Newborn Safety First

Today I want to discuss the “making of” a newborn hanging image. I say the “making of” instead of the “taking of” because I strongly believe that any hanging baby image should be a composite image that is “made” not “taken”. I was once approached by an acquaintance who said they were trying to get a particular hanging baby image and the baby was just very wiggly and uncomfortable while being hung and dad’s arms were getting tired and they were discouraged because they were not getting the images they were trying for that they had seen so many times online.  I asked how they were going about the set up and they said that basically they were wrapping the baby and dad was lifting baby up in the air while mom tried to take a picture. I was a bit shocked by the idea of a  baby hanging freely above the ground, and she seemed a bit confused when I told her this was not how I approach baby sessions. Safety Always comes first. AT the time I thought this was just an obvious fact, I didn’t realize that many people see  final images like these and think they are straight out of the camera.

After that point I started making *how to* posts and they were shared by many blogs and Pinners over the years. This style has been becoming a frequently request again at my studio.  I love to share images on social media, but with that sharing I often am concerned that someone new to baby photography might see those images and attempt them as they appear without researching how they are made. For this reason I  put a disclosure on my hanging baby images when I share them,  and I recommend other professionals do so as well , something like this * All images of babies that appear to be hanging are composite images made through the magic of careful photo editing, babies are secure at all times during their session*

Because this style  seems so popular once again, I thought it was time for a new behind the scenes  baby safety study…

In the following images we use a Bella Bun Bloq poser, a strong thick piece of white cloth found at a local material store, and a Savage backdrop size 53″x 36′ in the color Bone.

Here is a baby hanging  style has been requested a few times over the last couple of months.

First we get baby very comfortably posed , wrapped in the material we will be using, while laying in a parent’s arms or on a poser, we wait for baby to be super comfortable and fast asleep before we ever start posing.

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When I do this image I have parents or another adult stand and offer support on Each side of baby.  Then we lift baby above the newborn poser a few inches with dad’s hand securely under baby bracing baby’s weight and head, the parent or adult on the other side has one hand free and floating, ready to instantly support baby if we see any movement at all.  We talk over every aspect of this before we set it up, the adult on the right of the image knew that if baby moved that perfect little foot  At All then they should reach out and support baby’s legs while I came over to repose.

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After I get an image with the good material lines on the sides and around baby’s lower body, and a clear shot of the hanging leg in front of the backdrop, I move on to this set up…

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In This image we have baby only a couple inches above the poser with his foot Almost touching, I don’t care that the poser in showing with the foot, because I don’t need that foot in my final shot, I’ll composite using the leg and foot from the first shot. The point of This shot is to get the clean material lines under the baby’s upper body. The set up for this shot goes something like this, first baby is fully supported with dad’s hand,  like in the first photo, then we lower baby to Almost touching the poser, then I say 1. 2. 3. and dad drops his hand a few inches while I snap 1 or 2 Very quick shots, and then his hand goes RIGHT back onto the baby.  If baby were to move he would instantly have mom and dad’s spare hand, and they would lower him onto the poser that he is Almost touching. I always tell the parents that even though the baby is completely safe with the combinations of both parents and that poser right there, ultimately the Shot Does Not Matter, if the baby starts to move or shift you don’t wait to see if all is well, you instantly lower and support.

With a bit of photoshopping we get our final image exactly what the parents requested, but made safely…

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In the following hanging baby images I use a homemade branch swing prop, a thunder grey seamless drop from Savage, a forest backdrop from Adorama and a Contoured Bella Bun portable poser, which is my go to poser for most hanging baby images, belly poses, and arms under chin poses…

We start with baby secure on the prop, which is securely placed in the contours of my Bella Bun with a parent or another adult within arms reach at all times…

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Next we have mom hold baby while we get a shot of the branch swing hanging freely in front of the backdrop , we do this in order to use the bottom of the image and the ropes to composite an images to appear as though the baby is hanging when in reality baby never left the poser.

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The results after careful editing are final images that were made very safely and are sure to please a parent

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About Amanda Rachael

I am a Mom to 5 children, Wife of Jed, Child of God, Photographer, and Prop designer
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