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The Potato Sack Pose

Lesson 17 from: Baby Safety and Posing for Newborn Photographers

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

17. The Potato Sack Pose

Lesson Info

The Potato Sack Pose

First and foremost before I do any of my posing I have to go through the process of eliminating any risks and identifying any dangers that can possibly go wrong. Before we do start though I want to share with you something that I found out last night and it was quite bizarre actually, after I had done a small talk about safety equipment in the studio especially when it comes to using ladders, so a photographer was doing a photo shoot yesterday and she was on top of a ladder in her bathroom doing a milk bath shoot and I have her permission to share this story with you. I contacted her and this is not about her or how she's operating in her studio but it's about that this actually happens. I just don't say all these things for fun. I don't say, "Be careful," just for the sake of being careful, I say, "Be careful," because there are stories out there, there are actual incidents that have happened where people have become seriously injured. This photographer got up onto the ladder and took...

a shoot and then came back down to readjust the ladder. The two feet of the front of the ladder were on a towel on the bathroom floor and as she's got onto the third step of the ladder it has slipped and given way and she's fallen. She's now seriously injured and thankfully the client was not injured at all. There was a 35-week pregnant woman in a bathtub and thank goodness that they're both going to be okay. But I mean could you have imagined if that had gone slightly different? God forbid anything like this does happen to anyone else. You need to be careful, you need to make sure that the equipment that you are using in your studio is up-to-date, is current, you are reading the manufacturer's instructions on how to use that equipment properly and it has been certified by the safety standards in your country. I can't emphasize that enough. There was also a light involved. If the light had been knocked and had fallen into the water that's plugged into a power socket, there are extreme dangers and this is deadly serious and I can't emphasize that enough. So thank God they are both okay but these accidents do happen and we need to communicate with each other. We need to share this information so that it doesn't continue to happen. Safety is paramount in everything that we do. Every time I go into a shoot, every time I try to do a more complex set-up, I identify all the possible dangers and risks and go about preventing them from happening. We're gonna bring in a little model in a moment now that we've talked about all of that serious stuff, but I'm just so passionate about this because I don't want this to happen to anyone and it's not just a bad reflection on someone's studio if something serious does go wrong with a client, it's a bad reflection on our entire industry and there are certain things that are becoming very popular like photographing babies and mothers in water, in milk baths and we need to make sure that we're identifying all of the possible dangers and risks when we're doing that. The first set-up that we're gonna do this morning is the potato sack pose which has been commonly called that. It's so popular at the moment, everybody seems to be doing it. I've actually introduced it into my workflow as a bit of a backup plan for when babies are awake or sort of fussing at the beginning of the session because I know that I can swaddle them. I know that I can make them comfortable and make them feel safe and content but when you're doing that you need to make sure that there are a lot of other things that you need to be conscious of whilst you are wrapping them. Number one, when you are putting multiple layers around a baby you have to make sure that they're not overheated. I've mentioned in one of my previous segments that when I'm doing this I make sure that the temperature of my studio is down lower. It's around like 26 degrees Celsius which is about 75 I think Fahrenheit, don't quote me on that conversion, but bringing that temperature down and looking for certain signs of overheating babies like the skin coloration, how it changes, the sweating, the perspiration, things like that and just that uncomfortableness. Number two, when you are wrapping a baby in a pose like this you have to make sure that it's not too tight. I've been asked multiple times, "How tight do you wrap them?" I like to be able to gauge it so that I can put my two fingers down inside the wrap and give it a good pull so that there's enough room in there for the baby to kind of have a little bit of movement but it's not going to add any compression to their chest. It's not going go restrict their air flow whatsoever and they need to be able to breathe comfortably. Number three, you have to be careful of the weight of the baby's head. I've seen lots of videos, I've seen lots of photos, pull-back shots of babies not supported. It's not on, I don't care if you know how to wrap a baby safely. I don't care if you think that that baby is supported safely. That baby can move at any time and the weight of their head on their hands and on other parts of their body can cause problems, it can injure them. The other thing I wanna mention is that when we're doing that and there are some people out there who've been doing this for a long time and they are teaching their way on how to do it. There are a lot of photographers in this industry who are watching, who are looking, who can't necessarily afford the right mentoring, who don't understand what's involved in that wrapping process or in how to support that baby but they will see a baby standing there alone without any assistance and think that they can do it themselves without knowing how to do it properly. That's the most important aspect of that in terms of wrapping and then there's our clients. How are we making them feel when we leave their baby unsupported? So much going through my mind right now in terms of what I want to share with everyone and I don't want to forget anything but when we bring out our little model in, I've actually been informed that they have siblings and they are gorgeous little boys. So we're gonna go and attempt another sibling shot because when I bring in, when I introduce this pose into my work flow as a backup, I wanna try and get the most out of it. If a baby's awake I will wrap them and if there's siblings I'll use this same wrap and pose the baby with the siblings wrapped getting ready for that potato sack pose. I know that I'm gonna get multiple set-ups. I can wrap the baby, place it with the siblings. I can place the baby on the background, get a beautiful headshot, we can go into the potato sack shot and then we can use a crate and we can get great variety in our galleries just from one simple wrapping technique but it's important that we know how to do it. These are unedited files, just popped up onto the slide so you can see that these are shots that I've taken in an everyday session. I'm starting to fill my gallery with once what was an awake baby. It's not long that they start to fall into that beautiful soft sleep. If they might be wriggling around and a little uncomfortable or fussing and you are trying to wrap them it's gonna make it difficult to get their arms and legs in place so just remember to be calm, use slow movements and not overstimulate them too much in that process of wrapping them so that they do settle down into that nice comfortable sleep. So when we bring our models in we're gonna see how our toddlers go. They are one and a half and I think four, from memory and they're little boys so we'll see how they go, how comfortable they are. I've done a little improvising 'cause yesterday we used our posing bag and we had two older siblings and today we've got two younger ones but I've actually found some great cushions here at the Creative Live Studio that we're gonna use and to shoot down on and lay those little babies down, make them nice and comfortable and make it really really safe and secure at the same time.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Baby Safety and Posing for Newborn Photographers Bonus Packet
Baby Safety and Posing Slides
Potato Sack and Frog Pose Editing Videos - Large 1.1 GB download

Ratings and Reviews

Lindsey Wall

Kelly Brown is one of my favorite teachers not just in newborn photography but photography and learning in general. Her patience is inspiring and she makes this job seem so much more enjoyable and installs passion in you to improve and be the best you can be! Kelly is an expert at what she does and is great at communicating how she does it. I have taken the Creative live baby bootcamp class which is actually what got me to want to go into newborn photography! Ive also purchased a few of her newborn posing courses and I love them all. I literally own my new blossoming little career to Kelly! I love creative live, I have just learned so much from these courses. They are constantly giving out new classes that are so affordable and such amazing resources for any photographer or professional. I am so lucky to have discovered them and Kelly Brown. Thank you Kelly and creative live!

Alice T.

This is an amazing class! Kelly Brown offers a wealth of information that is comprehensive and straightforward. She has such a soothing voice and such great patience that it translates into becoming a great presenter and instructor. Her methodology both in business and her art are sensible and desirable which has taken me up significantly. She has helped me in understanding this business and how to become successful while doing what I love in a profitable and safe manner for both my clients and myself!


Kelly is such a fantastic instructor! This class is wonderful for both beginners & intermediate newborn photographers to improve their posing and keep safety number one. Not only does Kelly teach you step by step how to safely pose, she also explains why she poses the way she does - which is so important. This class is a great resource to watch over and over again until we are all masters!

Student Work