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The Risks of Copying Newborn Photography at Home

Newborn photos are a wonderful way to preserve memories. Our gorgeous babies grow and change so quickly, it feels like you blink and they’re a teenager! Capturing precious moments with your newborn such as photos in cute poses and different outfits is something every parent wants. However, many popular newborn photos can be dangerous if attempted at home.

Professional newborn photographers have spent years learning their craft, not only photography but safety around babies. Poses which seem simple to you may actually carry risks to your baby if not done properly. Often, these images require editing and Photoshop work to achieve the exact result. This doesn’t mean you can’t do beautiful photos yourself (I have tips here for you to do them), it simply means be careful.

  • “Froggy” & The “Potato Sack” Poses We’ve all seen the adorable image of a newborn resting its head on its hands, with their legs tucked neatly under (froggy pose). Or a newborn sitting upright all wrapped up (potato sack pose). What you might not know is this pose requires a few photos in different positions, then the photos are edited together to create the image. Propping a newborn baby up in these poses can be dangerous and should never be attempted by anyone except a very experienced professional. Newborns need their heads to be fully supported at all times. At this age, their heads are too heavy for their arms to support and they simply don’t have the control to hold the pose themselves. Photography assistants hold the baby’s head in place in one photo then their arms in another and the images are merged.

Advanced poses such as the Potato Sack pose should never be attempted by anyone other than an experienced, professional newborn photographer. The baby’s head must be fully supported at all times and a composite shot put together in Photoshop.
  • Photos with pets Pets require time to get used to a newborn baby and there are recommendations for introducing your baby to your pet which all pet owners should follow. Not matter how well trained your ‘fur baby’ is, accidents happen. Sudden movements, the baby accidentally gripping your pet or the pet simply feeling out of place can all cause an otherwise patient and loving pet to attack. In seconds, your gorgeous baby can have scratches on their face or even worse. Over 13,000 people a year are hospitalised for dog bites. Don’t let this be you or your precious bundle of joy!

  • Hanging poses Poses where a newborn is hanging in a sling or similar can present risks. While a newborn might be sleeping when the image is attempted, it is all too easy for them to move suddenly and fall out. Assistants are used by professional newborn photographers to help with these images and to ensure the baby is always supported properly. It’s easy for them to edit images as needed to get the pose a parent wants.Better still – lay the baby on a soft surface on top of a black blanket. This can create an optical illusion to look like your baby is hanging when really they were laying and sleeping soundly on a blanket the whole time!

Many photos that professional baby photographers take are optical illusions. Photos like this may appear to be of baby being held in the air when they are actually laying safely on a black backdrop.

Don’t be disheartened though. There are lots of beautiful & simple images you can capture of your new baby. Be sure to grab the camera and snap as many photos of your adorable baby as you desire, just be sure to do them safely. Babies are beautiful as they are whether they’re swaddled with headbands and other accessories or simply laying on a rug.

Remember – if you do want more complex poses of your baby, or you realise that you can’t capture the standard of images that you want of your new baby, be sure to book in with a professional newborn photographer ASAP before your baby grows too much!

Amy Tong is a multi-award winning newborn photographer in Sydney’s Inner West.


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