by Jocelyn Conway Published 01/08/2016
I watch the baby closely, they can over heat easily as well as getting cold easily.
Overheating ... they can sweat on their head, and pant instead of steady breathing.
Cold ...they don't settle as easily and feel cool to the touch, on their chest or back.
I warn parents it's going to be quite warm in the studio but I have another room that I keep cooler if parents get a bit overheated.
I use hand gel and clean my hands before I pick the baby up. I handle the baby as if it was my own - gently and lovingly, moving slowly and not rushing.
When wrapping the baby in stretch wraps I always wrap them firmly but still allow two fingers slack in the top around the neck so it's not too tight and restrictive. I also watch those little fingers and toes; they can get caught in wraps and fluffy blankets.
I sometimes have an assistant to sit, closely, as a spotter, next to the baby at all times, watching them in case they move or jump, but usually I ask one of the parents to help. They sit within a hand's reach and are told the importance of watching the baby at all times.
There are a few poses that require more than one image ...we all know the froggy pose and the potato sack pose; and always remember that not all babies will do all the poses, it depends on how they were lying inside their mums. Some babies are more flexible than others; if in doubt don't do it or composite the picture.
I do a composite image for lots of pictures, including props, images with young siblings in, slings, hammocks, etc - the list is endless.
I use lots of different props, buckets and baskets, bowls, etc. When I purchase them I check them thoroughly for size and stability, and any jagged bits that might scratch a baby ...doesn't mean you can't use them but they will need to be fixed and well padded!
Props are always weighed down, a spotter is placed next to the baby usually with their hand on the baby's head or a finger supporting them, I can clone out the hand or finger easily in Photoshop.
My studio lights are on secure stands and are checked before every session.
I sometimes use a small step so I can reach over the baby for the above shots. It is a low stool and secure with rubber feet! I always (always!) wear my camera strap around my neck when doing the above shots! Heavy cameras can fall easily! Another thing to remember is that the camera can swing and hit a baby, or child when we bend over.
Also if I am unwell I will always rearrange a shoot. Small babies haven't got their immune system fully developed just yet.
I have a baby-changing table in the studio, and I warn parents of the danger of leaving their baby unattended on the table! Even small newborn babies can jump or wriggle!
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