Safety is the TOP priority with newborns
I just have to say something after seeing a post that legit is the prime example of what NOT to do and who NOT to hire and yes it will be long, sorry but this is such an important subject. If you're looking for a newborn photographer or planning in the future of looking for one, ask questions! Seriously, ask what they know and if your baby's safety is their priority or if getting the shot is. If they have done this shot and show you this or other composite shots, ask them how they did it. They should be telling you they had an assistant, if not walk away.
I'm in quite a few groups on facebook for different types of photography and many for newborns. I just joined a new one today about newborn posing and I don't usually get involved in conversation that doesn't apply to me or is full of drama but the first post I saw made me want to cry, it just boiled my blood and I did comment on it and the person clearly does not care about safety by a certain finger wave reply. The post is about the froggy pose, where baby is sitting, leaning forward with head on hands. This person (not local to us) clearly stated that she does this pose unassisted, she does it herself. My head turned when I saw this! This pose should always be done with an assistant.
Attached is a composite shot of the froggy pose, where two images are merged to look like one. It shows how an assistant safely keeps the baby in this position and is also the spotter keeping their eyes and their focus 100% on the baby in case there are any sudden movements.
She says the key to this shot is balance and without it, it will fail. This person clearly does not have a brain as newborn babies cannot balance themselves or hold their own head up like this.
How this person does the shot is she puts one hand on the baby and with camera in the other hand, leans back as far as she can and takes the shot.
Hands up how many of you parents or anyone who has held a newborn baby, seen how quickly they can move even in a dead sleep? How quickly do you jump and with both hands always aim to protect the head? As I said in my comment to her, regardless of having a hand on the baby, the focus is only partially on baby and there is no way with her second hand full of camera, leaning back, eye on viewfinder and focus on focal point, can she react quickly enough to secure that baby if it suddenly moves and falls. An assistant is always immediately nearby with two hands to react and ensure that baby's head does not jerk or fall. Chances are high for even a broken neck.
Others also commented on her irresponsible actions and her response to that was the baby is safer on the beanbag than in props like buckets. Softer landing makes it ok to put the baby at risk? If baby is close enough to the edge, they can easily move enough to roll off.
Someone also asked how she learned this pose. She said, watched youtube videos and just practiced on every baby. Do you want your newborn to be a practice subject or do you want someone who knows what they're doing? Yes, I know everyone needs to actually do this pose on a real baby to learn it, but always always with a clear understanding of HOW, not trial and error.
I have successfully done this pose once, have attempted many times but the babies were not soundly asleep enough for it and a few were obviously uncomfortable in the pose. Parents saw quick how challenging it can be to achieve some of these poses.
I get parents sending me images all the time asking if I can do the pose in the image, and I tell them every time only if both parents or another person are present that can assist and also depends on baby for a couple reasons. The baby needs to be soundly asleep, if they're moving too much the pose will not be done properly or safely. Newborns are very flexible but I often get older babies that have started to lose it a bit or even younger ones that just cannot physically go into certain positions. I have had parents angry with me for refusing to do some of their requests but as I tell anyone, my number one priority is the baby's safety, not the want for certain poses. We know babies bodies are very fluid and soft, but they do have nerves. Put pressure on one the wrong way and for a period of time, it can cause damage.
Anyone who has done a newborn session with me knows I have chairs right next to my beanbag which is bad in the sense that baby can smell mom's milk, but depending on the pose I am doing a parent is always only inches away.
I had a family request a certain pose on a swing hanging from a branch so I had a custom swing made for that session. I had them come back a second time as the baby was not asleep enough for the pose. The swing was about 2 inches off the floor and the branch was resting in secure brackets on two sturdy legs, I still photoshopped dad out as he was that close.
I also recently did one with baby simply laying on her back on a little bed about an inch off the floor. I photoshopped mom out of that one too. I use parents or have them nearby in nearly every pose because I know that I am working with my hands, changing camera settings/lenses, focus is not 100% on the baby's movements at every second and all it takes is a split second for that baby to move the wrong way and an injury can happen.
Even the poses with baby on dad's arm outstretched in front of him, his other hand is hidden on the other side of the baby bracing the body and mom is nearby. Limbs are removed in poses like this. By not doing it right is pure laziness and absolute disregard for the baby's safety.
If you choose me for your newborn photos, know that your baby's safety is my number one priority and I will not do anything that cannot be safely done, no exceptions. There are way too many people out there with a camera that call themselves a photographer, professional even, and don't have a clue what they're doing. They might have the right price for the session, but what is the price when something happens to your baby because they aren't properly educated or like this person, thinks they can do it all 100% and laughs off anything telling her she's wrong?
So, when choosing your newborn photographer, always choose brains over price and always get a better understanding of experience and education because it's a much bigger price by placing your new baby in someone's irresponsible hands.