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Safely Photographing Newborns

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    Newborn photography is very popular today, and an increasing number of photographers now offer this service. With so much choice, how can parents choose the right photographer for their baby?

    The most important consideration when selecting a newborn photographer should be safety.

    Newborn portraiture requires a very special skill set. An experienced newborn photographer will never put a baby at risk or cause discomfort for the sake of a photograph. They will understand the ways of a newborn; will work around a baby's needs, be patient and calm and know how to handle and soothe a baby during the photo session.

    An experienced newborn photographer will use safe poses, and be able to recognise when a particular baby might not be comfortable with a certain pose (all babies are different). During the session, they will have an assistant or parent stay close by baby with a steadying hand for any shots where there could be a risk of baby moving and falling.

    It may not always be realised that popular professional images, such as those showing babies supporting their heads in their little hands, are composite images created from a number of safely posed photographs and blended together in programmes such as Photoshop. An example of a composite image, together with the two original safe shots that were used to create it, can be seen below.

    When selecting a newborn photographer, an internet search is a good start. Word of mouth recommendation is also helpful. Alongside these are a number of other considerations:

    Portfolio:

    A photographer may have a website, Facebook page and/or blog. Are there a variety of different photographs demonstrating experience of newborn photography? Do the babies seem relaxed and content? A portfolio will of course also help parents decide if they like a particular photographer's style.

    Information and guidance:

    Does the photographer provide details of what to expect during a newborn session?

    It is always a good idea to speak to a photographer in person and ask about their approach to newborn safety before booking.

    Some photographers may belong to a professional photographic organisation. The Baby and Newborn Photography Association (BANPAS) is a specialist organisation dedicated to the promotion of safe baby and newborn photography. All BANPAS members are required to be fully insured and adhere to a code of conduct regarding safe working practices. A BANPAS photographer will have demonstrated skill in working with babies and had their work judged to be of a professional standard. The BANPAS website is an excellent resource for parents, providing a search facility to locate specialist newborn photographers in their area.

    Finally - newborn photographs are ideally taken during the first two weeks of life while baby still has that lovely curly newborn look and sleeps more, enabling poses to be more easily achieved. Some photographers will be booked up months in advance, so the search for a photographer should be started early during pregnancy to avoid disappointment later on.

    Lorraine Jardim LBIPP QGPP
    Ellie J Photography
    Tel: 07765 718 415
    www.elliejphotography.co.uk

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