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Baby Safety and Posing for Newborn Photographers

Lesson 11 of 29

Working with Different Newborn Behaviors and Medical Conditions


Baby Safety and Posing for Newborn Photographers

Lesson 11 of 29

Working with Different Newborn Behaviors and Medical Conditions


Lesson Info

Working with Different Newborn Behaviors and Medical Conditions

So newborn behavior, this is something that has made my life so much easier in the studio, knowing how to read a baby and it's funny because when you have a baby of your own, the one thing that you want is a manual. You want that baby to come with a manual to tell you what it's doing and it's so funny because I've had clients come in with their babies and say to me, "I don't, I don't get that, what is that?" I'll take the baby and it might make a little sound and I've had a mum and it's her first baby and she's, I don't know, she's a professional, working woman, she's about the same age as myself and I took the baby and it made a sound and she's like, "I don't know what that means. "I have no clue," (laughs) she said, "I feel "like I'm blinded, like blindfolded the whole time," and it's funny because when you do bring your first baby home, you do feel like that. You get a little bit overwhelmed, you're not sure what you're doing and every baby's different, they all have their own behav...

ior style, they all have their own temperament and some are relaxed and easy-going and others appear, you know, to be more intense and dramatic, like what we saw with the two families and the children. One little girl was quite calm and peaceful, laid there and listened, the other two were really busy and energetic and that's just it. When the babies come in, they're exactly the same. They're all different, they're all gonna have their own temperament and be born with that. The ones that are, you know, more docile, we love all those images, don't we? Because they've been easy to create. They're easy to work with but they are very few and far between so when you are working in your studio and you've got babies coming in and you're starting to feel a little like oh, this is just too hard, you get a little deflated because you have expectations on yourself, you start to feel like you can't do it anymore. I have had runs of babies that have been unsettled in my career and then all of a sudden, I'll get three or four babies in a row that you could do anything with, not that you would but they have been more calm, relaxed and slept the whole session. So just know that they're all different and don't put so many expectations on yourself because it's too hard, too hard to judge what type of baby you're gonna get in your studio that day and, you know, it's our job, learning all of these things, learning about the newborn behavior, learning about some of the medical conditions is really important. That's why I sought and sourced a lady in my hometown that I could communicate with, that I could get some information from in terms of that and knowing how to deal with them because it made my job easier. It's all about working smarter, not harder. So, why do babies cry? Some people already know this but some people don't, don't realize that younger babies actually do cry for great periods of time during the day and it's natural, you know, oh, thank you. They cry because of their temperament, sleep cycles and feeding patterns. It's the only way that they know how to communicate. That's them telling you what they want, what they need. Babies, newborn babies, don't know how to cry for attention, they only cry because they actually need something and it's their way of communicating. So normal babies do cry and fuss and it can be up for three hours of the day. Unfortunately, sometimes it's when they come for a session. (laughs) we've got no control over that but it's you remembering to be calm, slow down, be patient and work accordingly with them. You know, most babies, most of the time crying babies and fussing, it seems to happen in the late afternoon and towards the early evening and that's because of the long day, it's because they've been overstimulated. It's because they've been I don't know, out in the environment, they've been handled by visitors, they've been overstimulated throughout the day if they've got to go out with the parents in and out of the car, in and out of the pram, things like that. When they're coming to the session, if you are putting expectations on your clients, in terms of keep your baby awake, oh, might be a good idea to massage your baby or give them a bath and don't feed them for this period or feed them right before, you're changing what that baby needs. By the time that baby gets to the studio, it might not be sleepy because it's been kept awake. It's gonna be overtired and it's gonna be overstimulated because it's not used to all of those things. We've got to remember the environment that they come from. They're not being poked and prodded, being put in and out of cars. They're not being wide awake, they're not being handled. So in those first two weeks, we've got to be aware of that. We can't put too many expectations on your clients so therefore, we just have to know how to deal with them. I tell my clients to bring a snack to the session. That's pretty much the only expectation I put on them. That's it, I've had clients turn up and not remember to bring their nappy bag, like they're sleep-deprived. We try and put too many expectations on them or too many demands just for the sake of getting a shot? That's not our job, we're not qualified to tell people to keep their babies awake. We're not qualified to tell them when to feed their baby. You know, babies are born with very different behavioral styles and temperaments and some are relaxed and easy-going. It appears that people forget that and I just want you all to know that like you've seen me here, live on CreativeLive, when I'm in a middle of a shoot, I get all those babies and I deal