Choosing a Newborn Photographer – Safety First!

Choosing a newborn photographer must be so hard! Hundreds of photographers, different options, different prices. How do you choose the right one for you?

I’m a firm believer that, like anything in life you get what you pay for! Of course, I’m also well aware that everyone has a budget!

One of the most important factors for me (and you!) should be safety and this is something which I think everyone booking a newborn session should be aware of! The one thing us Newborn Photographers all agree on is that babies are best photographed in the first 10-14 days after birth and the reasons for this is that your newborn baby is still very happy to be snuggled up into that gorgeous fetal position it’s been used to for the last 9 months of your pregnancy! Newborn babies are also very sleepy (sorry to say that, the awake all night stage comes a little after the 2 weeks!!) so it makes posing your baby a lot easier and calmer. Therefore, I have to ask you; would you risk handing your 10 day old baby over to a stranger who has no formal training or idea on how to keep a baby safe during a session, just because they are cheaper?!

Unqualified or inexperienced photographers may know the right things to say to get you through the door, but do they truly understand the temperatures safe for a session (babies can’t regulate their own body temperatures the way we can), how to support a babies delicate head and neck correctly, especially given the soft spots on a newborn baby’s head. Are they aware of how to wrap a baby safely and comfortably? How about safely spotting them whilst doing more complex pictures like a baby sleeping in a bucket? I’ve seen some truly dangerous examples of “newborn photographers” who have taken risks, which far outweigh the benefits and as a fully trained and experienced newborn photographer it’s scary what some parents will allow, just because the photographer has said it’s ok!

I had a lovely client contact me when her baby was 2 weeks old. They had experienced a newborn session, which chills me to the bone and were so upset. The other photographer had put their newborn baby onto a shelf…. I kid you not…. an actual shelf….!! The baby wasn’t supported and the mum said she couldn’t even watch! When I asked her why she didn’t just pick up her baby and leave, she said she assumed at the time he knew what he was doing, but looking back on it now, realises how horribly wrong it could have gone! I have “shelf” images in my portfolio but these are all an illusion and baby is very definitely safe, on the floor with padding underneath, with the shelf pointing upwards towards the camera to create the illusion. At no point is the baby in the air! We had an amazing session together and she couldn’t have been more happy with her images. I personally think she should have reported the other photographer, but sadly there is no formal guidelines on this or body to control the industry.

I’ve attached a couple of images to show you how some of my shots are created. I use parents to spot my newborns at all times, I carefully monitor room temperature, regularly check baby for any signs that it’s uncomfortable or restricted in any way, and this makes not only baby happy but also makes for a relaxing and enjoyable session. I have also included family pets – dogs are as much a part of the family for some parents and I’m happy to do these, but I often photograph them separately and then put the two together afterwards in post production.

Safety of course is the most important consideration but also the look of your images. I consider myself a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to photography – from a newborn session, to a toddler, cake smash or family shoot, I work hard to make sure everything is perfect. I edit all my images to remove dry skin, blanket creases, spots or marks, whilst at the same time they look natural and beautiful. My skills in photoshop can transform an image and the hours spent making your pictures perfect is part of my fee.

I am a fully qualified Master Photographer and hold the Professional Newborn Certificate with the MPA. I would be more than happy to share a copy of my risk assessment with you but also please check out my reviews on my Facebook page, where parents will tell you not only how happy they were with their images but also what an amazing, safe and enjoyable experience a newborn session is with me. If you have any questions, either if you are interested in a session or as another photographer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Rachel x