I recently banned America's Funniest Home Videos from my house. We used to enjoy watching it together as a family. That ended this week when my 6-year-old screamed "film this" as he threw himself off the arm of the couch into the ottoman hoping to get a funny pratfall to send to the show. Yeah I know the host Tom Bergeron says "don't try this at home." But since when do our kids listen to us, let along Tom Bergeron?
It's gotten to where professional baby photographers should share that warning with others as well when they display photographs of teeny tiny babies in poses that seem complex. Or hanging from trees wrapped in tulle, or perched atop saddles or high places. I blogged about the use of Photoshop deception in baby photography once before. But I'm afraid I failed to mention how terribly dangerous it could be to try to pose babies to copy some of those famous images of sleeping babies in precarious positions.
That baby asleep on the saddle I used in that other blog was not actually asleep -- he blinked -- and he was not actually unsupported on that saddle. I removed his mom's hand in Photoshop.
The famous pose of baby with his chin resting in his hands is a fake as well -- if it's done correctly. I love this blog and the photos Esther Dorotik displays to demonstrate how it's done.
While talking to some of my photography friends the other day we discussed the dangers of non-professional photographers attempting these poses. One had heard of a baby injured during a photo session who now has a spinal injury to deal with. It's horrifying to think of the dangers that babies risk every day at the hands of photographers trying to copy images they've seen from great baby photographers. The real professionals like Esther, Anne Geddes, Jennifer Dell, Rachel Vanoven or other pros never put the babies they photograph at risk. Take a look at the behind the scenes images Rachel posted in the link above as well as the images in Jennifer Dell's blog appearance.
I don't often photograph newborns -- maybe once or twice a month -- but when I do, I prefer to not push the boundaries of safety. We stay on the floor, with a soft carpet and a basket full of blankets and soft fluffy pillows. I'm not one to attempt to hang a baby from a tree. Truthfully, I don't even really care for the common chin in hands pose, although it's cute enough if it's for you! It's just not my style. I prefer to photograph baby in the arms of mom or dad. It's the relationships and the interactions that capture my heart. If your heart is set on the chin in hands, or the baby hanging from a tree. Please call a real professional. Do your homework and your research. Here's a hint, the real pros are most likely not going to give you a session and all images on a disc for $100. Sorry, not going to happen. If it means paying quite a bit more for the expertise one of these ladies has, isn't it worth it to put your babies safety first and foremost?
Lisa On Location Photography