Are Fauxtogs Endangering Children?

I’ve seen the kid with Christmas bulb pose a lot that she talks about.

“I am a fellow photographer and former fauxtographer. I love your page and have learned so much from the discussions that take place.  I friend of mine on facebook posted a picture from her friend who is just starting out with her photography business.  I don’t have many complaints about the girls work, though there are probably some harsher critics out there than myself, but this particular picture she posted, while composition was up to par, the content is what disturbed me. The picture is of my friends 1 yr. son wearing a santa hat sitting on a backdrop with a string of lit Christmas lights… now that doesn’t sound bad except the baby has the cord in his hands and appears to be putting one of the lights in his MOUTH!!! Even more disturbing, not one person commented on the safety issue but rather “how adorable” the baby looked.  Here is the link to the “Photographer” on facebook (redacted) My friend has commented on the page (redacted) and her profile picture is the one in questions.  I have also attached it for you guys.  I just thought this might be a great example and topic for child safety as a professional standard. “

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  1. Yeah… eating lights is never good. I used lights as the background of my kids (and one year old niece) christmas shots this year, but they weren’t allowed anywhere near the lights- adults only. Same rule as with the tree. I never quite grasped the whole concept of wrapping your kid up in lights or letting them be near them/touching them anyway.

  2. Oh come on lighten up.

  3. The pictures with little kids playing with a string of lights are all over pinterest as pictures people love and want taken of their kids. Personally I don’t like it, just because I don’t think that strings of lights are very pretty in a pile, or wrapped around a kid. As long as someone is watching the child, I don’t see much wrong with it, I assume we aren’t talking about the glass bulbs. I would try to stop the kid from putting the lights in his mouth, but kids put everything in their mouth. For all we know the parent was the one who wanted this picture taken, since there seems to be a ton that love the look.

  4. Really? My kids huff more lead than that just living in an old house.

    • I hope this doesn’t mean that you don’t do whatever you can to limit the amount they “huff” … you know its your JOB to keep them safe and healthy right?

  5. This is even more troubling in light of recent stories about holiday lights containing lead and other toxic substances.

    It’s kind of a “Here’s Your Sign” type of deal, and there’s a Darwin Award waiting to happen.

    “Yeah, here’s a kid who is so young they are still putting everything in their mouth. Let’s plug in a string of highly toxic lights, contaminated with lead and other poisonous substances. Then we’ll stand back, take pictures, and hope the kid doesn’t electrocute himself before we all get to coo over how totes adorbs the pics are!”

  6. A photographer

    Christmas lights are low voltage these days for this very reason: safety. They post no danger of electrocution even in a child’s mouth.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not the volts that kill, its the amps that kill. And it doesnt take much to kill an adult, let alone a baby. Christmas lights will definitely do it. don’t believe me? Plug a set in, take a bulb out and stick it to your tongue

      • Anonymous

        Okay will do!
        It’s not only getting electrocuted that concerns me but the little glass shards getting stuck in the baby’s mouth if it breaks.

    • Then how was my brother electrocuted? How was it that the tree (and the living room) flashed a couple of times and went dark? And when my mother and I turned around, how was it that most of his lower lip was blackened, shriveled, bloody, and falling off his face? How did he spend the next decade getting surgeries as they slowly pieced his face back together?

      No danger my ass.

      • They did say ‘nowadays’. That’s absolutely horrible, but I think incidents like this have led to stricter safety controls.

        …at least, I hope they have!

  7. Oh please, my parents were around tons of lead as children and gee, whaddya know, they’re both alive and well at 50 and 60. Not sayin’ anyone should eat the stuff on purpose, but the insane freak out is getting old.

  8. It’s not so much the bulbs popping but the amounts of lead in the wiring that has most people worried. Though, like someone said with all the other crap in our lives coated with toxins, this one’s not nearly the worst.

  9. Andreas Steen

    You all are worried about lead and electricity, what about good taste? taste is being sacrificed on the altar of corny terribad holliday baby images! Taste is getting baby poisoning, christmas-light poisoning and lead poisoning all at once!

  10. CNN just published a study about lead levels in holiday lights. In some cases the levels are 30x more than safe levels and we all know there really isn’t a safe amount. Any is bad. I was truly shocked to find that almost all of them have high amounts of lead. So while wrapping your child with electric wires may seem like a good idea (heavy sarcasm) it’s worse than anyone could imagine. Worth saying something to her to be sure.

