Newborn Baby Safety 101

You know those beautiful images of newborns sleeping peacefully on special props? Or hanging from a tree in a hammock? Or in a carriage? Or propped up on their hands all strong and supported?

They’re not ‘real’ – they’re the product of digital magic. Want to learn how they do it? Read on!

Recently, a photographer shared a few images that she’d seen in her Facebook feed that were BLATANTLY unsafe.

Now, normally I say MYOB as you don’t know for a fact that the photographer is missing the safety aspect (a good editing job can remove the spotters and supports), however, it was clear that these babies were being put at risk.  There was NO question that the image was done with the baby literally hanging in a wire basket above the ground…  and in some cases dangling out of baskets…

So, as part of educating the world – not just the up and coming new photographers but also the clients who are allowing photographers to endanger their babies – we have this post.

Here’s the truth: newborn baby images of this nature are only done safely when done as composites.

I put out an open call to professional photographers all over the globe to share with me their composites and behind the scenes images and video. I want you to see that its not just my opinion – but that this is the industry standard for baby safety.

Enjoy some beautiful images, and see a little behind the scenes of baby safety for newborn portraiture.

And if you’re looking to hire a newborn photographer, make sure that they know how to safely achieve the images you love. Because “getting the shot” shouldn’t be more important than the safety of your little one.

*All images used with permission*


An overview of common newborn poses that had a hand on the baby the whole time.   Video courtesy of EJM Photography in Port Melbourne, Australia.

 


 

DC Photography in  Las Vegas, Nevada, USA,  showcased their “Princess and the Pea” set with TWINS in the “Chin in Hands” on their blog!  Each twin is fully supported and photographed individually on the set, then the 4 images are combined for one final image of two beautiful princesses.

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This gorgeous swing image comes courtesy of Joan Delatte Photography in Louisiana, USA.   Joan gave me some intel on how the shot came together: “I took the top half of baby from one image and the bottom half from the other image and blended them together. Mom’s hands never left the baby!  Looking at the finished image still makes me nervous because I think it looks so real. I will have to put a disclaimer on it wherever I end up posting it.”swing composite

 


 

RyeTan Photos & Creations by Tiffany Alexander located in Gulf Breeze, Florida, USA created this adorable sibling image by letting big sister have her moment in the spotlight without the new baby, and then merged a carefully prepared image with the newborn in the pram with the sister image. Not only did this image come from two separate images, Tiffany’s assistant was there helping the newborn hold the position safely, and removed the support hand in post processing.

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Cathy Sujishi of Heartprint Images in Lake Forest, California, USA uses digital magic to not only help her newborn babies safely hold poses such as the ‘chin in the hands’ images but to create what she calls “Nature Blends” where the baby in the studio is photographed to match into several outdoor set-ups that she’s also photographed and prepared for just this pose set up.   It takes careful matching of the light tones to get a blend that looks real, but its that attention to detail that makes composite images such as these look believable.  See the pieces that went into this image and some of her other blends on her blog post here. 

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Holly Couchie of Lovely Creations Photography in North Bay, Ontario, Canada shows her composite magic for “the Froggy” in a bucket. There are hands on the baby at all times supporting the head on the wrists.  Those supports are then edited out in post work for the perfect final image.

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The Dream-catcher Baby – a composite image in which the baby appears to be suspended in the air is really the result of merging two separate shots together. Image courtesy of Jessica Lynn Photography in Northwestern Indiana, USA. See more of her safety composites on her original blog post.

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This gorgeous ‘hanging’ baby isn’t really hanging at all! Check out the magic by Geneviève Labrosse of GL Fotografie in her blog post (Its in French, but the pictures are a great explanation all on their own).  GL Fotografie is located in Montreal in Québec, Canada.

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>KimBerly E. Photography in Kalispell, Montana, USA created this sweet fall ‘potato sack’ baby by merging two images together, keeping the newborn’s head and neck supported at all times.

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Scenes like this gorgeous Christmas image are also the work of digital magic! A baby is not able to hold himself up like this safely… and KimBerly E. Photography in Kalispell, Montana, USA made sure that an assistant was supporting the baby’s head at all times.  The assistant’s presence was then removed using an image of the set up prior to the baby being placed in the scene.

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Julie of Julie Souter Photography, which serves the WNY Buffalo NY, USA area,  says “Ever wonder how I’m able to tame a rambunctious toddler while keeping the fresh little newborn safe? Well, here’s one of my secrets! Sometimes I photograph them separate & put the photos together with a lil’ magic”  Julie also does composites involving “furbabies” so that every member of the family can safely be photographed with the new baby.

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Here’s another look at siblings with newborns… which is especially helpful when the older sibling isn’t willing to share the limelight with the new baby for pictures.  This one is by Juls Megill Photography in Huntington Beach, California, USA.

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Another gorgeous sibling image composite set, courtesy of Isabella Seda of  IC You Photography in Rockland County, New York, USA.

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Here’s a great way of photographing siblings gathered around the new baby safely courtesy of Kristin Nicole Images  located in Salisbury, Maryland, USA.

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Hey fellow pros – want to be featured in the next round of baby safety composites?
Email your images and blog links where you’re showcasing the truth… and those selected will be part of “Part Two” featured posting!   Email: ask@stefanieshutters.com

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