Safety first in newborn photography must be the top priority to consider before you lock in your newborn session photoshoot. Your chosen newborn photographer should be able to apply the best practise when handling you newborn during your photo session. Here are some points you need to pay attention to make sure safety is your most priority above everything when handling your newborn clients during photo shoot.
In newborn photography, Photographer’s Personal and prop hygiene is an absolute must. You must practise proper hand wash before and after your session. Keeping a tub of hospital grade sanitiser nearby to use throughout your session can also be handy.
Make sure when the photo session is done, wash everything you have used; wraps, blankets, outfits etc. A thorough wipe down with antibacterial spray will be sufficient for your hard props. You don’t want to use a dirty or soiled prop for your next session. Having a few face towels stacks in your little moveable trolley nearby will be helpful. These little towels can be very useful to clean up little mess that may happy during your photo session. They can also be used as lifters or small fillers while posing your little bosses.
Photographers are highly encouraged to use safe handling practises, you need to ensure baby’s head is correctly supported. Props are weighed down to prevent tipping, spills and messes are cleaned immediately. Always make sure your studio is heated to the right temperature. Newborns don’t have the ability to sweat through their sweat glands yet because the sweat glands aren’t yet fully functional. Because of this as a photographer you need to watch for the signs of overheating on the baby. Signs of overheating can be manifested by erratic breathing, mottled skin, irritability, flushed face and sweaty around the neckline. When signs of overheating occurs, turn down the heating, remove the clothing or layers from baby ‘s body and give baby to the mother. Wait until their temperature and breathing have returned to normal.
Never place a newborn or baby in a prop that will break or shatter. Check your props for splinters and sharp edges – fix accordingly or discard. Never remove or disturb medical items such as tubes, bandages or belly button clamps. Never leave baby unattended on any surface.
When posing newborns on bean bag or with props, always make sure baby’s airway is not blocked or constricted. Regularly check baby’s breathing and temperature. Keep an eye on their lips, hands and feet. You can also watch the signs of abnormalities by observing the color of their skin. If they start turning blue or purple, that means the oxygen or air circulation have been restricted.
It’s a good idea to have a spotter for newborn sessions (an assistant). They help provide an extra set of hands, especially for poses where two sets of hands are required. You can also advise parents to bring someone with them to help parents during the photo session.
Prevention and Precautions
Photographer or anyone in contact with young newborns should also keep up to date with vaccines. Particularly whopping cough and meningococcal is very important when working with newborns under 6 weeks of age. Newborn babies are so cute and adorable, but please refrain from kissing them. Although some giving them cuddles and gently rock them will help to soothe and calm them.
As photographer you need to tell your clients and anyone related to not to bring sick child the studio. By bringing sick kids to studio will risk spreading the illnesses with your next clients or your family. When the photographer is sick, you need to let client know and reschedule the photo shoot.
In the photography field, a composite is multiple images merged and blended into one, often used for amazing effects such digital backgrounds. Most importantly, they are used for newborn safety. There are multiple newborn poses that strictly rely on the use of composites such as a baby in a hammock or on a swing, froggy pose and many others. Most importantly, use your common sense; if it doesn’t look comfortable or safe, then it isn’t.
Keeping your studio organised at all times can prevent you and your clients from tripping over. You may need to rearrange the setting of your studio so that your clients don’t need to constantly walk through your set up. It’s also a good idea to tape down any backdrops to your floor to prevent tripping over.
When you’re finished with any hard props, move them to the side away from walkways or put them back on the shelf. Keep a basket nearby but out of the way for any soiled or used soft props for washing, regularly discarding throughout the session when needed.
Keep in mind where you place your softbox and ensure there’s enough space for everyone to walk around it freely without bumping into it or tripping over the legs. You may find that sandbags are a good way to prevent the softbox from tipping by placing them over the legs of the softbox.
I also recommend keeping a storage caddy on wheels (ideally three-tiered) nearby to hold studio essentials such as a white noise gadget, cloths, posing beans, clamps, cuddle toys and other small bits and pieces you may need throughout the session. A storage caddy will also provide a safe resting place for your camera when not in use.
Keeping your studio maintained is another important factor. Your studio safety checklist should include checking power points, fire alarms and sprinklers, and any heating system you use to ensure they’re working properly. Keep a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher nearby. While there’s a big chance you may not need these, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
First Aid and CPR:
If you’re working with newborns and young children, it’s extremely important to have background knowledge in first aid and CPR. Performing CPR on a newborn is different compare to performing CPR on an adult. This is vital knowledge to have. I absolutely recommend completing both a CPR course (newborn CPR included) and a first aid course prior to handling any newborn or young child. Insurance is also something to consider as this will protect the client and their young ones in the event of an accident.