Earlier this year I learnt about a photographers association called APNPI (Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers International). This association was created by talented and experienced newborn photographers -including Stephanie Robin (the queen of newborn safety)- with the purpose of making our industry better and safer.
As of today, newborn photography is not regulated at all and anyone with a camera and a basket can call themselves newborn photographers. The reality is that newborn babies are the most fragile human beings, and handling and posing them means there's a lot of responsibility in our hands. Sadly, there are some photographers who don’t take newborn safety seriously. Newborn physiology, their reflexes and their inmune systems, newborn posing and image compositing (like the example to the right) should be part of every aspiring photographer's learning agenda.
That's where APNPI comes in. In an effort to educate newborn photographers in best practices and new parents in how to choose their photographer, this association is the new go-to place to find all the resources you need regarding your newborn photography session.
Can I be a little braggy for a sec?
A few days back, I announced through a Facebook Live Video that I had passed my QNP (Qualified Newborn Photographer) application and that I am now a Certified Newborn Photographer through APNPI. This is a big deal! There are just 19 of us for now worldwide! Obtaining this Certification was not easy at all; it requires photographers to be licensed and insured; to prove that we know our lighting, composition and posing techniques; that we have been trained by experienced photographers; that we know how to pose a baby alone, with siblings and with parents; that we can work in different scenarios with consistency in style and that we have happy clients telling their friends about our services. For this I had to submit very detailed paperwork along with tons of images that showed my experience. It was an extensive application process! And I'm very proud to share with you this press release:
And as much as I'm in celebration mode right now, there's still a lot to do next. I'll continue working to get accreditations in different areas of photography, like maternity, posed newborn and macro. This will take time, but every challenge requires hard work, patience and perseverance. As I have said before, this association is not here to charge us a membership fee and give us a seal. We have to earn our professional levels. And that's what I'll do.
The importance of YOU taking action too
You, as a parent, can help in making the newborn photography industry better too. When looking for a newborn photographer, don't settle for one that does not take it seriously. You might put your baby at risk without even knowing it! Ask your photographer about their business and their practices. He or she should have no problem in answering these questions (based on this APNPI's blogpost):
- How many years in business and approximately how many babies has she handled up to this point?
- Where has she trained and with whom?
- What are the safety practices she takes into consideration during her sessions?
- Will your newborn be supported by human hands in all upright positions as well as any poses requiring suspension?
- Does she work with an assistant or provide spotters at her newborn sessions? Or will she allow you to spot your baby during a session?
- What will happen in the case of illness, the photographer's own or otherwise?
- Is she up to date with vaccinations?
- Is her business licensed and insured?
You should invest enough time, thought and research when looking for your newborn photographer. Make sure you are giving your baby to someone that understands newborns and that will treat your little treasure with all the delicacy and respect that they deserve. If you want to find a Certified Newborn Photographer in your area, make sure to visit apnpi.com.