View Full Version : Creating Baby Safety Certification

04-23-2012, 01:54 PM
Recently I was having a discussion with a photographer who emphasis is babies/family. She was telling me about getting asked by someone new in the industry how she achieved one of the "propped up" poses as this particular photographer has tried, but not gotten it to work. Immediately she told her that this is a composite {the newby didn't even know what a composite was} and that you should never try the pose with out an extra pair of hands.

It got me thinking that my hairdresser can not even operate without a certificate, but yet we take the precious gift of a child and some photographers put that gift in jeopordy due to not having the knowledge of simple safety. Something is totally wrong here!

I would love to see PPA create a certification making it easier for those photographers who take the time to learn proper baby safety to advertise as such... being "Certified Newborn Baby Photographer".

Thank you, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated on how to get a program like this up and running and get this portion of our industry back on track to a high standard of safety!

04-23-2012, 02:52 PM
that would be a good issue to take up with your affiliate's PPA rep.

I've been hearing more and more about accidents happening and there may start to be an outcry from the public on this issue soon. I'd like to see it.

04-23-2012, 11:24 PM
We don't need a certificate we need basic common sence
Stupid is as studio does

04-24-2012, 01:15 AM
Linda... thanks for idea. I did contact PPA directly.

I don't know about other areas, but around our area it's not the studios where the real problem is, it's the new mom's with cameras that are just starting out and have no clue that many photos are composites and unfortunately common sense is not being used. Sadly, parents do not know this either. Being a new mom can be overwhelming and many assume that because someone is offering newborn photos then that person must know what they are doing.

My hope is if there was a nationally recognized certification, it would be easy to get the word out to new parents on what they should be looking for when booking a newborn photographer.

I should point out that I am not a newborn photographer, but I used to offer newborns before redirecting to weddings. As a parent in the photo industry I would LOVE to see stricter guidelines. A fellow photographer recently pointed out that in our state you legally can not apply make-up to your client without a cosmetology license, BUT there are no stipulations when handling a 7 day old child. That is just wrong in my opinion.

04-24-2012, 02:25 AM
I don't know, I don't think getting a license for everything solves the problems. Licenses are a way for your local government to make money. Have you ever been to a salon and had your hair cut by a licensed cosmetologist? And do they all know what they are doing? No. Them having a license doesn't make them competent. I've still gotten many bad haircuts all because the person cutting my hair doesn't have experience with curly hair. They have a license saying they know what they're doing but they still don't have experience with the right type of hair to cut mine correctly. Requiring a license to handle a newborn would also mean that we'd need licenses to become parents. I agree that common sense is desperately needed in our society today and the consumer needs to realize that if they get the cheapest photographer they can find, they're going to get what they pay for.

04-24-2012, 03:46 AM
Amy, the license means they have basic knowledge but it's mostly for health and safety, not skills.

04-24-2012, 04:35 AM
Amy... I'm totally with you in that it's not going to solve everything. I'm totally open to ideas, but ultimately it's something that should be addressed in our industry. I do think a lincense vs. a certification is two different things. I guess I wouldn't think to get state or government involved at all. But I know of people who take the time to become certified professionals in many fields to be better at both jobs and hobbies. There may be a little cost involved, but it's more about taking the time to learn a correct way to do things.

To me the common sense it where it becomes tricky... How does our industry step up the knowledge to general public without having the photographer themselves be held accountable somehow. I would not go to somebody's house {or let someone in my house} for a tattoo, yet we do this with babies. I would also not bring my child to a daycare that has not taken the time to get certified in first aid and CPR.

As a parent, it's not outrageous to expect the photographer to show me they have taken the time to learn steps to keep my baby safe.

As a photographer, if I wanted to offer newborn photography, I would gladly take a class to educate myself in the best way to keep a newborn safe and I would proudly advertise it in hopes that client's see why you should not go out and book the newborn photos for $50.

I'm a mom, but hardly an expert on baby safety. I'm not talking about offering a class just showing posing {although that should be addressed as well}, but also things like if a baby had breathing problems when born, is there poses that could do harm?. A fellow photographer had a baby whose foot kept turning purple as if losing circulation... they immediated halted the pose, but yet still did not know the ultimate cause or if it could have caused harm to the child.

I just feel very strongly that it's only a matter of time before one of the photographers out there without any common sense really does something that may cause permanent harm or worse to a child. Will a simple certificate stop this 100% from happening... no. No different than having that daycare certified in CPR means a child will survive if they stopped breathing. But, taking the time to learn some common sense posing, the use of composites and some of the health/body conditions of a newborn seems like a great place to start.

04-30-2012, 03:46 PM
Licensing/certification is not the solution. There really is NO solution... only remedies. The remedy here is more education for photographers and public awareness about the dangers of baby photography. As bad as this sounds... public awareness may only occur when a baby is seriously injured or worse... Let's hope that never happens.

I personally do not work with children under the age of 4 unless it is a family portrait. The risk it too great and babies always pee, puke and poop all over my things. Toddlers can't sit still for more than 5 seconds and light stands are always in their way... HOWEVER, I am also quick to point out these risks to other photographers (particularly newbies). I feel that is my obligation as a professional photographer. We all must do our parts to educate others.

04-30-2012, 05:01 PM
This is certainly an area that would be good for workshops, and some enterprising photographer might even develop a "certification" program, but I don't see it being something that can be mandated in the form of licensing.

"Pose created by professional photographer. Do not try this at home."

This is probably something that can be made part of the marketing effort--that this photography is far more complex than it looks and requires knowledge and experience to be safe for baby. There will have to be a balance between creating alarm and instigating a proper level of caution.

04-30-2012, 05:29 PM
I think there's more of a need for wedding photographers to be certified
There's many times more devistated brides then injured babies that I here about
Besides babies bounce when you drop them....don't they?

04-30-2012, 06:24 PM
IMO. Licensing in our industry will never happen until some Senator's family gets their wedding ruined or harm happens to a family member due to poor practices. At this time Certification is the only way to raise industry standards. While I an not in favor of mandatory certification I am in favor to in getting as many photographers certified as possible. It is my hope that gaining more certified photographers will result in higher customer expectations of what professional photography is. Thus raising the industry as a whole.

05-01-2012, 10:50 PM
And just like that, this month's PPA Magazine has a great article on baby posing safety! check it out!

05-02-2012, 01:02 AM
As a professional photographer (or just a human being) you shouldn't be putting someone else or their child in danger. Safety should be a part of the educational process. But there are many these days who simply buy a camera and "become" a pro overnight. If they don't participate in any type of education then it does them no good. Should we promote awareness of safety issues? Yes. Unfortunately common sense can't being certified.

05-15-2012, 04:37 PM
Absolutely correct Mark. As the comedian Ron White says, "You Can't Fix Stupid". You still have people out there that unfortunately do not have the basic intelligence to make good decisions in many cases which results in tragedy. I still read stories of people out there who get in their vehicle and think "Cruise Control" drives the car itself. Perhaps the discussion should be whether there should be a certification requirement to reproduce. j/k ... well mostly.