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Newborn Safety and Composites-Photography Blog Carnival!

I have teamed up with a bunch of amazing custom portrait photographer from around the world to bring you a “blog carnival” .  What is a blog carnival you ask?   Each photographer in the group will be writing a post on all things photography related and working with a custom photographer.   After you read my article on “Newborn Safety”,  please click on the link below the article to read the next in the series.

Newborn Safety has been a hot topic amongst photographers lately.     With a huge trend in capturing newborns these days,  there has also been a trend on pushing ourselves to be more creative.   When the reality is that most parents just want cute shots of their precious baby.   All too much lately many of us have gasped at watching babies be put in glass jars (that could easily break) or suspended in mid air from a tree branch or stick with no spotter.  Often these shots are done by an untrained photographer.   Babies are not props and one should never risk hurting them to attempt to get a “cool” shot.   Babies safety should ALWAYS come first.  Even if you “think” they seem safe.   When searching for a custom photographer for your newborn,  I strongly suggest doing research and choosing a photographer who has plenty of experience when shooting a newborn.  As the saying goes,  you really can never be too safe when dealing with a baby.   I know my clients appreciate the extra time I take to make sure of that as well.

Most of these shots can be done by doing a “composite”.     What this means is simply combinging parts of 2 images to make 1 image.   In the sample below you will see what I mean.   Babies can’t really balance on their own.   Their heads are too heavy and often this puts excessive weight on their tiny wrists.   I know many of us cringe at seeing a baby propped up on their elbows,  heads on the tops of their hands and it looks like their poor little wrists are purple.    In the sample I created below you will see that I had Mom hold the babies head as to not put excessive weight on the hands and to keep the baby balanced and then in the second shot she held her arms so that I could get a clean shot of the babies head…and again keeping safety my main concern.   With this shot we could have attempted a “ok, let go”  but then chances are the baby would have toppled over and that is just not safe.

Then I simply merged the two in to a composite and with a little photoshop magic I then had a final product such as this:

As I said,   I feel very strongly that I’d rather have the baby safe then attempting to get a shot just to look “cool”.    In this one below,  parents wanted a shot with the baby on the scale.   If you’ve ever seen one of these hanging scales,  you’d know that they are very wobbly and to put a baby on this and suspend it in mid air is well,  just plain irresponsible.   So here is what we did:

We took 3 separate shots.

And again with a little photoshop magic,  here is our end result:

Sometimes all an image needs is just a little bit of photoshop.   In this image the baby didn’t want to keep upright (and rightfully so which is fine) so mom put her finger on their head to keep them steady.

I hope you enjoyed this article!   Please remember,  babies are this little once and capturing them should always be done with the upmost care.

Please click on this link below to view Lauri Bakers article on “Volunteering your talent vs. Working for free” a must read article for any photographer!


March 21, 2011 - 9:06 am

marmaladephotography - WELL SAID! Safety should be your photographer’s primary concern – prioritized way above “getting the shot”. Thank you for this great post!

March 21, 2011 - 10:49 am

Julie - Carrie, great post and illustrations. For me this is a very serious issues these days, but your post illustrates beautifully that these lovely little babies can be photographed artistically without risking their safety. Wonderful post!

March 21, 2011 - 11:19 am

Danna - I always cringe when I see newer photographers doing these shots and the baby looks awkward and uncomfortable…its so scary the lengths some people will go to get the newest trendy shot. Thank you for your informative and thoughtful post.

March 21, 2011 - 11:59 am

Pamn - So well said! So many people try to emulate these poses, not realizing the technique required. This is your precious newborn – he/she deserves a seasoned professional custom session!

March 21, 2011 - 12:07 pm

Ruthi David - What a great post! Thank you so much for being willing to share your secrets and show that these cool poses don’t just “happen” with newborns!

March 21, 2011 - 12:14 pm

Samara SH Portraits - You are so on the money Carrie. I am so glad that you used the illustrations and showed how you came to the images. Hopefully any potential clients, Mom & Dads can now see the difference between an image that was done safe and one that is done RIGHT. Great post!

March 21, 2011 - 6:53 pm

Amanda Padgham - Love this article:-). Thank you for clarifying how those shots are really captured-SAFELY!!

March 21, 2011 - 8:19 pm

dena robles - Excellent article Carrie! I get so nervous when I see poorly constructed set ups for babies (or any children.) Your composite shots are a perfect tool.

March 22, 2011 - 6:47 pm

Lauri - Thanks so much for writing this! It’s really important to have this information available to photographers, so they can see exactly HOW to go about practicing safety while creating the images they want.

March 23, 2011 - 12:38 am

MaryAnn - Carrie, I’m so glad you took the mystery out of some of these popular poses! Hopefully, this will push some baby photographers to do these poses the right way, instead of possibly harming a baby for the sake of art.

March 23, 2011 - 5:05 pm

Michael - Fantastic article, Carrie! Your images are so beautiful and effortless, and it’s important to note how much work goes into these images. Thanks for sharing some of your behind-the-scenes magic!!

March 24, 2011 - 10:12 am

Lauren Moore - These are wonderful illustrations. It IS so reasuring that these images, which is what everyone wishes they could do, are done with safety in mind. A little extra work in photoshop magic is much better than any situation that would harm a newborn.

March 30, 2011 - 10:14 pm

Je Neuhaus - Just love your safety discussion. Professional photography isn’t immune from the need to be concerned with keep little ones safe. Safety shouldn’t be ignored in the effort! Thank you!

April 1, 2011 - 12:09 pm

Leslie Styler Photog - LOVE this thanks I never thought of composting those shots that way. I appreciate you posting this. YOu must be a super nice person!

July 14, 2011 - 8:22 pm

Alaina D Photography - Thank you SO much for this article! I did most of my professional training before I ever really did a shoot, so I know photoshop but I have my first newborn shoot this coming Wednesday. Thanks SO much for the tips! I can’t wait to use composites this way!! :o)

July 25, 2012 - 6:42 am

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