  11. No one has a picture to show so I can figure out how histrionic the OP is?

  12. I see snapknot has either high-jacked your site with their ad for their flea market photography services or you’ve made a terrible mistake in allowing them to be part of your site. Pay for play in a flea market style environment is their game. Look at how many photogs advertising on their site have almost zero experience and the ridiculous rates they are charging. If you pony up enough money you too can be listed with the other 30,000+ as they undercut your work, devalue your work and continue to drive the “good guys” out of business.
    If the “good guys” want to send a message pull your ad if you’re on their site and if you’re not don’t fall for paying to be ranked. These type of sites are one of many things that is wrong with the industry. The type of work you make fun of here is littered throughout snapknot and if you don’t believe me pour a cup of coffee and count how many shots you find there that belong on this site.
    That is if you can stop laughing at the terrible images and what many of them are charging!

    • You Are Not a Photog

      We don’t pick the ads served on the site. I do think we can opt out of some campaigns, something I’ll look into.

      • SnapKnot Member

        as someone who advertises on SnapKnot, i’ll attest to the fact it’s not all crap. is there enough to go around? sure, but there’s plenty of the same garbage listed on The Knot. there’s no verification process for talent on most wedding vendor listing sites; it’s all about money.

        put down the 2 ft. wide brush, please.

      • No, it’s not all crap, but much of it is and if you have been in the biz for more than a year or two then your work sitting next to their no experience and $5 price tags make you look less capable and your work less valued. Like it or not that is a fact now days. You can deny all you wish to make yourself feel better, but anytime you pay to be ranked you’re hurting yourself and you’re hurting the industry. As for The Knot, they aren’t much better. I spent one year wasting money on them years ago and would never consider it again. Some of THE worst brides I have ever seen troll that site and think they know it all, but their kool-aid budgets prove otherwise.

        And it’s a 3 ft. wide brush that’s trying to save your chance at actually making it as a photographer instead of spending what you make to attend flea market sales. 😉

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for clearing up the issue of no image. Can’t wait to see it. Anybody have an URL?

  13. Lead or no lead, low voltage or high…. IT’S GLASS. Has no one thought of this?

    • At first I thought it would be an image of a scantly clad woman wrapped in Christmas lights. All I can say is WOW very creative and says a lot!

      This would make a great series, kudos to the photographer.

  14. I heard a horror story of a local fauxtog who was shooting a small child that was a little too strong for a glass bulb and it broke in the child’s hand! Even when I was first starting out, I knew to use the plastic non breakable ones! Common sense people!

  15. Seriously, enough. The sterilization of kids has gone too far. You know how you learn the a stove is hot? You touch it, and it *$&%@/$& hurts! No mistakes, no lessons learned. Relax already.

    • it’s not really learning when you’re forced to do it or are made to do it because you don’t know better. did your parents encourage you touch the stove to learn? hopefully not.

    • Sure! I’m sure parents all around are thinking “Oh my god, it will be ok if my kid downs a whole bottle of bleach!”. Lesson learned there right?

    • Yeah but you don’t go and deliberately put the kids hand on a hot stove do you? You say don’t touch, it’s hot!

    • Oh I hope you never have kids…

      your logic is correct in SOME cases but should never be generalized as you just did. If you child is standing on a stool 6 inches above the ground and you keep telling them no, and they don’t listen then yeah, let the lesson happen, they will be scared when they fall but if they were hurt at all, it would feel better in 30 seconds. But to watch your child as he tries to get the fork in the light socket, thats NOT ok, watching your child go to touch a hot stove, also NOT ok. If the lights are dangerous, and you really want the shot, first off, you need to make sure they do not put it in their mouth, not only is it poisonous, but if they bite into it, obviously the results wouldn’t be great, and yeah, chances are they couldn’t bite through it, buy why risk it? You also need to make sure you are cleaning their hands after so they don’t hold onto them and then put their hands in their mouth ect. I am sure someone somewhere sells lights without led, since there are other countries who care a little bit more about not poisoning our children then america, so I would invest on buying from another country and investing in an adapter for the plugs if they are different.

