Baby Safety and Posing for Newborn Photographers

 

Baby Safety and Posing for Newborn Photographers

 

Lesson Info

Final Q&A

When we kind of look back at what we've sort of talked about during this class, you know what our clients looking for, what sort of qualifications, what training have you had? Your about me session again should not really be about you as a person, it needs to be about you as a business. Why should your clients hire you or why your potential clients hire you? All the safety tips that we've shared over the last, you know during this class create a section section in your website where clients can go to and they can understand what is involved in the process of photographing their baby. Answer any potential questions, put yourself in your clients choose and go, okay well, if I'm going to take my baby to a photographer for a shoot like this, what are the things that I want to know? Write them down, answer them. Put them into a section so that your clients can understand what it is that they're looking for even if you might be out of their price range. So they're going to go to another phot...

ographer because they might not be able to afford you. If they are going to go to a cheaper photographer, they need to know what to look for in terms of safety, in terms of qualifications and training and things like that that. That, I can't emphasize on enough. I can't wait to create mine when I've got some spare time. Your health affects your sessions, how are you looking after yourself? How are you preparing yourself before you go into a session? I want to make sure that I'm hydrated, that I've had breakfast, that I've got my coffee. I've been running around, I've been cleaning up my studio, I've dropped my kids off at school and I've been getting organized and potentially thinking of all the things that I need to do that I've forgotten and I get myself into a bit of a state, then I see my clients walking up the driveway and I'm like, "All right, "forget all that, let's go into the studio "and create that calm environment "and focus on them and leave all of that at the door," because then my attention is 100% undivided focused on them and every aspect of that shoot. I used to be 28 kilos heavier. It was hard. Working in a hot studio was hard work. The bending on your back, the strain, my back is sore from working in the studio here but I know that it was a lot worse when I was a lot heavier, I got healthy. I actually started looking after myself because if I'm not healthy and I'm not looking after myself, I'm going to go into a shoot and you know, I'm not going to be able to get up off the ground. I'm going to look uncomfortable when I'm getting into certain positions. I'm not going to be able to service my clients the way that I want to. I'm not healthy. Hydrate, make sure you have eaten before a shoot. If you feel hot, go and cool down. You are the photographer. You're the one that has to take control of the situation. Make sure that you are on the ball throughout the whole shoot so that you can assess any potential risks or dangers. We also talked about a lot of those legal cases and what can go wrong. You know we don't just say all this for fun which I've said before, it happens. Accidents happen. You know it's actually really sad, God forbid, no one has an accident in their studio but please think about it even if you think, "Oh, it will never happen to me." I'm showing you that it can happen and that it does happen but remember that it's not just an impact on you as a business owner and a service provider, it's an impact on our whole genre. People will stop hiring baby photographers because they're scared. I've met a lady just recently, she didn't go and have a newborn photography session the way I photographed babies, she had a lifestyle session because she was too scared about finding the right photographer to photograph her baby so she's like I'm going to do a lifestyle session because I know that then I'm holding the baby, it's in my home. Shooting outside your studio, making sure that you are aware of all the potential dangers and risks especially when you're shooting outside, we went over that in that section and I can't emphasize that enough in terms of all those elements and protecting that baby and outside your studio in terms of going to client homes. Sometimes people have a home studio and sometimes they offer to go to client homes or they do one or the other. I spent four years going into client homes and where I was put into a lot of sort of tricky situations that I had to learn to adapt to very, very quickly. So that was actually probably one of the best learning experiences for me because I was faced with so many different environmental elements in terms of different houses, the way that they were set up. I once had to climb four sets of stairs because they lived in a four-story apartment so they were very narrow buildings but the only room that I could use with light was on the fourth step so trying to get all of my equipment all the way to the top and then when I'm finished, all the way to the bottom, and there were safety gates at every level because they have the toddler. You learn to adapt and assess those situations very quickly so that when you move into your own studio space, whether it's at home or it's a commercial space, you have to know that there are potential risks and dangers in that new environment as well. You learn from all those past experiences and put all the strategies in place to be able to work in those places. Sibling safety. Knowing how to pose a little one safely and pulling the baby away from that environment if you can see that there is a risk. It was funny when I did a toddler before I came away and I had photographed him as a newborn so she was coming back for a second session and they've arrived and the baby's in the capsule and he's rocking the capsule and he's tapping the baby and I was like, "Oh my God," yeah and he's happy but he was so in love with this baby, but they're not aware of how strong they are. They're not aware of you know, that that's too much love. They're a little bit rough. So when I'm setting them up, if I can sense that energy that, you know, that little bit of roughness, I'm going to make sure that that baby is protected throughout that whole process and I'll go to every extreme level to secure it and get it done safely and quickly. Laying a child down is safe but having doing a composite if you can't get that shot is very quick and very easy in terms of the safety of the baby which is not something that you ever want to jeopardize. What not to do with the newborn, we talked about all of that, putting them into dangerous places and objects that could potentially break all of that stuff. No shot is ever worth the risk of this, the safety of the baby and I see so many people focused on getting that next shot. It's