with it. I'm not trying to hide anything. In my studio, you've got to know how to photograph them. You've still got to be able to create beautiful, timeless images for your client and work according to them and newborns' sleep patterns, understanding those and knowing how long babies sleep. They usually sleep in the first few weeks for around 16 hours of every 24 hours. So they sleep in short bursts through the day and night and in blocks of up to four hours so that means you can gauge that when they're coming in for a session, they're actually gonna, ideally, sleep for a fair amount of that time if you've worked according to their patterns and things like that and dealt with them. When newborns are awake, they're usually feeding. Their playtime is quite short. It's usually when they're wide awake and they're looking around and they're taking everything in and I don't know about you but I've had some babies come in and it's like wow, I don't know how they've stayed awake for so long. You know, when they are sort of in that playtime, you can kind of tell that it's not gonna be for too long, you just have to be patient. I used to spend a lot of my sessions trying to rock a baby to sleep and then the parents behind me, they'd be like, "oh, do you want us to do that?" and they could see that the baby's not going to sleep and it's getting longer and longer into the session, I still haven't got a photo, they're thinking, "why are we here, we're paying her a lot of money, "we're not getting any photos, "she's still rocking that baby," and it dawned on me why am I wasting all of that time when I could be actually photographing the baby. So later on in the course, I'm actually gonna go through one of my session workflows for that instance if I do have a wide awake baby and show you how I get through that and get multiple set ups and variety in one, simple pose and wrap. So their sleep patterns consist of short, of a cycle of deep sleep and light sleep. So you'll notice that some babies are not and never in that deep sleep when you're moving them but some go into that real deep sleep? Then they're awake, you know, up for a little while, that's it. They go in and out of that sleep but during that time, they might grizzle, they might become a little bit groany or might do a little cry but you can generally kind of rock them and pat them and just be really calm and put them back into that sleep when they're going in and out of that deep and light sleep pattern. A newborn sleep cycle takes about 40 minutes so it's not a very big window, is it? When we sort of say our sessions go for four hours, you're trying to get 12 setups in that four hours and your baby's sleep cycle is about 40 minutes, it's not gonna happen so understanding their sleep patterns, it's gonna make your job a lot easier because I know, when a baby comes in and I've said to my clients, when was the last time your baby was fed? And they say, oh, about an hour ago and if the baby's awake and it's been changed and then it gets fed, I know that it's still awake, I know that we're kind of heading towards that period where it will potentially go into that nice, deep slumber of 40 minutes and I'm gonna work my butt off to get as much of what I need for the client gallery during that period. So it's learning how to gauge and read that. You might need help to settle them sometimes, especially if they are a little grizzly. I've done some sessions where the clients will come in and they've been to the doctor surgery in the morning, they've had an appointment, so they've had that stimulation before coming there and they might be a little bit over it by the time they actually arrive at the session. So it's just being patient and you might just have to settle them back into that sleep cycle and they get overtired if they've been awake, especially if they've been awake for over an hour to one and a half hours and that over-tiredness, you know, it can mean a lot of things. They can be pulling at their ears, they can have closed fists and they can be tense, they can be grizzly and wriggly and you've got to be able to read that. If you continually try to work with a baby that is overtired or overstimulated, that's grizzling, that's showing those signs, you're just gonna upset it even more. We have to know to pull back, let the baby calm down for a moment, I often find that when I've got a baby on my posing bag and if it is kind of doing a bit of a wriggle around, I come back and get a save shot. I just leave the baby alone, I find that it does just drift off into that sleep and reading a baby's body language. You know, when I first handled a baby, I was doing it in the studio before when I put the baby in my lap, my hands were just on it, I gauge how they are reacting to my touch. You know, using soft hands and I'm just moving the arms, placing them, folding them over the chest, bringing the legs up, how do they respond to that? It's funny, some babies don't like their hands being touched at all, some don't like their feet being touched. You touch them and they kick back. You can react to that so you know, you're not gonna really touch their feet for the rest of the session, are you? You're gonna move their shin (laughs) and their hands, you're not gonna get those perfect hands up near their face if they don't like their hands being touched so you just gotta work with them and what they're comfortable with. Otherwise, you are going to waste so much time during your session, trying to force the baby's hands into a position when they don't want you to touch their hands. If you keep touching them in areas that they're not comfortable with, you know, they're more likely to wake up. Reading their body language and using it, they're telling you want they want. It's the same as when babies cry. That's how they communicate, their body language, they're showing you signs of discomfort. If they're squirming around, if they're drawing their knees up, they might have a pain. I will also say that if a baby