Jun 14, 2010  •  In Baby, Parenting, Personal, Photography

Are Posed Infant Photos Creepy?

I’m sure I’ll get bashed for saying this, but I always found Anne Geddes photos a bit creepy.

I can certainly see the appeal. Babies! In cute poses! With adorable props! What’s not to like?

However, I always found them distasteful. And from a quick Google search, I have discovered that I am not alone in this viewpoint. I still can’t pinpoint the exact reason for my discomfort when looking at these photos. Perhaps a reader can shed some light?

At the same time, I certainly have nothing against people who like Anne Geddes’ work. After all, beauty — and art — is in the eye of the beholder.


Andy and Angela from “The Office” pose Jan’s baby for an Anne Geddes-inspired picture

Although the Anne Geddes heyday has passed with the 90s, I was reminded of these photos while talking with a friend last week.

“Are you going to take maternity photos?” she asked.

“I know hiring a professional photographer to take maternity photos is all the rage right now, but I personally would rather spend the money on things for the baby. If I really want photos, I can just ask J to take them,” I replied. After all, J is turning out to be quite the photographer — he even gets regular “assignments” from a local park!

“What about a professional photo shoot for right after the baby is born?”

“The same. We can just take the pictures ourselves.”

“Okay, good, because I think those posed baby pictures are creepy. Not all of them, but the ones where it’s obvious that the baby is posed, or using props that are not an everyday part of the baby’s life.

Now, that was unexpected! While I think Anne Geddes photos are a bit weird, I personally don’t have a problem with the types of newborn photo shoots that are popular with so many new parents these days.

Curious to see if my friend was a lone voice in the crowd, I showed J some photos from a popular newborn photographer.

“Yep! Definitely creepy!” he pronounced. “When we take pictures of our baby, we’ll most certainly not do anything like that.”

I then showed the photos to my parents, who agreed with J.

“Why would you leave your baby naked and cold and uncomfortable like that just for some pretty pictures?” they asked. “And some of those poses and props look downright dangerous!

What do you think? Are posed newborn photos creepy?

19 Responses to “Are Posed Infant Photos Creepy?”

  1. Ooh, I’m a little in between. I also find Anne Geddes creepy, just like I don’t like seeing animals dressed up in human clothes or with other props. I recently saw some dogs dyed to look like tigers and pandas. Kind of cute, but more disturbing!

    Depending on the cost, though, I might like to get some professional photos done. If I had an alternative (a friend or husband good with a camera) I might just make do. In your case, it sounds like a great idea. The reason I would want some professional photos is that I want something in between family snapshots and the posed school-day photos. I’m not into props, though, for the kid, but I’d like some nice memories through photos to share with family and keep for myself too.

  2. I don’t like the super posed prop-related photos. But I cherish our newborn photos with all my heart. And if you’ve seen a newborn shoot, you may see things differently. They bring multiple space heaters, lighting, and take such immense care of the little ones that it’s amazing.
    I can’t begin to even imagine how little she was just 3 months ago… so I’m more than happy to have those beautiful photos of her forever.

  3. I am with you!! I am totally weirded out by Ann Geddes photos espeically. I don’t think i’ll have an urge for professional maternity or newborn photos either… bare belly pregnant pics are creepy to me and (like you), we can just take those photos ourselves. we have decent enough gear for it!

  4. I’m on the fence, too. I think some are really great and original and others are just so contrived and, yes, creepy. The naked asleep newborn ones on clouds or a Michelin tire make me look at said photo sideways. However, this is coming from a person who didn’t get engagement shots and avoided too many posed portrait shots at the wedding. But if done in an authentic or interesting way, I guess it’s not too bad.

  5. wait, i wrote that already. forget it. i’ll go back to sleep now.

  6. Ann:

    I think some do go overboard and it can be super creepy. With that said, I wished I had taken newborn photos. But more natural looking ones.

