StandInBaby newborn photography training aid newborn photography doll newborn photography safety and handling training tool
My playdate with SIB – StandInBaby TM
Last week I was able to borrow SIB for a day. This is what I wrote at the end of the day…
Today was a very special day. I have been extremely lucky to be able to spend some time with one of the 3 SIB prototypes. There are 2 cream ones, and a tan one. I had a cream one, the tan one was sent to Ana Brandt in California.
In this post I will try to explain why I think SIB is an incredible asset in our industry.
StandInBaby, aka SIB, is amazing. Plain and Simple. There is something fascinating about her. The design is genius, and the build quality is going to be high-end. I have already seen prototypes, but this one was like no other.
Most of you who read this will think, “it’s just a doll”, yes, but it’s a doll like you’ve never seen before.
When I got home, my children where the first ones to prove me that this wasn’t a regular doll. They were all over her, just like they would with a new baby. My eldest was very gentle with her, and my little one kept saying ohhhhh she’s so cute. All they wanted to do is hold her, kiss her, cuddle her.
My first impression holding SIB for the first time is that she truly feels like a real newborn. SIB has the weight of a newborn, and most importantly, the floppiness of one. She seems heavy, but she is a dead weight, so she feels heavier, and also she is a doll, and we are used to holding dolls which are very lightweight.
After several hours with SIB, when I was finished working with her, I felt the same way as when a newborn leaves my studio. The only difference being that with SIB it was a very quick session, I never had to settle her, comfort her, hand her back to mum for a feed, use pee pads, clean up little accidents, or worry about her startling, rolling, having hiccups or sneeze, doing stretches.
And to me this is truly what SIB doesn’t do. But everything else, to me at least, it does, and it surely takes out a lot of the guessing work.
It’s a little bit like when you first learn how to drive. You have to figure out how to drive/operate the car, while at the same time figure out where to position your car on the road, all of that in moving traffic with plenty of other cars around you !
Keeping up with this example, using StandInBaby is like figuring out how to operate the car. Once you are comfortable doing that, then the rest is much easier to focus on. With SIB you can practice practice practice, until you get it just right, and when you have a real life newborn, you know your posing, you know how this newborn articulates, you know how to hold and support this baby so the head, legs and arms don’t go all over the place and you only have to focus on soothing this baby so she settles nicely.
How I wished SIB existed when I first started out in newborn photography !
Every photography has a learning curve and takes a lot of practice, and I see SIB as a way to improve at accelerate speed because SIB don’t ever startle, fuss, wakes. Learning on a real newborn can be really slow and frustrating. We have all experienced dream babies and babies who were taking much longer to settle. But once you’ve used SIB, you know how the real basics, you can practice positioning SIB in your arms while keeping her secure. You can try, fail, try again, fail. You can push your limits which you would never do with a newborn fearing to hurt the baby.
For those who think it is a weird invention, first I think it isn’t an invention, dummies have been used in many industries successfully : crash test dummies, CPR dummies (adult kids and infants). What is new is that never before had a dummy been specifically created for the newborn photography industry.
Since Sandra and David released the news that they had created SIB, I have heard many times “this is a very expensive doll, a basic doll can be used instead, or why do you even need a doll”.
Here’s my 2 cents on why I completely disagree with this : dolls are bendable but are not floppy like newborns are. Most of the parents I meet have no idea the level of technicality that goes behind an advanced pose and that some final images come to life compositing several photographs together.
SIB is really that, a training aid, the first one of its kind, which will greatly improve the safety standards in our industry. If you are a newborn photographer or consider entering the newborn photography industry, I would highly recommend to pledge for one or rent one once they are manufactured. I can guarantee you won’t regret it !
As I am writing this, SIB is still a prototype, and there are only 3 on this planet. Brendon and Sandra are using a kickstart platform (a little bit like gofundme) to raise the funds to make the machinery and then start to manufacture the SIBs. If you want to buy one, you “pledge” for one. If the project is funded your card gets charged at the end of the campaign (around January 8, 2016) and the delivery is expected to be in July 2016. If the project doesn’t get funded your card never gets charged.
There also are $1, $25 and $50 pledges to support the project and help it get funded. Donating $1 is nothing, and spending $25 or $50 is good advertising to support a great cause that is very dear to many newborn photographers in the industry.
To Sandra and Brendon, Merci.
Link to the campaign on Kickstarter website :
StandInBaby facebook group :
Isabelle is the owner and photographer at Isabelle Newborn Photography who specialises in fine-Art newborn imagery.