I have been a Maternity and Newborn photographer for a long time now. Probably the longest in the area. I am proficient with my use of light and I have great skills with babies and their parents. So why after 7 years in this business did I decide to qualify for a safety certification with the Master Photographers Association? Well, suffice to say I love training, I have trained photographers myself and I under the training at least three times every single year, Newborn posing training, Safety Training, first aid, lighting training, business training. I want to give my very best to my clients at every stage of their experience.
So, recently there has been quite a surge of photographers undertaking newborn photography without any training, which is fantastic, however I have seen some scary stuff, Facebook lives where baby is left on their own in a basket, unsupported and could leapfrog out at any minute, photographers attempting the Froggie pose, where the Childs head is sat upon their hands – see image below. This image is particularly tricky as it is a composite image, the baby is held by a parent in two different positions and then blended together in photoshop for a seamless image. Do it wrong and you could have all sorts of issues, the one I see a lot is the child has their hands too far back and restricts their windpipe!! Probably not very good for baby right.
Now, as much as I am an advocate of Maternity photoshoots and Newborn imagery, this should never be undertaken in an unsafe environment, there are literally hundreds of things that need to be looked at in the studio or home environment where a baby is, you have read the magazines right, how much did you spend baby proofing your home? Or making that egg the correct colour in every single conceivable temperature, don’t have too many blankets, or too few, it is a minefield.
So to convert this to my world, my calm and homely studio has to be comfortable for parents, which it is, people often comment on how relaxed they were during the session. And they are well looked after. But baby’s safety is paramount to my business. If something happens to that child it is absolutely my responsibility, I undertook many newborn posing courses before I even attempted to shoot them on my own. So that friend who says they can do it for you because they have a great camera, might be cheaper, but they also may not know what they are doing. The only other people that are so hands on with baby’s at this stage are midwives and health visitors. Now they are regulated! Newborn Photographers, unfortunately, are not. It is just as important that your baby is safe and happy in my studio as it is when you are giving birth in the hospital. That is my passion and what I wholeheartedly believe.
So, I’ve rambled on, whats your point Carli!!! The Master Photographers Association has recently released a Newborn Safety Certification, which you can take when you get your Licentiate Qualification. This is an extremely in-depth portion of the qualification as one side of it, the Licentiate part shows your proficiency with lighting, posing and general photography skill. The other side is an in-depth document (mine was 45 pages long) showing your understanding of heat and babies, safety elements when posing, insurance, full health and safety and risk assessments, sanitisation, feeding equipment, before and after shots where you are using a composite image, issuing spotters when shooting so baby is not left unattended, the list is exhaustive.
I decided when I spoke to my mentor Ray Lowe that I should go for this qualification, not so much for myself, but to get the message out there! Newborn Photography is not easy, it is difficult, it requires a lot of training and please please please choose someone that knows what they are doing. I cannot photograph all your newborns as much as I would like too, the studio is busy and I am very happy. And that is what I want for all of you, perfect, timeless images of you. During your pregnancy, and of your tiny newborn, undertaken in a relaxed environment. An image which you can walk past every day on your way to work and sigh, oh I wish he was that little again…..
I am very pleased to say that I am now Hertfordshire’s very 1st Safety certified Newborn Photographer and the 4th in the whole of the UK.