Newborn Photography and Safety

I want to address a concern that has started buzzing throughout the photography industry – Newborn Photography and Safety. As newborn photography has become widely popular, it seems that there is a lot of one-upping on new and amazing poses, positions, and props. For the past 5 years, I have been primarily a newborn photographer, and as I have grown and gained more and more experience on the subject, it has started to worry me about the perceptions of new photographers coming into the field. I feel that I must throw a disclaimer out there as I am unsure if those I am inspiring know what really takes place “behind the scenes”.

When I began to photograph newborns years ago, I thought I knew what I was doing. I mean, after all, I had two children, I’ve been there done that, right? No. That’s not how it works when you are photographing newborns. It is important while learning the best lighting techniques to use, to also re-learn babies altogether, but in a different way. First of all, every baby is different. While I may have an idea that I just must try during my next newborn session, it is of utmost importance to read a baby’s signals and not force it. Every baby will not do every pose/position, and you absolutely must not push them beyond their comfort and ESPECIALLY, their safety. A simple outstretched arm, a small on-the-belly frog-hop, or a tiny lean of the head, can send everything off balance. Safety is so very important, I cannot stress that enough.

I encourage all new photographers to put aside the complex setups and competition for the latest and greatest newborn craze, and instead, stick with simple SAFE setups, and take your time to truly learn what photographing newborns and connecting with them is all about. When anyone states newborn photography is easy, I can’t help but to cringe a little, as newborn photography can be very difficult.

Please also understand that what you see is not always what you get. While I will not show pullbacks and straight-out-of-camera shots of my setups (as to be completely honest, some things will be kept “trade secrets”), using the example of the “saddle shot”, mom was just out of frame to the left, and my assistant was on the right. I photoshopped my assistant’s hands out of the shot.

So this was weighing heavy on my heart, and I thought I would share my thoughts with you.

Before I show a few images from a recent newborn session, I also want to ask, if anyone reading this sees any of my images in strange ads (excluding the Similac Infant Formula ads – those should be there! ;)) that you have a feeling should not be there, please contact me at jodieotte@verizon.net One of my very well-known images was recently stolen and used illegally in an ad. I am currently dealing with this issue right now. I want to thank my clients and fellow photographers for giving me that head’s up! You guys are great!

newborn photographer professional
newborn photographer professional
newborn photographer professional
newborn photographer professional

About Jodie Otte

Maryland Newborn Photographer and Child Portrait Artist, Jodie Holstein-Otte, specializes in unique photography of newborn babies, kids, and families. She works on location in Harford, Howard, Cecil, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and other areas throughout Maryland. She uses both both natural lighting and soft studio lighting techniques.