Today I want to talk to you guys about the dangerous things that I've seen floating around the internet recently. I've seen this article floating around Facebook and it describes these "fails" as "hilarious". However, as a professional photographer, I don't think that they're all hilarious. In fact, I think that many of them are downright dangerous. Sometimes even the best children/newborn photographers catch some great outtakes, but that doesn't make them a "fail"; just something funny to share. Here are some of the most concerning things I've seen in this particular article, but these images are all over the internet and I think it's important to share WHY these things are dangerous.
Wrapped in Electricity: We've all seen the pictures of the babies and toddlers wrapped in Christmas lights and gone "Awwww". Well, the reality is that those pictures are really dangerous. Let's think about it for a minute: People are letting their small children (most of whom are teething and biting into everything) hold onto a string of Christmas lights that are plugged in. Does this make sense to anyone? Plus, many strings of Christmas lights are lined with lead! Please don't try to take these pictures with your children.
Newborn Images: Let me preface this with the fact that I love Pinterest! There are some awesome ideas on there and it's great for inspiration. HOWEVER, there are also articles on there that encourage parents to DIY their pictures and some of those DIY ideas are really dangerous. So not only are they Pinterest fails, but they also put children in unsafe situations. This is especially true when it comes to newborn images. Newborn photographers, like myself, have spent countless time learning about newborn safety and practicing how to take certain images. Many of them are NOT single shot pictures. They are called "composites" because they are two or more images put together in Photoshop to result in one image at the end that looks like it was a single shot. A perfect example of a composite newborn shot is the images with the baby "holding" their head with their hands. This should ALWAYS be done with Photoshop and never as a single shot. Newborns are not strong enough to hold themselves up in that way and can easily fall over hurting themselves. If a newborn portrait on Pinterest looks simple enough, please at least consult with a professional before attempting it on your own. They will at least tell you if that picture is a composite or not. Better yet, hire a professional to capture beautiful images of your newborn!
Boxes, Shelves, Dump Trucks, Oh my!: There are pictures out there of babies in watermelons, actually sitting on shelves or laying on a dump truck. These are also dangerous. As a newborn and children's photographer, when I attempt anything like this with a child who cannot sit up/hold themselves up on their own, I always have someone either with their hands on them (mostly for babies) or standing within arms reach of them, just in case something goes wrong. That being said, these images are also not always what they seem. Those pictures of the babies sitting on a shelf with a teddy bear? That's done with the baby actually laying on the ground and the shelf is just propping their legs up. Those watermelon shots? Often composites where the baby wasn't actually in a watermelon, or at the very least, not in a watermelon that wasn't being held by an adult. The dump truck pictures? Also a composite image, plus there are a bunch of posers placed underneath the baby to give them stability. Even something as "simple" as a picture of a baby on a stack of books isn't always that simple.
The bottom line is that if you're unsure of how to take the images, please don't attempt them on your own. I know that it looks easy, I thought that it would be too! But the reality is that professionals spend a lot of time and money to learn how to take these images safely. The safety and comfort of your child is so important and I would hate to see a child get hurt in the name of an attempt at a cute picture.
Do you have any questions about this blog post? Have you ever had a Pinterest fail portrait session? Tell me about it in the comments!