Choosing a newborn photographer can be incredibly confusing. There are many factors that may weigh on your mind including style, finances and location among others. I would encourage you to, first and foremost, think about the safety of your baby at the session. Currently NO REGULATIONS are in place for safe handling of babies at photography sessions and photographers can self-claim safety expertise. I’ve created this list of questions to help you to weed out those who may not follow proper safety and can inadvertently risk the life of your newborn at their sessions. This list is not meant to scare you into hiring me as your photographer because honestly, I may not be the right fit for you. The list IS intended to help you to educate yourself 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 50 babies handled as it will take some time to learn to respond to a newborns physiologic needs and reflexes. The more time a photographer has spent handling newborns, the more likely they are to be able to respond to these needs and reflexes in a timely and appropriate manner. At BBP, LLC I have been working with newborns since 2015 and have handled over 100 newborns to date including preemies, twins, those recently circumcised and those with physiologic impairments.
- 2. Have you received any newborn specific posing training and with whom did you train?
Knowing a newborn’s physiological body structure is very important in newborn handling. There is so much more to newborn photography than just cute poses, and pretty outfits. Safety should always come first, and although there is no strict regulation on certifying newborn photographers for safety training, please consider a newborn photographer who has completed some hours of newborn safety whether it be online or hands on with an experienced newborn photographer. I have completed a safety certification at the AANPS (American Association of Newborn Photography Safety) http://aanps.org which I feel is a great safety course to attend as this has helped me to keep my studio as safe as environment as possible for my tiniest of clients. Safety is #1 here at BBP, LLC… no photo is worth the risk of injuring your precious baby!
- 3. Are you a member of an organization or association directly serving newborn photographers and their educational needs?
Though few organizations currently exist, and no regulations are in place for the newborn photography industry, a new organization AANPS (American Association of Newborn Photography Safety) http://aanps.org and the Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers International has been formed to fill the void and provide safety courses, educational resources and opportunities for growth and achievement for the newborn photographer. Your newborn photographer of choice, may be listed in their directory listing indicating they have been exposed to a newborn safety training course. These websites are a great place to start searching for your newborn photographer.
- 4. What are the safety practices you have in place in your studio specifically geared towards the newborn client?
Here you will get the information as to the depth of the safety precautions that are in place at your photographer’s studio. Are there tripping hazards (cords, clutter, etc)? The posing area for the newborn should provide adequate space for the newborn photographer to perform the functions of posing, where baby has plenty of space to be safe from the risk of falling? Is the newborn photographer practicing safety with their camera (such as always having the camera strapped and secured when taking photos above baby to ensure that the baby is safe from camera drops). Does the photographer have all necessary items nearby to ensure that baby isn’t left alone while fetching a needed item? Always make sure that your photographer keeps baby’s safety in mind when walking away from your baby.
- 5. Will my newborn be supported by human hands in all upright positions as well as any poses requiring suspension?
If you are like many parents and interested in trendy poses including the Froggy pose or potato sack poses such as the imagery you see on my website, you will want to know that your newborn will be handled by human hands at ALL TIMES throughout the pose. As photographers, we must be trained in the art of creating composite photos. This ensures that babies will not be at the risk of falls, tipping or asphyxiation due to positioning – three very dangerous scenarios that can result in injury or death. At Bumble-B Photography, LLC all babies are supported with human handling during all upright poses and suspended imagery.
- 6. 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 an 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 and aid in the session flow by helping to settle babe throughout posing. When an assistant is not present, it is entirely appropriate that parents participate in the session assisting with the posing of their baby. Parents, especially mothers, should never be asked to stay further away from babe as is sometimes requested due to the idea that the smell of mother’s milk will cause the baby to become unsettled. Should the baby show signs of hunger such as the rooting that can occur when they sense and smell their mother, they should be given appropriate time to feed. A satisfied baby will not be unsettled due to the smell of milk. At BBP, LLC we do not yet utilize the use of an assistant, but always encourage parents to participate whenever there is the desire.
- 7. What will happen in the case of illness, your own or otherwise?
Many photographers are parents themselves and exposed to a variety of germs from their own wonderous children. In the event a photographer’s child or the photographer themselves becomes ill prior to the session, they should be cleared by a medical professional prior to conducting the session. Where and when illness may delay your session beyond an appropriate newborn timeline, a good photographer should either have an assistant photographer on hand or referrals to other respected photographers working in the field of newborn photography. For posed newborn work, your session is time sensitive and should be completed sometime within the first two to three weeks of life. At BBP, LLC should I or my children become ill, your session will be rescheduled to ensure the safety of your newborn in our home-studio. In extenuating circumstances, we are also able to refer you to other newborn photographers.
- 8. Are you vaccinated against pertussis and the flu?
Pertussis (whooping cough) and the flu can be deadly to newborn babies. It is important that your photographer and their assistants are up to date with vaccinations against these conditions to ensure they do not pass along illness to yourself, your newborn or their siblings. At BBP, LLC, we are vaccinated and up to date on yearly vaccines, and Pertussis.
In closing: Photographers should welcome educated parents to their sessions and push themselves to be as safe as possible when handling these tiny miracles of life.
Believe it or not, from conception, your baby has beat the odds in making it into your arms healthy and happy. They are tiny miracles of life and love and hold generations of hope in their sweet little body. They have been through the trauma of birth and are resting safely in your arms with love and reassurance. Please make sure that whomever you choose as your photographer respects the miracle of your baby and takes every precaution during your time together.