great to be able to create one-of-a-kind images. I do it all the time, I'm into print comp awards. I come up with crazy ideas and I think "Right, how am I actually going to pull this off?" How am I going to create a giant white flower where I can position a baby safely inside it? That thought process and the planning stages throughout that creation were very important to the safety of the baby but you have to be able to to do it safely. Newborn behavior and medical conditions. Knowing all of those things, it means that when you go into a session and you're going through your session workflow, you're going to be able to adapt very quickly to that baby. You're going to read their cues. we've had a couple of little ones here. we've had some really subtle babies and we've had some little ones who are a little bit more sensitive to touch, a little bit feisty. That's fine. That's what babies are like. Every baby's like that. They're all different. I do love getting the ones that are really settled but sometimes a feisty baby, that's a good challenge, I love it and I'm always up for it. And I do get clients that ask me, "What if you know, you don't like it? "Are all babies like this?" I'll say yeah, there are a lot of babies out there like this. When you photograph enough of them, you get to come across and realize that yes, you're going to continually come across babies that don't like their hands touched, don't like their feet touch, don't want to lay this position, you know that might just not go into that deep beautiful sleep that you want them to. They are more sensitive to their environment and you have to learn to be able to read that behavior and if they have medical conditions, you've got to know what not to do if a baby has a medical condition but communicate with the client as much as possible about that. Proper safety. We've talked a lot about proper safety. That section is really important in terms of how to use props in your studio and safe studio and business practices. It might seem like a lot of work to create those business practices but they're worth it because when we look at all the potential dangers and risks and then all those legal cases of what's going on, if you don't have the right business practices in place, the right strategies, the right policies, the right insurances, if something goes wrong, you are a goner. I have public liability insurance that goes up to 20 million dollars. It covers me in my home and it covers me outside of my home and I know what the fine print is because I've spoken to my insurance broker about it all and given him every possible scenario to make sure that my policy covers me and that's what you have to do as well. I also have professional indemnity insurance. So if I promised a client I'm going to give them twenty images, I'm going to service their needs, and for whatever reason, I don't service their needs in the way that I have promised in terms of my client agreement, I can be sued for professional indemnity up to fifty thousand dollars in Australia. Our association of photography, if we don't have those insurances in place, our membership can be ended. Really important that you speak to an insurance broker about the right insurances that you have or should have for your business. Because if something goes wrong and you don't have those insurances, you could lose your home if you working at your home. You could everything, no one wants that, ever. So take the time, set your business up. Be responsible for it and gosh, now when I look back at my business and all the time that I've spent putting all those things in place, it's so worth it because now I don't need to worry about it, they're there. I update them when they need to be updated. I have a wonderful business partner in terms of my husband now. He's been working with me and at home for just over two years and if I hadn't put all those business practices in place, all those strategies and procedures, he'd still be working away and only home every second weekend and I'd be working part time and going, "Oh yeah, it doesn't matter." But now we have an incredible life. We're both happy, we're both doing what we love, all because I took my business seriously and I did the hard work. I did everything that was required for me to move to a new level. Here I teach, I love teaching but I also love my clients and I service them at a very, very high professional standard. Complex poses and compositing. We've talked a lot about that I think already, haven't we? In terms of session flow and at what point that you do them and if you're going to offer them, whether you need to offer them, whether you want to offer them, but know that you don't have to offer them if you're not comfortable doing them. Just because another photographer does a pose, does not mean you have to do it. Find out what it is that you are comfortable and confident in doing and create your own session workflow and that's what's going to make you unique, you different and give clients a reason to book you. It's going to make you stand out for not following the sheep. And again, my disclaimer (Kelly laughs) which is very, very important but I have to have that in place to protect me, to protect my business. It's written by my lawyer. When you take your business seriously, you have to put the right things in place to be able to stand by them, to cover you and cover your liability, all of those things. Kelly, any final, final words for the folks at home in terms of this is a very serious topic, it's a very serious matter but coming back around to why we do this? You know when we look at the purpose of being photographers and why we pick up a camera, we do it because we love it. We can take a great shot. We get a new camera, we might have a baby, we take beautiful photos, then our friends start asking us to take photographs of their family, their babies or whatever, and then it becomes like a bit of a snowball effect and before we know it, we're charging a very small amount for a lot of photos. We get busier and busier, we don't know how to increase our pricing, we lose sight of what it is to be a business owner because we're so focused on, "Oh you know it's, "yeah I can take that, I can do that," and we sort of get thrown into the deep end. That you know now you're really busy. Now got people coming to you because you're taking photos and you're really cheap. If you are new to the industry and you're in that position, think about all of us who have been in this position for, like that have been in this industry for a long time. You're affecting us as business owners. I love my industry and I love what I do and I'm a business owner which means I provide a service and a product for my clients at a very professional standard. For everyone out there that's just doing this for a little bit of cash on the side, think about how that affects professional