is doing that, it's not our job to tell parents that something might be wrong with your baby. We don't tell parents that we think they might have, you know, something wrong with their stomach or they might have this or they might have that because we're not qualified to do it. You might have an inclination. You might kind of think, oh, this baby might have a little bit of reflux or this baby might have like a bad, gassy tummy or something like that. We have to keep those opinions to ourselves because we're not medical professionals unless you have been previously a medical professional and you can give that advice and your clients know that that's what you did in a previous work life but for us, as normal photographers, it's not our place to tell clients what we think possibly is wrong with their baby but reading their language and possibly knowing that there might be a better position for some of those discomforts that they might have, you know, side lying seems like a fairly simple pose and some babies aren't comfortable in that pose but if a baby's got reflux, I'm gonna go for that pose or I'm gonna go for a fairly more upright pose. I'm not gonna go for the bum up pose where I'm putting pressure on the neck and the turning here because the chest is kind of dipping down and the neck's coming up, it's gonna put pressure and it's gonna affect the area that's upsetting the baby. You know, when they get that gas that comes up, when they get that burning sensation in the back of their throat. My niece had terrible reflux when she was born and we used to take shifts through the night just to try and keep her happy because she would continually bring her food up and then want to feed more to soothe that and if you do have a baby that does get sick a lot come into the studio, you're gonna have to be careful of how you do pose them. You might resort to not putting them on their back, flat on their back and having them slightly elevated all the time. Okay so, where are we up to, I can talk a lot, can't I? (laughs) Okay, overstimulation happens when a child is swamped by too many experiences, what we said before, you know, sensations, noises, activities that they can cope with. For example, they might be unsettled after a visit of lots of family members and I always say to my clients when they come in, do you have lots of family around? And they'll say yes or no and I'll say, have you had lots of visitors? And I love it when my clients say we told people not to come because you do, like I remember 12 years ago and I had my first baby, we had visitors every day and that baby was handled around and around and around and then they would all leave and I'd be stuck with this crying, fussing baby but then I didn't realize what is was caused from. Now, I do so yeah, understanding that the more we move a baby during a session, the more we are gonna potentially overstimulate them. They're not used to being handled so when I'm working, I've created a workflow system that means that I'm gonna start with my posing bag. I know I can get four poses without picking that baby up off of the bag, you know, I can slowly transition them from their back to the side to the tummy and then slightly around to the front without picking them up, I used to pick them up off the bag, put them in a prop, put them back down but that was before I was educated. That was before I understood why my sessions weren't flowing the way I wanted to them to and why I wasn't getting the images that I needed for my clients in a timely manner. So knowing what overstimulation looks like, the baby's movements might become really jerky and they're gonna have those fists again, they're gonna have waving arms and they're gonna be grizzly. They're just not gonna be happy at all. You know, they get overwhelmed. You need to keep them calm, pull back and quiet that space down, sometimes giving them back to the parent and leaving the room. If you find yourself, if you're in a session and the baby's just not settling and everything that you've tried is not working, it might be you. Hand the baby back to the parent, excuse yourself, go and take a deep breath, come to a calm place, then come back in and then go from there because babies respond to what's going on around them. Colic, so I never used to really know what this was and I was thought it was an actual thing, I thought it was a specific thing, like an actual illness and colic is colic, don't get me wrong but it's bouts, long bouts of unexplained crying. So some babies do it more often, like it's more common in some babies than it is in others. It's not every baby has that issue, you know, some believe that it's because of a stomach pain. You know and it can be caused by wind, things like that and some doctors actually think that it's a fairly natural kind of behavior. You don't hear the term colic actually today too much. I never really have any clients come in and go, oh, they have colic, it's more of a yeah, good luck with that baby, it never sleeps (laughs) and then they sleep the whole session and they're like how did you do that? Or I'll have parents come in with a baby and they're oh, it sleeps all the time and then it's awake for the entire session and I'm like (laughs) what did you do? So if a baby does have colic or symptoms of colic, you need to reduce the stimulation around the baby and soothe them, a gentle patting. Before we go on, we actually did have, Kelly, a couple of questions around colic and that. Yeah, go for it, here, we'll go, I'll hit my back button. So would you, a baby who has colic won't stop crying, how do you ask the client to reschedule? Or would you or at what point do you decide to reschedule? I've actually only ever rescheduled one session and that was a long time ago, the reason I'm sharing all this information is because we're learning how to cope with babies that might have these symptoms. If a baby has colic, I've just said, reduce the stimulation around the baby. You know, soothe them gently, wrap