  16. Why dont you LIGHTEN UP.

  17. I recently discovered someone that thought it was a good idea to put a baby in a stocking literally hanging from the wall. After mentioning something the mom responded… “Everything was done safely; the strength of both the stocking and the wall hanging was tested first and there was a parent beneath him and one beside him as well. We aren’t stupid.” *sigh*

  18. I have seen such images from VERY GOOD photographers. There quality is not the issue at all. But yes, I agree. A baby with lights in the mouth scares me! For a starters, all the bulbs I know of are GLASS! And break easily too, Plus the lead issue (although I don’t think a few moments will be an issue) They run on electricity and they are cords, you don’t let babies play with cords!

    I feel MUCH the same about those glass jars filled with lollies that have a newborn shoved inside. That totally FREAKS me out! Glass???? I mean, can’t you get that amazing, gorgeous image without using newborns mixed with glass??

  19. Not to mention things like this but putting babies in glass vases, trees, and anything else that a baby could potentially be harmed!! Recently I have seen it just about everyday!

  20. Why can’t people just let beautiful babies be beautiful? Oh, that’s right, they’re fauxtogs, they can’t get natural beauty out of anything, and what’s worse, they don’t care to learn how…

  21. I specialize in newborns and what most people who are new dont realize is many of these shots are composed. Babies are not really handing from tree branches or planked on buckets. I saw on on FB and the baby was in a knot stocking hanging from the center of the branch in a field. I know by the stretch of the stocking at maximum weight and the babies face crunched together no one was holding anything. Makes me cringe.

    When I started newborns I researched articles for weeks on how its done properly and even dropped $3000 to go directly to Kelly Rydens workshop (who invented this for the most part). Its frightens me how many people see a photo and do not realize what goes into it with newborns and just start propping tree limbs etc….

    • Anonymous

      I agree that people shouldn’t be taking stupid risks like hanging babies from trees, but surely if the aspirational shots from this particular field are done well and look as though babies are propped up against XYZ, can you really criticise fauxtogs for not realising they’re comped? Perhaps the people leading the field should stop making it LOOK as though babies are in all manner of random situations, then the fauxtogs wouldn’t try to copy it! I mean, what is with putting babies in buckets anyway??

      • I use tree branch to hang a hammock, but there’s a beanbag under bub plus parents hands.
        But I STATE this one each of these shots and have also shown my before & after shots to show that bub’s is not actually hanging. I do this to hopefully prevent just ONE fauxtographer from imitating the shot without those safety practices in place.

    • What’s worse is the tizzy people get into if you tell them or their favorite fauxtog that their pose is dangerous. You wouldn’t believe all the comments of “lighten up” and “you’re just jealous because you didn’t think of it first.” There’s a specific fauxtog who constantly puts babies in glass jars and put on her FB page:
      “For sometime now I have been getting emails re: the candy jar pose that we do. People have called me irresponsible, they have said I’m putting the baby’s life in danger and that it is unsafe etc…I understand your concern but please refrain from sharing your opinion with me as I did not ask for it.”
      All of her fans then proceed to say how people are just jealous and that she’s “really good with babies” so obviously it makes the pose safer. I don’t think in a situation like this I would even go by parents request. I’m not willing to sacrifice newborn safety for “cute.”

  22. I have had a few parents hand the lights to their children to hold while we were shoooting in their homes. Sometimes this is a touchy subject; the parent wants the picture, you are in their home, thy are right there handing it to their child. I mean, it’s not like you suggested it – they did. I really don’t think it’s a big deal quite hreonestly – if the parent likes it and they are aware of any risk then fine. It’s kind of silly to comment os harshly when none of us know the situation or were at the shoot. People on this site can get pretty nutty about their comments sometimes. “lighten up!”

  23. Please! Lighten up! Go back to Go and look at the comments and find the image that has been posted for you. Then you’ll see the baby is in no danger. Just nomming a string of wooden beads that look like tree decorations.

  24. The blue LED light can hurt the retinas in your eyes — think about that when LOOKING at a string of lights.

  25. That’s just like the balloon issue. If I see one more first birthday pic with a kid chewing on a balloon I’m going to scream. That is sooooo dangerous. It only takes a second and the kid would be a goner

  26. I actually did this shot with my son. I had my sister take the picture that I set up, turned off all the lights except for the christmas lights and let him have fun. What you don’t see is that I am right next to him and there are a few shots with my hand in the picture pushing the lights back down every time he tries to bring them to his mouth.
    It isn’t as dangerous of a shot as you would think, as long as both photographer and parent are hyper-vigilant.

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