MY INVOLVEMENT IN NEWBORN SAFETY

The Baby and Newborn Photography Association

As anybody who has had a session or trained with me will be aware, I am passionate about newborn safety. While many industries who deal with brand new babies are regulated, newborn photography isn’t. This raises important questions for you as a new parent. When you’re considering a photographer to hand your child to within days of her birth, will you care about how capable they are? There is no outside body to do that work for you, no one to test photographers, or regulate their practice. This is what has always lead me to try and spread the message to parents and photographers that baby safety is simply the number one priority.

When I started my journey as a newborn photographer nearly 8 years ago, there was no training available in the UK and so I had no option but to research and train and learn in any way I could until I was 100% confident that the safety of any babies entrusted into my care would never be in question. Since then I have trained in many areas to supplement my own gained skills and experience.

From maintaining the correct temperature, ensuring they are comfortable and safe in all poses and props, knowing when to shoot an image as a composite (meaning myself or an assistant never lets go of the baby) right through to checking there are no squished up fingers or toes. Sounds simple enough, and obvious, but as I continued growing my business I realised there were an alarming amount of people trying to recreate professional images with no clue at all on how to do it safely. You wouldn’t trust an untrained midwife to deliver your baby, just because they have a pair of forceps and have watched a youtube video; yet there were and are people trusted with newborns just because they have a camera and a few headbands and props and opened a Facebook business page….and there is nothing to stop them.

With this preying on my mind I knew I wanted to spread the word of safety amongst photographers and parents. I expressed my ideas to my and fellow newborn photographer Shellie Wall and Elli Cassidy, and between us decided to set up BANPAS (Baby and Newborn Photography Association) (previously called BANP) There was no other association or body dedicated to protecting the welfare of newborns in the hands of photographers, and to this day BANPAS is still alone in this quest. Many other photography associations have within them some excellent practices to ensure baby safety, but none do the amazing work BANPAS continues to do.

BANPAS was about encouraging photographers to be safe, and helping parents to make sure they chose a safe and proficient photographer and were able to ask the right questions to ensure they could confidently do this.

When we started BANPAS members had to show they were offering quality work, were of a reasonable standard, were insured, and agreed to abide by our code of conduct.

Whilst many of those great practices still exist, members now also benefit from a huge and extensive range of resources. Anybody can join BANPAS and receive help and support in growing their business with numerous training courses. There are three levels of membership, a monthly competition and many supplier discounts too. They also ensures parents have a directory of members where they can search their local area for their chosen photographer.

I am incredibly proud to be a pioneer of Newborn safety in the UK, and running BANPAS gave me huge satisfaction knowing we were making a real difference, but with our own businesses growing and becoming busier we decided to hand it over to the current owners Helen McGlynn and Emma Canham. I have not walked away from BANPAS completely as I am also a BANPAS Ambassador which means I can support members, continue to spread the word of the great work they do, and also judge competition and Qualification entries.