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  • Hanneke Raap

How to safely photograph babies

Updated: Sep 17, 2019

For every newborn photographer the safety of the baby comes first before anything else. But how can you learn how to work with babies safely?

Meeting Sandra at Tafe South Bank to get introduced to Stand In Baby - a fake baby perfect for practising newborn photography
Meeting Sandra Moffatt

Today we had a special guest at Tafe. Sandra Moffat who introduced us to Stand in Baby (SIB). She had brought and laid out 18 babies. Seeing all these stand in babies lying on posing bags was a scary sight at first. It looked like these robot babies were going to take over our campus.

However then Sandra explained how and why this baby was born. This special baby was developed by Sandra, her husband and baby experts such as obstetricians and mid wives as a training mannequin for newborn photographers. The baby can be used to practice placing, positioning, handling, wrapping and photographing babies. This allows you to practice newborn photography in a realistic way.

The arms and legs of the doll are designed to mirror the range of movement of a real baby and it has the same weight as an actual newborn. Practice makes perfect and it is lovely you can try new things on this baby first to make sure you have got a safe approach before the real baby comes along in the studio.

The result of a safely posed Stand In Baby
A safely posed Stand In Baby

Then we got the opportunity to have a go ourselves with SIB. First we practiced with the baby on the posing bag. We made sure to support it's head, place support under the baby, moving the baby from its side to its tummy and positioning the arms and legs during these movements. When you manage to pull an arm or leg of SIB you know that you need to practice more. We added some teddies and bonnets to the baby. We then practiced wrapping the baby in several different ways which is an art form in itself.

It was fantastic to see how passionate Sandra is about the safety of a newborn during a photo shoot, they have made several free training video's for newborn photographers and have set up a community where you can share knowledge amongst photographers. There are now also plans to use SIB in the medical field to teach students how to handle babies and to practice medical procedures. They recently dove in the deep with the sharks Glen and Andrew from sharktank, who will help them making the world a safer place for babies. How amazing is that! You can learn more on

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