  7. I wasn’t interested in doing the whole Anne Geddes thing when we had our newborn portraits done with my youngest. (I’m a photo hobbyist, and met a bunch of professionals on a photography message board, and we ended up getting my maternity and newborn photos done for free.) I did not like the whole baby hanging in that gauze stuff photo; it just looked uncomfortable. All of our photos were just the baby laying on a rug, or on some towels, or in a large basket with a bunch of blankets. Also a couple of him with his then-1yo sister, and some where I was holding him. A couple were the ones where I’m holding him, but all you can see is my arm. He was naked for several, but he wasn’t cold or uncomfortable. Most of the time he just slept peacefully, though we stopped in the middle so I could nurse him. I thought they all turned out really cute, and not at all creepy! ;)

  8. Vir:

    Hm, I think it depends. Anne Geddes "costume" are a bit much for me personally, but I definitely think taking some pro photos of your little one early on is a good idea. I so wish I had done pro newborn pics a few days after she was born, in retrospect. We had Kel (Eggplant) take some for us around 2 months and I love those photos — K’s already so different now that I’m really glad we captured her professionally at that point. We take tons of photos of her myself too, but our equipment and skill can’t compare to a pro’s. As with weddings, nice pics of these once-in-a-lifetime stages are really priceless.

  9. Posed infant shots aren’t so bad for me.. I mean, some of it can look creepy.. but if they’re toddlers, it’s cuter.. like during Halloween or something, dressed as a skunk or a bear :P

    But I don’t find her shots creepy at all. sometimes she can take it too far, but they’re cute… and they DO grow up, so getting shots of your baby ASAP and lots of them, is something I’d love to have.

  10. And by your baby, I did not mean your baby specifically, but in a general "your" term and I’d love to have newborn pics of my own kids… not yours. :P

    –sigh– you know what I mean. my brain is not used to working …

  11. Lora:

    I’ve always thought the photos of newborns hanging in pantyhose to be a little odd. That can’t be comfortable for the baby.

  12. Cyndi:

    We had both the maternity pics and newborn pics taken(dd was 5 days old) I don’t regret it one bit..

    I had the maternity pics done b/c i am not sure if i will ever get pg again and it took us years to become pg with a healthy baby..i wanted to make sure we had some sort of documentation of it..I cherish those pics of my naked belly and have a few blk and white shots hanging in the nursery..

    same thing for the newborn pics…We cherish DD and i don’t want to miss a moment..Plus, she is only a month old and has changed so much since her pictures!! I couldn’t imagine not having her nb pics! Although, ours aren’t super posed and she isn’t in any costumes..She is naked BUT like a pp indicated out photog came with tons of blankets and a space heater to keep on the baby so she didn’t get too cold..It also helped that her the photog we use comes to our house and took the pics right in our DDs nursery…

    I guess to each his own..

  13. Geek in Heels:

    I personally don’t think anyone who has commented on this post has any "creepy" newborn photos. The ones that I don’t particularly like are the ones that use crazy props, or (seemingly) have the baby in precarious positions. But then again, that’s just my opinion. :-)

    The friend I have referred to on this post, however, holds a much more rigid stance on how babies should look on photos. She also thinks that pregnant bellies should be kept private, and thinks 3D ultrasound pictures look creepy. But that’s her prerogative. Like I said in this post, beauty — and art — are in the eyes of the beholder.

  14. London:

    They are creepy because they treat babies like props. Like objects. And there is something fundamentally wrong with it. Porn objectifies women and Geddes objectifies babies.

    • Corrinne:

      Hear hear, agree entirely with you London

    • Karen:

      Yes, those photos are deeply disturbing and totally senseless. Just look at the poor unhappy babies in clay pots. Anne Geddes is a clever businesswoman a child abuser, a mean hypocrite and downright DISGUSTING!

    • Rosemary:

      I made the same point about objectification online yesterday and the agressive responses from the “lovely mummy” types were disturbing. The nearly newborn was sleeing aked in a box with a woolly red hat surrounded by strawberries. It looked like a jam commercial. Why?

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