them, make them feel secure, calm the environment around them and use gentle patting, rocking motions. Transition them slowly, just be patient, have lots of patience, remember, you know, you're there to do a job for the client. A lot of the times, it's just pulling back, being calm, being patient and allowing that baby to settle into that nice, deep, slumber sleep but yeah, if you do have a baby that's got these stiff kind of movements and it's arching its back and it's clenching its fist or it's pulling at its ears, it's telling you something, it's telling you to give it some space. Back off, be calm, be patient, gentle rocking movements. Just to go further on that, because I think that that would be sort of there's a common freak out moment for the photographer and the do I, does the parent, what if the mom says can I reschedule? Should I reschedule, what do you say? Yeah and that all comes down to reassuring your client. You've got to reassure them that this normal behavior. You know, it's so common for parents to apologize for their baby, I always say don't you dare apologize. It's a baby, it's doing what babies do. So when it comes time to, you know, in that moment, in your session, if you're feeling like that, if you're feeling like your clients are really anxious, if you're not calm, if you're not selling that baby, you know, it might be better for you to reschedule and then go back to the drawing board and think about how will you deal with that situation next time for the comfort and safety of the baby and make how did you not reassure your clients, why did they feel like that, why did they feel like, you know, they wanted to leave, why did they feel anxious? It's our job to reassure them, make them feel comfortable, have confidence in us and take control of the situation. Thank you. So photographing premature babies. I had six week old twins, by the time I brought them home from hospital, six and half weeks old 'cause they were born at 31.3 days or something like that and I tried to photograph those babies and this was nine years ago, it was not easy. They were quite stiff, they were very scrawny, they were very sensitive to my touch and yeah, they are quite different in terms of how you work with them in your sessions. Some premature babies will come in and sleep for the entire session but it depends on what those babies have been through since the time that they were born. A premature baby is usually born before 37 weeks and the majority of them are born with no serious longterm issues or anything like that so when you do have a client contact you or they've scheduled you and you've got their due date but they contact you like a month before and they say, ah, our baby came like six weeks early. It's now two weeks old, we're home from hospital, 'cause they often let them go home if they've established a feeding pattern and there's no sort of health problems, communicating with them and finding out as much as you possibly can before you start that session just means that you're gonna be able to work with that baby, you know, nice and confidently and calmly but if they have had time and special care, if they've had respiratory problems related to having immature lungs and things like that, it's good to know that because the muscles that control the breathing are also involved in the postural control. So you're not gonna put them in a pose where it requires some type of control in that mid section, you're gonna put them into more comfortable poses, you might wrap them gently on their back, you might put them in a side position but yeah, trying to put them into a more complex setup like, say, for example, the taco pose or the froggy pose or an upright position, you know, they might not be able to, they might not be comfortable in that and it might be more of a struggle for them or you could potentially sort of injure them because of that problem like those respiratory problems that they had and then there's jaundice with immature, ah, immature, premature babies. So many words coming out. (laughs) So much to share. You know, jaundice, that's caused when the chemical, bilirubin, you know, builds up in the baby's blood flow, it creates yellow skin. I get people emailing me all the time, asking what do I do with a jaundice baby? So, well, I don't treat a jaundice baby any differently than to a normal baby but I always communicate with the clients and just find out a little bit more because what it is in terms of communicating with the clients and why I keep saying that it is find out what the parents' concerns are. You want the parents to be comfortable and confident in you, talk to them, communicate with them, care about their children. Care about their child, care about them, be empathetic, make them feel good and understand their needs because if they've had a stressful start to this baby's life, that's gonna impact them and their confidence as a parent as well, remember, when my babies first came home, I didn't know what to do with these two, tiny little things and they just seemed so fragile because they were so small, there's so much information out there about, you know, photographing babies with medical conditions, with and especially if they have been born prematurely. If you talk to your general practitioner, like this morning, get some proper advice, don't just go to the internet 'cause it's not always gonna give you the right information but talk to your GP, find out how do I find more information, do you suggest any websites that I can go to to find out more about working with premature babies when I'm photographing because it's for them, for their needs, for their safety and keeping the parents really confident in your ability to do that because if you show any hesitation at all with a baby that comes in, they're gonna sense that and they're not gonna feel comfortable. So yeah, also, I missed a couple points there because we've just started talking. (laughs) so much talking. Alright, you know, the fact is with