Choosing a newborn photographer can be a daunting task and maybe even a little confusing. There are so many things to think about, including budget, quality of work and location, however, something that is commonly overlooked is safety measures used by the photographers. As a mother of 4 myself, I have no doubt this is very important to you. Currently there are NO REGULATIONS in place for safe handling of babies at photography sessions and photographers can self-claim safety expertise. The list to follow has been created to assist you in making the most educated decision for you and your baby, so that whomever you choose, you can be assured they will handle your newborn with the utmost care.
1. How many years have you been working as a newborn photographer and approximately how many babies have you handled up to this point?
My preference would be at least 2 years’ experience and/or 40 babies handled as it will take some time to learn to respond to a newborns physiologic needs and reflexes. You want a photographer that is extremely confident handling and posing your newborn, someone who listens to your baby’s cues, is patient and gentle. You want to make sure they understand just how quick and strong babies can be and be prepared to support and keep them safe at all times with this in mind.
- Have you received any newborn specific posing training how much and how recent ago? Have you had any newborn portrait safety classes?
I was a professional photographer for many years before I began focusing on newborn portraiture. I can tell you that it is a very different thing to go from posing people who control their own bodies, to one that has very little control over their body and is very vulnerable to the environments in which you place them in. A poorly trained, or non-trained photographer will make mistakes. It is therefore highly recommended that your photographer has had intensive training, both in person and online on posing and safety. Don’t be afraid to ask your photographers about their training. Also, a photographer who focusing on this field should be continuing their education through ongoing workshops and courses on newborn safety, posing and design. Learning is a never-ending journey. Make sure your photographer is on that journey.
- Are you a member of a professional organization or association directly serving newborn photographers and/or family photographers that provides certification and ongoing training?
I have been a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America) since opening my business. PPA offers ongoing education in all aspects of photography, including newborn photography. I earned my certification as a Certified Professional Newborn Photographer through PPA in 2016. I have also been a member of OPPA (Oregon PPA) for several years and have been active in education and mentoring. Being a member of a professional organization shows commitment to the craft and a design to learn and grow. It is also a way to have your peers and those who are more trained in your craft than you to evaluate your work and mentor you in ways to improve.
- What are the safety practices you have in place in your studio specifically geared towards the newborn client?
Everything in my studio is design with your newborn’s safety in mind. I welcome prospective clients to come in to see the steps taken to keep your little one safe. My biggest safety practice is compositing images. This is a process of merging 2 or more images together to make one cohesive scene. This is done often in my studio from everything to props shots, such a swings and nests, to poses when dad’s hands maybe holding baby for support and need to be removed digitally. Learning to pose a newborn properly, without compromising their safety in anyway, requires education and practice and a good deal of photoshop skills.
- Will my newborn be supported by human hands in all upright positions as well as any poses requiring suspension?
First of all, I NEVER offer any images requiring baby to be suspended. That is why I composite. As newborn photographers, we must be trained in the art of creating composite imagery. This ensures that babies will not be at the risk of falls or positional asphyxiation – two very dangerous scenarios that can result in death. Babies in my studio are always posed on a beanbag that is low to the ground or a floor prop with safety spotter hands on or close by. These images are used to create the magically suspended images you see on my website. Where ever your baby is in my studio, we will always be close by. And when they are in props, either mine or my assistant (AKA Dad)’s hands will be on or very near baby at all times. This is so important.
- Do you work with an assistant or provide spotters at your newborn sessions? Or will you allow me to spot my baby during a session?
Most photographers do not work with assistants in studio. When possible, a trained assistant can be a valuable asset at your session. A second set of hands are critical for many poses (especially those performed in props) and a trained assistant can provide an added level of safety with appropriate spotting. When an assistant is not present, it is entirely appropriate that parents participate in the session assisting with the posing of their baby. Your photographer should be able to clearly direct you in how to support them in keeping your little one safe.
- Do you carry liability insurance and are you a licensed business?
While I hope that a newborn is never hurt in a newborn session, there is always a risk of accidents in any field of work. A reputable business, no matter how good they are, knows that liability insurance is a necessity. Be sure your photographer understands the significance of running a business that requires them to handle tiny fragile humans. Also, is the business being run legally? Does it hold proper licensing? If a photographer is claiming to be a professional and is not licensed and insured it begs to question how safe their practices are and how reliable their service may be.
Congratulations on your new arrival. I hope this has been helpful to you and given you some things to think about and ideas of questions to ask as you continue your search for a newborn photographer. This is not intended to scare parents, but to provide you with some things to think about when narrowing down your search. I wish you and your family the very best in your journey and hope that you find the perfect photographer for you. Warmest Regards, Amy West, CPP (Owner of Blissful Mondays Photography, LLC)
AWARD WINNING PHOTOGRAPHER
2nd Place Portrait ~ NW District PPA Photographic Competition
PPA International Silver (2016) Medalist
CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
~ Blissful Mondays, your newborn photographer in Tualatin, Oregon ~
© 2018 Blissful Mondays Photography | Portland Baby Photographer | Portland Newborn Photographer | Portland Maternity Photographer | Portland High School Senior Photographer | Portland Family Photographer | Tualatin, Tigard, Lake Oswego, Portland, Sherwood, Hillsboro, Beaverton www.blissfulmondays.com | Blissfulmondays@hotmail.com | 503-927-1441