Is Newborn Photography safe?
While it is true (and slightly scary) that there is no specific regulatory body or licensing requirement for newborn photography in the UK, there are many reputable and experienced photographers who will always prioritise the health and wellbeing of their little clients, have received training in safe posing techniques and will know how to work with newborn babies in a way that ensures their safety and comfort.
When it comes to all those adorable newborn poses you will have seen, provided they are carried out by an experienced newborn photographer they are safe for the following reasons:
Newborn babies are able to bend into certain poses during photography sessions because of their natural flexibility and the fact that their bones and joints are still developing.
An adult human typically has around 206 bones, whereas a newborn baby around 270 – 300 (technically speaking, this additional
number aren’t really bones as such, rather separate components joined with flexible cartilage that will fuse together as baby grows to
form the adult skeleton).
When you consider the tight space a baby occupies in utero and then what a baby has to go through during a normal birth, you can
appreciate the high level of flexibility in their joints and muscles. This same flexibility, along with a newborn’s limited muscle tone,
allows newborn photographers to pose babies safely into those wonderful tightly curled poses that the majority of older children and adults simply can’t achieve. This flexibility and lack of muscle tone is one of the main reasons why we photographers carry out newborn portrait sessions during baby’s first weeks of life. As they grow older, they begin to develop more muscle tone and this natural flexibility subsequently decreases. Another reason is that at this early age baby is more likely to sleep, making posing easier overall.
It's important to remember that, while newborn babies do possess this natural flexibility, newborn photographers must always prioritise safety during the photoshoot.
An experienced newborn photographer will have knowledge of safe posing techniques which will support baby's neck and spine, will use composite imagery for more complex poses and have a ‘spotter’ on hand (a parent or assistant who will assist with supporting baby as required).
You should also ensure your photographer knows of any health issues your baby might have so any necessary adjustments can be made. For example, if baby has any mobility issues or physical limitations your photographer will need to plan poses and setups to accommodate those needs.
Another question I have been asked in the past is whether the photographer’s flash will damage a baby’s eyes. The answer to this is no, and it is a subject I have blogged on in the past. To read my blog, please click here.