having to stay in the hospital a little longer means that they've become a little bit more alert. They had such a tight schedule in hospitals when babies are in special care. Those nurses are on a plan, it actually works for the parents quite well when they take them home because I had that plan down packed, I just followed everything the nurses did and there was no sort of me finding a routine but because they've been in those situations and they've been handled, they've been, you know, been born for a little while, they're not meant to be here but they've been out and in contact with lots of nurses and doctors and people and things like that, you know, they could be more alert, they could be stiffer in the joints and things like that. So when it comes to working with premature babies in the studio, if it's a really premature baby and I'm getting that sense of stiffness and more alertness, I'm gonna wrap it, I'm gonna make it feel secure because in the hospital, they wrap them. It's one thing they do and I don't know how they wrap them so tightly and so snugly but they've got that down packed, it's like origami, those nurses in those hospitals, they've got the baby wrapped up snugly and it's supported so when a baby comes in and it's been in that environment, I'm gonna wrap it to make it continually feel supportive. Hip dysplasia and shoulder issues and when I talked earlier about the way that I support a baby from the back, I've seen photos of dads taken from the side and the baby will be sort of facing the dad and he'll be holding it like this and the arms are hanging down, that can put pressure on their little joints and that can cause some dislocation and some problems in those areas so make sure that your hands are always supported across the back of the shoulders. You know, these fingers are always on this shoulder and this part of this hand is always on the other shoulder and they're supported and those hands are up where they're supposed to be and with hips, things like this, you know, they're usually discovered in hospital after the baby's born. They go through a range of tests and examinations by physicians and they're usually discovered then but they can develop after a period of time as well so it can be quite hard to detect because it's like a silent condition. I've had clients come in with seven week old babies where they've had to be in a brace for six weeks and the hip brace is put on to support the baby and obviously, help that area which we'll go into in a moment but yeah, when they came into the studio, I was quite concerned because it was a seven week old baby. It was smiling at me, like it was so chubby and so cute, it had seven weeks to sort of grow into its skin almost. It was this beautiful baby, just continually smiling at me and she was so disappointed that she didn't get the newborn shots, obviously, still madly in love with her baby and just wanted some photographs, that's my job, and I'd done a maternity shoot with them and then obviously the baby was born with a hip issue so I had to work with them. I still created beautiful images. I just worked with the baby, I wrapped her, you know, I'd swaddle her arms down because when they're at that age, their arms are kind of going everywhere while they're awake and I don't want those in front of the face so I would wrap the arms down and use beautiful sort of fibers and fabrics and textures and things like that to compliment the baby and get some smiling shots. I did luckily get two sleeping shots but I worked with her until she was ready to sleep and I didn't overstimulate her. I got beautiful photos of the parents holding her and that connection, the smile. So you can photograph other babies beautifully, older babies, sorry, beautifully. So where was I up to with that? So if a baby has been diagnosed with a hip problem, you know, they will be required to wear that brace for approximately up to six weeks and it's a special splint that holds the joints in the correct position. It's because the ligaments, you know, they're usually too tight, aren't they, Stephanie? The ligaments when they've got those hip problems, they don't allow for that full range of movement so the brace kind of extends them out and holds them into a correct position. Yeah, they're lacking in their external rotation. Yeah. Yeah, they're usually lacking in their external rotation so it's holding them into external rotation with a little bit of fluxion as well. Yeah, I love all those words, the fluxion, external rotation, like they're medical terms. We're not supposed to understand all those medical things but we are supposed to know that when a baby does come in and they've had those issues how we can work with them safely. I also do know that when you bring a newborn's knees together and bring their legs up, that can cause issues so you're better off having them in this sort of wider (laughs) not a very flattering stance, is it? (laughs) Having their hips kind of going outward in position that way. There has been a lot of concern over the last few years with some posing, like the froggy pose, like the taco pose for the hips but it is actually, when they are in that position it's quite natural for a baby's hips to come out like that in that pose. What the dangers are in those poses are, the baby's not being supported properly and then being injured with weight and yeah but we'll go into that a bit later. That's in our later segments, yeah? We have a couple questions coming in, one is from Chris Majoroff who says, "have you ever photographed any babies "with heart issues, I was really worried "when I photographed my grandson "who had had a heart operation at seven days." First of all, hi, Chris. I know Chris, she's a lovely lady and it was, yeah, I remember her having to photograph her grand baby. I haven't personally had a baby come in with heart conditions but that to me would be a situation where you would just communicate as much as possible with the parents. Obviously, you would