Newborn Photography Safety Tips: Using Composites - The Milky Way - a photographer's resource

Newborn Photography Safety Tips: Using Composites

Today I share one of the most important newborn photography safety tips in the industry: using composites for certain types of newborn poses.

When you’re getting started with newborn photography it is so easy to assume that every dramatic image you see is just like the way it was taken. However, that’s not the case. A lot of these beautiful, dramatic images are done as composites – and the safest photographers should be doing them that way!

What I’m going to share with you today are some of the most common composite poses and why they’re done that way.

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I’d like to share with you the images you need to be doing as composites to keep those little babies safe.

Suspended Images

This is an image where baby looks like it’s hanging, suspended in the air. In fact, when I do these in my studio, the baby isn’t hanging at all. We place the newborn on the beanbag, and then place the parent’s hands around the baby, or place the props around the baby. The shot is taken from above, and it is then edited so that it looks like it was actually in the air.

If you’d like to see how these black background shots are edited, check out this tutorial on Youtube.

Toddlers with Newborns

You’re going to be getting loads of requests for images of toddlers together with their new baby brother or sister. I have always done these as a
composite.

Two of my favorite composites are with a old-fashioned pram or with a wagon. The way that I do this makes it look like they’re together in the same frame, but for baby’s safety, I actually shoot these at two different times.

I mark on the floor where I have placed the prop, and position the toddler in the right place relative to my mark. After taking an image with just the toddler, the toddler leaves and I then position the baby in the prop on my mark, and take the second image. When I get into Photoshop, I merge the two images together.

This ensures that baby is safe at all times. Toddlers are super unpredictable – you never know if they’re going to bash into the pram or take that baby for a ride in the wagon! You don’t want that to happen, so it’s just not an issue in my studio.

newborn photography safety tips for composites

Guitars (or other large props)

Another beautiful image is a baby on top of a guitar, especially if the parents are musicians. Although, this is a wonderful and beautiful shot, and it’s requested a fair amount, you need to know that baby is never left alone on top of the guitar. I have baby on the guitar with a parent’s hands in one position – then we move parent’s hands to a different position and I merge the photos in Photoshop later.

Froggy Pose

The next pose that should always be done as a composite, is the froggy pose. Now this is actually a pose I don’t do. I just don’t like the pressure that is placed on baby’s little wrists, even when posing safely. So it’s just not something that I personally do.

If the froggy pose is something that you offer, you should be taking two images – one with hands holding up the head, and then another with hands holding the wrists – and then merged in Photoshop.

Potato Sack Pose

This is an image where baby is tightly wrapped and looking like they’re standing up. And you’ve guessed it: the way that this is done is by taking two images. One holding baby on one side and then held on the other side, and then merged in Photoshop.

You never ever want to have baby just wrapped up standing on its own. It’s not safe as baby could fall.

You never want to be that photographer that puts an image at a higher priority than baby safety, so make sure that you are always following these newborn photography safety tips for composites. It will serve you in your photography career!

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