting the baby at all time to ensure your baby is not at risk for falls or positional asphyxiation. These poses must be created using composite techniques. If your photographer does not work with a trained assistant, a parent should always be used to assist with these types of poses.
5.) Is your business licensed and insured?
If your photographer is not operating a legal, insured, tax-paying business then I highly recommend you look elsewhere. Having legal documentation will ensure you are working with a true professional photographer and not a hobbyist. It is very unlikely they have acquired the necessary training to safely handle your tiny baby if they are not running a legitimate business.