be able to do that, Chris, 'cause they're your children (laughs) but, you know, if you've got the all-clear from a doctor, you should be right to go through a beautiful simple posing. I don't know why we're always trying to get all these complicated setups and poses when just beautiful simple posing that doesn't put the baby into any difficult positioning or strained positioning, keeping the baby nice and comfortable and relaxed, that shouldn't have an effect. If the baby's had heart surgery and they've have been given the all-clear, you should be able to get beautiful photos but if they still have to go back in for more sort of surgeries and things like that, I would just really work with the baby and it's all about talking to the clients. Obviously, these are your children, Chris, but if you are working with clients who do come in with a baby with a heart problem, they just want to be photographed with their baby. They want to remember what the baby looks like then. Forget the posing, document that baby, photograph it beautifully, wrap it simply. Photograph all the little details that they don't want to forget. Have the parents pose beautifully and put the baby in their arms, remember all those things. Take the emphasis off the posing side of things and remember why we have to photograph these babies. Our clients need us to document them. If you are scared about posing a baby that's had a medical condition, keep it simple. Don't do anything that is a little more complicated, that requires more time, that does push, you know, for example, like your bum up pose that does push one end of the baby up then the other end of the baby up. Don't do it if you don't feel confident in that. Talk to the parents about the type of images that they want if, for example, a baby comes in and it's had some type of surgery or had a procedure or something like that and a parent says, oh, I want this shot and you're not sure and you're not confident, tell them. Say, you know, not every baby goes into that pose comfortably and because of, you know, some of the things that you've told me about that your baby's experienced or whatever the issues are, say to them, we can try something a little simpler and see how they go but I'm gonna work according to your baby and keep them nice and comfortable throughout the process and if they start to get uncomfortable then we might just move onto something a little bit simpler. Talk to them in a way that reassures them that you are keeping the safety and the comfort of that baby at the forefront throughout the entire session. Yeah, I don't know a lot about heart conditions, obviously, 'cause I'm not a medical practitioner but it all basically comes back to communication. If you're still unsure, ask your clients, what did your doctor say, what does your doctor say about this? If they've contacted you via email or spoken to you on the phone and they want to book a shoot and their baby's had some type of surgery and just say, are they still requiring further testing, or do they still require further, you know, procedures or things like that. How often do you have to go back to your doctor? Ask questions because if they've got to go back to their doctor before they can come in for a shoot, ask them to ask their doctor. Say I want to go and have my baby photographed and they get posed, ask them the questions, find out what it is that they want and communicate with them in an open way that provides you enough information to be able to do our job confidently, safely and with the client in mind, yeah? We have questions coming in about prop safety and those sorts of things but I know that's what we're going to next so perfect. Yeah. We're gonna move onto props shortly. Okay, did anyone in here have a question about any of that? Or if you have anything to add about any of that, yeah, I love this. Sorry, yeah, there was one thing that I was thinking when somebody was asking about the jaundice. Oh, yeah. And there's one thing that I do know which is that babies that have jaundice are usually recommended to feed more often because it does help to clear the bilirubin so it's one thing that you want to be really cognizant of during your session because jaundice babies can sleep really heavily and even though, if you're a natural light photographer, that natural light is gonna be good for clearing some of that jaundice. You really want to make sure that they're not going into such a deep sleep that you're missing a feed so I would recommend that you're watching the clock and you're having the parents remind you or just being cognizant of the fact that you don't want to go too long between feeds when you have a jaundice baby. You want to make sure that they're gonna be sent back to the parents to feed, not only this when you're working in a warmer environment, you have to remember that just like an adult, we get dehydrated when we're in a hot environment so even though doctors will normally tell you that babies should feed every three hours, usually during my sessions, I'll be telling the parents just remember, you're in a heated environment now so your babies may feel a little bit dehydrated, just like you or I might want to drink water more often, they may actually need to feed more often in this environment. I'm so glad that you said that about the feeding with the jaundice babies and that they do go into that deep sleep because, yeah, it's so important. Like we get dehydrated, parents get dehydrated, a baby will and especially like if they're a breast-fed baby 'cause breast milk is digested so quickly and their little stomachs are like the size of their fist. So because that breast milk is being digested so quickly, you know, they do need to feed and if they do have jaundice and they're going into that beautiful, deep slumber that we all love, if it's going for an extended period of time, like Stephanie said, it's so important to be aware of that and be conscious of that during a session, I love that, I absolutely love that.

