Is a newborn photoshoot safe for your baby?

September 26, 2022

Most newborn photographers, myself included, advise scheduling your newborn portrait session for the first two weeks of baby’s life. There are a few reasons why this is the best time for a newborn session. First, baby’s bones have not fully hardened yet, and they are still happy to curl up in the positions they found comfiest in the womb. Second, babies sleep deeply during this stage of life, so it’s easy to move them and change blankets and wraps without disturbing them.

When you’ve just had your baby and are still adjusting to life as a parent, bringing your ten-day-old baby to a newborn photoshoot may feel overwhelming. You may even be asking, “is a newborn photoshoot safe for my baby when they are so new”?

Young mother looking at sleeping baby

Finding a safe newborn photographer

Safety is the most critical factor to consider when choosing a newborn photographer. Unfortunately, there is no national certification for becoming a newborn photographer; anyone can call themselves one. This means that you’ll have to do your due diligence as a parent.

Newborn photographers can elect to complete a handful of certification programs, and I chose to get certified in newborn safety through APNPI. The mission of APNPI is to provide in-depth training in newborn safety with a focus on newborn handling and safe posing. They also have some great resources for parents looking for qualified newborn photographers.

Close up of newborn baby lips

Your newborn photographer should be trained in newborn safety, but she must be up to date on immunizations. Your newborn has an immature immune system and is more susceptible to illness, and some viruses are extremely dangerous to newborns, and your photographer should be immunized for these.

I consult yearly with my doctor to ensure I am up to date on all the recommended immunizations. Don’t be shy about asking your photographer what newborn safety training she has and whether she is up to date on their immunizations for Pertussis (whooping cough), Flu, and MMR.

Of course, in the age of Covid-19, you’ll also want to ensure that your photographer is fully vaccinated and boosted against the disease AND find out what other precautions they are taking. You can read about the safety precautions I take to ensure a safe newborn photo session in the age of Covid-19.

Sleeping newborn baby portrait

Is a newborn photoshoot stressful for babies?

Many new parents worry that a newborn photoshoot may be “too much” for their baby. If you are concerned that a newborn session might stress your newborn or overstimulate them, you are not alone! The good news is that with the right photographer, your newborn’s session will be a comfortable and relaxing experience for both of you.

Aside from finding a photographer taking all the proper safety precautions, you will want to find a photographer with a gentle approach.

When I photograph your newborn, I use “baby-led posing.” This means that I’m paying careful attention to your baby’s cues and body language and using that information to guide your baby into natural and comfortable positions. I never put your baby into unnatural positions that stress their bodies.

If your baby becomes unsettled, we’ll stop the session so they can have a feed, a cuddle, a change, or whatever they need. When your baby needs to be held, we’ll photograph them in your arms.

Black and white portrait of family with newborn baby

In short, your newborn session should be a safe and comfortable experience for your new baby. Here are two resources to help you find a safe and gentle newborn photographer:

big sister and newborn

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I photograph maternity, newborn, baby, and family sessions in and around Los Angeles. If you're interested in a session, please get in touch.

Ariel Cannon Photography | Los Angeles

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Baby girl portrait on bed

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