I’ve titled this post Newborn Photography – The New Normal because newborn photographers will need to change the way they have always worked. The new normal now includes social distancing. And of course, as newborn photographers this is difficult because the very nature of our work means we are in close contact with newborn babies. We wrap them, we soothe them, we pose them. Many newborn photographers carry out a lot of “beanbag” work which is where the baby is posed in positions on a beanbag. This necessitates close contact. Some of these poses can take a while to achieve perfection, particularly if baby is not in the deepest of sleeps.
So what is the new normal? What should newborn photographers be considering? How should they be working? How can they ensure their tiniest client’s safety – and the safety of the parents? Everybody who knows me knows that safety during newborn photography sessions is my main value. It always has been and it always will be. Never more so than now.
I have obviously kept up to date with all government guidelines and I have also been listening to the scientific officers. We know that photography studios have been given the go ahead to open on 15th June and that social distancing will need to be observed. However, I will be taking all of my sessions (excluding newborn) outside. I will not be photographing newborns on 15th June, and I do not anticipate doing so before July – and certainly not before hairdressers have been given the go-ahead to open. The uniquely close environment in which we work with babies means that as with hairdressers, you cannot maintain a 2 metre distance from the babies.
One of the most important points about Covid-19 is that many are asymptomatic – and therefore they do not *know* if they have the virus. They can therefore pass it on without knowing. Touching baby as little as possible is important. With that in mind this is how my newborn photography sessions will look for the foreseeable future until we have a vaccine or the virus incredibly disappears: These guidelines will come in from when hairdressers start working again and I will be keeping a close eye on what hairdressers are doing before I open up to photographing newborns. Here is how a newborn session is likely to run:
- My newborn sessions will be limited to 1 hour to minimise the amount of time baby and parents are inside.
- Parents will be sent a health questionnaire to complete the day before the session
- I will not conduct any sessions if I show any indicators for coronavirus (or indeed feel in the slightest bit unwell). Newborn photographers should never ever photograph if they are unwell anyway!
- The outside door and windows of my studio will be open to allow ventilation.
- The room will not be heated (no need in Summer in my studio in any event)
- The studio is disinfected with a bleach solution or disinfectant before each session.
- Any props (I use minimal props in any event) will be disinfected before each session using a bleach solution or disinfectant.
- Parents are asked to bring their own refreshments.
- I will be wearing a mask
- “Prop” shots are kept to a minimum and where used the prop will have been disinfected with bleach before each session. Props used will be my props only.
- Client’s own props are not permitted.
- Maximum of one session per week to allow proper cleaning between each session.
- I will not be touching baby’s hands or face.
- I will not be photographing babies naked at this point – babies will be wrapped.
- Baby will be placed and photographed on their back to minimise excessive touching. I can achieve beautiful shots – you don’t need a huge variety of poses.
- Even if parents indicate they are not infected and have not been in touch with anybody who has been infected I will not loosen the above policies. This is because the point is – the virus can be asymptomatic.
- I will not be using items which cannot be properly washed. Where I use wool, that will be disposed of and not re-used.
- Toilet facilities will be unavailable.
- Whereas clients usually come to me to choose their images, these appointments will now be given via Zoom – sharing my screen so they may pick what they choose.
It is vital that newborn photographers do not rush back into photographing newborns before they are completely ready and certainly not while the infection rate remains high.
There is not enough detail in the numbers to be able to know what the numbers of Covid 19 are like in the immediate locality and in my area, I am closed to Bristol, North Somerset, and Bath and NE Somerset and also my clients come from further afield in any event.
With regard to liability releases – it is my legal understanding that you cannot sue somebody for contracting an infectious disease *unless* you have been negligence – and in any event it is against the law to exclude liability for personal injury or death as a result of negligence.
I hope you all find the above useful. We can return to newborn photography *when we consider it safe enough* and I would really hope that all newborn photographers work together so that we are all “singing from the same hymn sheet”. We all want to return to doing what we love, but the overriding principal must *always* be – safety first.
And because blog posts can be dull without imagery – here’s a little sweetie all wrapped up.
If you are looking for remote mentoring from me (which can be from my studio to your studio) then please take a look at what I offer by clicking here.
Melanie is an extremely talented newborn photographer and trainer who has been at the forefront of newborn imagery for many years. She is an advocate for the safest practices in newborn photography. I am extremely grateful to have met Melanie and had the opportunity to train with her on more than one occasionGeorgia Lemon