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.


Lindsey Wall

Kelly Brown is one of my favorite teachers not just in newborn photography but photography and learning in general. Her patience is inspiring and she makes this job seem so much more enjoyable and installs passion in you to improve and be the best you can be! Kelly is an expert at what she does and is great at communicating how she does it. I have taken the Creative live baby bootcamp class which is actually what got me to want to go into newborn photography! Ive also purchased a few of her newborn posing courses and I love them all. I literally own my new blossoming little career to Kelly! I love creative live, I have just learned so much from these courses. They are constantly giving out new classes that are so affordable and such amazing resources for any photographer or professional. I am so lucky to have discovered them and Kelly Brown. Thank you Kelly and creative live!

Alice T.

This is an amazing class! Kelly Brown offers a wealth of information that is comprehensive and straightforward. She has such a soothing voice and such great patience that it translates into becoming a great presenter and instructor. Her methodology both in business and her art are sensible and desirable which has taken me up significantly. She has helped me in understanding this business and how to become successful while doing what I love in a profitable and safe manner for both my clients and myself!


Kelly is such a fantastic instructor! This class is wonderful for both beginners & intermediate newborn photographers to improve their posing and keep safety number one. Not only does Kelly teach you step by step how to safely pose, she also explains why she poses the way she does - which is so important. This class is a great resource to watch over and over again until we are all masters!