business owners and how hard we've worked to put all these strategies and systems in place to protect what it is that we do in our businesses. If you want to take your business to the next level, if you want to set yourself up and have a beautiful studio and have clients coming in, you need to take the time to do it. You need to work hard. Nothing happens overnight, and you have to learn how to do it and learn from the right people. I have spent so much time having mentoring from other photographers. I've only ever done one newborn photography workshop. The rest of my mentoring has been through some photographers who have taught me so much business, who have taught me what to do, what not to do. I even worked for a studio owner and I learned a lot of what not to do and that was an incredible experience. But if you are new to this industry, take the time, allow yourself to have the time to do it correctly. Before you start calling yourself a professional business owner, learn how to use your camera. Before you start asking for paying clients and advertising as a photographer, learn how to use your tools. Learn how to do everything safely, put all the right systems in place. Go to your local council or local department and find out what licenses that you need to have in place in terms of workplace, health and safety, in terms of occupational health and safety. If you're filling your space or you're using equipment, make sure it meets safety requirements. Learn how to handle a baby, learn their behavior, research it, it's easy, go to a library. Don't sit in google medical conditions because you're going to be over, yeah, you're just going to get two minute responses and you're not going to know what's correct and what's not. Talk to the right people, legal professionals. Talk to accountants in terms of setting your business up as well in that respect. Talk to an insurance broker about putting the arranged insurances in place. Create systems for your business that you can follow in guidelines so that when people book you, they know they're booking you for our professional service. I always get asked, "How do I increase my pricing?" Perfect your craft. Set your business up and then the sky's the limit. I learned how to use my camera. I learned all the basics of photography. I then studied business. Well, actually did study business previously to being a photographer, that's a different story because I forgot all of that apparently because when I went into photography, I was like I don't need to do any of this. I had to learn the hard way. So I had to do a rewind, pull all the right business practices in place, learn from people who are doing it the right way. It's not all about the posing and being able to learn how to do something a certain way, invest in your business. My posing techniques have changed. I've showed before-and-afters from six, seven years ago to now, even eight years ago until now and the difference is astounding in my eyes but I have known that every session I do, I'm gradually reading the babies a little differently. When I understand their behavior and understand their needs, I know that I'm going to work for them and not necessarily for getting that next big shot. And when you are on social media, and you're looking at all of the beautiful photographs out there that photographers are posting, they're posting their best shots. And we compare ourselves to their best shots going "Oh, my work is not as good as theirs." Then we get down, then we try to create work that's just like there's and then you see a heap of photographs being posted that all look the same. There are groups on Facebook and I love, you know I do love groups and I love sharing images but there are a lot of people who shoot specifically for groups. Shoot for your clients. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. Don't complain that you don't have time to edit. Don't complain that you don't have time to update our marketing plan. Don't complain that you don't have time to increase your prices or figure out how much your business cost to run every year. Don't complain about all those things. Stop worrying about what every other photographer is doing on social media and your looking for gratification instantly, focus on your business, how you're going to provide a quality, professional service for your clients and bring safety to the forefront and stop worrying about what everybody else is doing. You know it's scary when we see those photos posted up there and we see videos by people who have been in the industry for a long time. Remember, they started somewhere and if you want to learn the right way to do something, you only have to to watch this class or learn from another professional who is doing it right to get the right information. I'm sure I could go on and on, can't I? Like I could talk forever about this stuff because I get contacted all the time by people and I love reading their emails but if people spent more time focusing on their business and stopped worrying about feeding egos and trying to be the next big photographer or trying to create the next best shot and just simply brought it all back to the purpose, what is your purpose as a photographer? Write it down. Every year we write down our goals and our plans and I find out what my purpose is for that year, so important.

Class Description


Parents hire newborn photographers to document every detail of their babies at that brief instant at the start of their lives when they are tiny, bright and new to the world. Newborn photographers can feel a lot of pressure to fulfill parents’ wishes. In the rush to capture the perfect shot, it’s easy to forget that the subject of these photos are incredibly fragile little beings. Safety should always come first.

Join Kelly Brown for tips on handling newborns safely, reading their moods and needs, and prepping your studio for a newborn shoot. You’ll learn:

  • Safe posing techniques
  • How to operate a safe environment in your studio and on external shoots
  • How to understand newborn behavior
You’ll discover how to sanitize your studio, choose cleaning products and plants with the newborn’s health in mind, and make sure that your furniture and equipment meets newborn safety standards. Kelly will also focus on safely posing and handling a newborn during the shoot. She will teach you how to execute poses like the Potato Sack, the Froggy pose, and other advanced techniques used to create composite images. You will learn about newborn anatomy and the environment they come from to help you better understand what they are capable of doing in a shoot setting: how to avoid imbalance, overheating, and injury.

Finally feel capable of communicating about newborn safety. If parents feel that they can trust you around their child, they will be put at ease and remember the experience of the shoot more fondly.