As many of you know, I am a HUGE advocate for newborn safety in photography. With the influx of affordable digital cameras comes a ton of new “photographers” hanging up a shingle (or a FB Page in today’s day and age) and trying to make a go at this business. I think that’s AWESOME, I really do. We all have to start somewhere.
I do however, have a big issue with these new photographers shooting newborn images without any training, without any knowledge of what is and is not safe for a newborn to do. They are going solely off a Pinterest image they saw and “giving it a go”. I have been sickened so many times lately seeing babies shoved into random things, left in dangerous positions, their bodies flailing and unsupported, just waiting for an accident to happen. 99% of the time these photographers don’t even have a professional business licence, no training and no insurance to protect themselves or your child. I cringe, almost daily as I see these, and decided I was not going to sit by and wait for a child to get hurt or killed. I’m all for learning your way through photography, but NOT with newborns.
I feel that only experienced, certified photographers should be able to photograph a newborn. They should be licensed as a business, they should be professionally trained in newborn photography, they should have full liability insurance and contracts in place, they should have a temperature controlled location in which to shoot, a clean environment with props that have been tested for safety and size. Most of all, they should have Infant CPR training and an TRAINED Assistant who’s only job is to keep their eyes and hands on that baby every second, when a position or pose is remotely risky. Most of the shots you see today are composites, but they don’t know that. Posing a baby incorrectly or in unsafe props can result EASILY in broken bones, dislocations, loss of circulation, strangulation, head and neck injuries and DEATH. They simply MUST be trained.
How do you get trained without practicing on delicate newborns? Well, we now have a way!
I, along with 300+ other photographers worldwide, believe it’s time we got serious about protecting newborns from untrained photographers taking risks and learning on real babies. That is NOT how to learn. Last year, I was introduced to Sandra and Brendon Moffat (renowned photographers in the land of OZ), who have the same dreams and hopes for this industry, and they developed a product that took thousands of man-hours, tens of thousands of dollars and many specialized experts and photographers to achieve. This product is StandInBaby, or SIB as we call it. (all links for further info are highlighted). SIB is backed by the best newborn photographers in the WORLD!
SIB is not a doll. SIB is a fully articulating, weighted training aid that not only mimics the size and weight distribution of a real infant, each of it’s industry grade stainless steel joints fully articulate exactly as a newborns would. It will ONLY move as in infant would. The weight distribution between head and body are the same as a real child, your average 7 pounder. SIB is fabulous! SIB can be used to test the durability and safety of a prop, to practice safe handling and posing, to show parents and siblings how they need to hold the baby for a particular image, practice lighting, wrapping and posing for photographers. Seasoned professionals can try out new things, different outfits and lighting, and even the newest beginner can feel safe and secure knowing that they can learn without risk.
I, along with those other 300+ professional photographers from around the world have funded this product, as we believe in it that much. It is now in it’s final stages of development, just fine tuning based on real trials with the prototypes, and will be in full manufacturing in just a couple months. View the full Press Kit for SIB here.
I will be in Las Vegas at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Expo in 4 weeks. It is a week of extensive training, expo and a product show. I will be there with SIB and will send back some video and photo footage for you to see how extraordinary it is. I’m hoping we will get a special visit soon here in Collingwood from one of the prototype SIBS that have been travelling around the globe for final testing and fine tuning. Rest assured, my SIB’s will be here soon enough. Each of the backers will receive their SIBs in July so we may begin learning and training photographers all over the world in safe newborn practices. When my SIB’s arrive, I will be working with Doctors, Chiropractors and Midwives to outline exactly what to look out for, what to avoid, and how to safely maneuver an infant, so that we may use those videos, images and SIB to develop a top notch training program for new photographers. I am so incredibly excited about this.
SIB will be on sale for anyone who is interested and will retail for about $1190 CDN. They are NOT cheap and require a serious investment in your clients, your business and your dedication to infant safety. For those starting out who can’t afford to buy SIB, the backers and SIB have set up a network of rentals and workshops where you can learn and train for Newborn Photography. Yet another reason why professional Photographer charge what they do for their expertise.
Please, if you are searching for a newborn photographer in your area, do your research! Hire one who is trained, experienced, insured, and who has the proper equipment/location to photography them safely. Search for qualified photographers through PPOC (Professional Photographers of Canada), NAPCP (National Association of Professional Child Photographers) or Best Newborn Photographers online. These are all VETTED professionals held to the highest standards.
Yes, you may save money and get all your images on disc really cheap, but is it worth your baby’s safety? How much is that worth to you?
*NOTE: All images of SIB are provided by StandInBaby and are NOT my images.