The Viewfinder

Newborn Safety

28 Feb 2020 9:22 PM | Alison Montgomery, Cr.Photog.,CPP (Administrator)

Newborn Safety


Alison Montgomery

Everyone loves newborns and photographing them is so amazing, you cannot take a bad photo of a newborn in their Mom and Dad’s opinion and they trust us to be gentle, kind and to keep their new little one safe while we get those great photos. Well all of us do, we are very patient and gentle with them and would never do anything to hurt them but there are a few things that we may not think about or realize that we need to keep in mind to protect them.

  • 1.    Keep an eye open as they cannot tell you what is wrong.
  • Watch for purple limbs when posing, blood supply is cut off.
  • They need a warm room but no direct heat blowing on them. Their skin is delicate.
  • Absolutely no heating pads under the blankets. It can get too hot and you don’t want one to short out from getting peed on and shock a baby.

  • 2.    They have little to no immune systems.
  • If you or anyone in the studio or home is sick reschedule.
  • Do not kiss them.
  • Get a Flu Shot
  • Ask your Dr. what if any other shots you need

  • 3.    Prop Safety
  • The weathered look photographs great but no rust, there are great faux rusty looking items out there to purchase and watch for loose metal particles on anything metal.
  • On Antique props watch out for lead paint.
  • Be sure fabrics are soft and not scratchy or abrasive.
  • In buckets and other unstable props, put a weight in the bottom or back to counter balance.
  • Check wooden props for splinters.
  • Make sure the props will fit a baby comfortably, never force a baby to fit the prop.
  • Be sure to buy from smoke free environments.

  • 4.    Camera Safety
  • Be sure you are steady when taking overhead shots, if on a step stool have someone spot you.
  • When you change your lens double check to be sure it is on securely.
  • Neck straps are preferred, however be aware of the danger they can pose as well. I see many photographers push the camera behind them while leaning over working with the baby. A camera that accidentally swings around can kill a newborn.
  • If you use a hand strap as I do, watch where you set the camera down. You don’t want to trip over it and fall on baby.

  • 5.    Cleanliness
  • Wash all wraps and fabrics between sessions in fragrance free detergent.
  • Spray and wipe down all props between sessions with a disinfectant.
  • Clean and dust studio before sessions.
  • Wash, shake or sun rugs periodically to remove dust particles.
  • Be aware of allergies with pets in studio.
  • Wash or clean all props before first use.

  • 6.     Assistants
  • Use a spotter when needed.
  • If you don’t have an assistant, Mom or Dad are usually happy to help.
  • Never EVER leave baby unattended. Newborns are stronger than you think and can lift themselves up and definitely can launch themselves from some poses or props.

  • 7.    Posing
  • Not all babies are flexible and can do all poses, never force a baby into a pose. If you try a couple of times and they don’t like it move on.
  • Some poses can injure a newborn if not done correctly. They should be done as composites. If you are not sure ask for help from another newborn photographer.
  • Manage posing expectations with the parents. Let them know that you will try for the poses they want but cannot guarantee that baby will do them but you will get them some really cute photos.

  • 8.    Props Parents Bring
  • Parents love to see their new baby posed in props from their jobs, especially first responders etc.  Please keep in mind that these tools of their jobs are exposed to chemicals and other things that we can’t see. Fire turnout gear is exposed to all kinds of toxins in a fire and these can permeate the materials and should never be against a newborn. Always ask parents to have these things cleaned well before bringing them. Best scenario is to do them as a composite so baby never has to be in the actual pocket or helmet etc. 

  • Finally, be sure to use a contract, have studio insurance, invest in and attend workshops in person. Invest in a doll to practice and consider taking a CPR course. You never know when something can go wrong so we want to be prepared. Don’t be paranoid, just aware and careful and enjoy those tiny humans.


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