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The importance of newborn safety

Newborn safety is something we take super seriously here at Accent Photography. After all, we are one of the first people you take your brand new baby to see outside medical professionals, so you want to know your baby is in safe hands, right?

When looking for an Auckland newborn photographer, there are a few things you should consider besides how much these photos will cost. 

Newborn photography is still a largely unregulated industry even though it deals directly with babies―the most vulnerable and delicate of us. Anyone who owns a camera can call themselves a professional photographer and begin taking photos of newborns without any training or knowledge of the unique needs of babies. So before you choose your photographer to hand your precious bundle of joy over to, take a moment to do some research and ask them these questions before booking.

What safety training have you done?

There are so many factors that go into baby safety that as parents you think about all the time. Is the baby’s head being supported? Are they breathing correctly? Can anything around them hurt them?

Not only do I hold a current first aid certificate but I have also undertaken the New Zealand Institute of photographers newborn safety accreditation to prove that I am safe in the way I handle babies. Both of these require regular recertification so we are always up to date with the latest safety methods.

We are trained in how to do poses safely and correctly (note these often require a level of photoshop trickery to ensure the baby is always in a safe position). For example, at no point is the baby ever hung in mid-air or propped up on a stool or anything without a spotter sitting safely right there with their hands on the baby or just out of reach to grab them in a split second if needed.

We are trained to notice the smallest changes in your baby. Are they wrapped too tightly, are they too hot, has their breathing changed, or the colour of their skin? Because we are always alert to this we can correct any issues that might arise before they become a problem.

We are lucky that there are plenty of newborn photography workshops, courses and now safety accreditation, so in my opinion, there is no excuse not to have done some training in this area (rather than just watching a couple of YouTube videos and giving it a go).

Dad wanted a photo of the baby in his firefighting helmet, but due to the shape of the helmet (and the fact it doesn’t have a flat top), it wasn’t safe to pose the baby on the helmet as the helmet would rock side to side. Instead, we posed the baby in the same position on the same fluff but safely on our baby bean bags and then composited the two images together in photoshop.

Does the photographer highlight their safety training on their website and socials?

If newborn safety is something your photographer takes seriously they will be shouting it from the rooftops. I guarantee if you speak to any photographer on the phone or over email before booking and ask if they are safe newborn photographers they will of course answer with yes (after all no one wants to intentionally hurt your baby). There is a difference though between thinking you’re safe and knowing you are.

Before booking, check out your newborn photographer’s website and social media. If they have undertaken training you should be able to find it easily. If their newborn photography website doesn’t highlight safety training and protocols, it could point to this not even crossing the photographer’s mind.

For our swinging hoop shots, the baby is safely sitting on the ground as you can see on the straight out of camera right-hand side photo – the legs of the hoop and the lines on the floor were then removed in photoshop to give the appearance of hanging. At no point should a baby ever be hung in the air where they could fall and hurt themselves.

Things to keep an eye out for while on your photoshoot

Let’s say you’ve done your research and book with a photographer you trust. For the day of the shoot, it’s still important to know what to look out for in case s/he isn’t adhering to newborn safety best practices.

  • Forcing the baby into poses that they are clearly uncomfortable in – if your baby won’t settle into a pose without too much fuss, then your photographer should move on and try a different pose.
  • Leaving your baby unattended or unspotted in a prop where they could move and hurt themselves.
  • Suspending your baby in mid-air
  • Using props that seem unsafe (glass, splinters, nails, rickety or unstable antiques, backdrops or surfaces that are unstable or unsupported, etc.)

If at any time during the session you feel your baby could be unsafe speak up and bring this to your photographer’s attention. Yours and your baby’s comfort is the number one most important thing in a newborn session – after all, you won’t want to look at photos that make you shiver remembering the experience of getting that shot, or photos where your baby looks uncomfortable.

Finally, there are a few extra ways you and your photographer can keep the baby feeling comfortable and secure. 

  • Keep the room at a comfortable temperature – perhaps slightly warmer-than-normal for a baby who’s naked or wearing minimal clothing.
  • There should be plenty of time to allow you to nurse/ feed and cuddle your baby to keep them happy and secure.
  • Photographers with colds, who aren’t feeling well or are clearly ill should automatically reschedule with you – if they show up this way, send them home and postpone the session until they’ve recovered.

I’m Katrina, owner of Accent photography, and I am an experienced newborn and baby photographer who takes her job and the safety of your kids extremely seriously.  Feel free to get in touch with me at any time and I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about booking a newborn photo shoot. I can’t wait to safely provide you with priceless images of your sweet, little bundle of joy.

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