Are You Working Safely?

As an Association we are often sent messages from concerned members of the public and photographers with links to images of newborn babies in what appear to be worrying and/or unsafe poses.

Images that show babies feet and legs are purple from where the blood supply is being restricted due to the pose or being left to get cold.  Photos where babies have clearly been left to balance in an unsafe pose potentially damaging their wind-pipe or wrists.  Shots of babies that do not apper to be relaxed, happy and at peace, often with furrowed brows, possibly caused by either being uncomfortable, or from the bright studio lights, or both.

Sadly, we are unable to police the newborn photography industry, there are no reguations or health and saftey laws specific to this genre of photography, nor can we sit in on sessions and watch to see how photographers are handling client's babies.

What we can do however is raise awareness amongst both the photographic community, and the general public, that working with, photographing and posing newborn babies requires skill, patience and safety awareness.

If you are a photographer and have been sent a link to this article from somebody with advice to read it, please understand, it's not come from a place of malice, or jealousy, or any other reason that may give you cause to feel defensive about your work. It's because somebody has seen one of your images and is worried for the safety of the newborn babies you are working with.  All photographers have to start somewhere on their career journey, and more often than not, it's a simple case of "you don't know what you don't know" - nobody automatically knows how to pose babies safely, it takes training and education.

If you are a parent and at any point during your photoshoot you see your photographer doing any of the unsafe posing we detail in this article, please remove your baby from harm's way.  It is okay to say no!

When you look at other photographer's work and you see beautiful, safely captured images like this :

{Image supplied by Shellie Wall Photography}  

{Image supplied by A-Fotography}

 {Image supplied by Capture4Life}

{Image supplied by Kay Oliver Photography}

You might mistakenly assume that a baby has been placed in this position and then left to balance unsupported in a pose, like this

Baby has been made to take the weight of her head on her wrist and elbow.  
No spotter is supporting the weight and stopping her head from flopping.

If you see images of sleepy babies on boxes or crates like these

{Image supplied by SR Portraits}

{Image supplied by Ellie J Photography}

{Image supplied by Anna Hurst Photography}

And then try to photograph them like this

Baby is lying on a box that is too small with no posing technique or spotter touching the baby at all times

If you see beautiful images like this

{Image supplied by Hazel Irvine Photography}

And then try to capture the same shot like this

Baby is inside the basket with the edge digging into her arms - basket is possibly not weighted either

When you see photos of babies inside buckets or tubs like these

{Image supplied by Blue Lights Photography}

{Image supplied by All Seeing Eye}

But your images end up looking like this

Parts of the baby are hanging out from the side of the container - one sneeze or kick and that baby and the container are going over

If you look at images like these safe sling images

 {Image supplied by MaddyZangles}

{Image supplied by Tiny Posers}

And think that a photographer achieves these shots by doing any of this

 Baby actually suspended in the air

 What if the spotter sneezes and startles baby so she thrashes herself out of the wrap?

Babies don't bounce!

If as a photographer you are doing any of the following, or as a parent, your photographer does any of these things during your session:

* placing a baby in a glass container
* resting a baby's head or arms on the edge of a bucket, box or container
* making a baby take the weight of its head on its wrists or arms and then taking the shot before she topples over
* not checking the temperature of the baby regularly
* not checking their circulation, checking to see what the skin tone of extremities is like
* placing a baby in or on any kind of container and then allowing someone to walk out of frame

Then you are not working safely and there is a very strong possibility that you are putting a newborn baby at risk.

Parents bring their baby to a photographer and put their faith and trust in them as a professional that they have an understanding of how to photograph newborn babies.  In exactly the same way a pet owner happily hands over their dog or cat to a vet, assuming that the vet has had the approriate training. They do not think to question how photographers achieve their images, or that they might not have had any form of training at photographing newborn babies.

If you are a photographer and any of this has rung true with how you are currently working, please read this article with an open mind and consider booking yourself on a newborn photography training workshop.

Working with newborn babies is such a privileged and special job and can be so rewarding, but if you're not working safely, this could happen to one of your clients in your studio.


All BANPAS registered photographers have to satisfy the Association that they work safely using the composite technique and safe posing at all times.
To find a photographer local to you, please visit our website.

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