Equipping your studio with the essential photo props for newborn photography ensures that you have everything you need to get your new photography business off the ground successfully.
Props are a critical component of newborn photography. Just one reason parents hire a professional photographer for their newborn son or daughter’s first photos is because newborn photographers offer a variety of props. Parents don’t necessarily want to invest in a ton of their own props.
However, it’s important not to blow your entire budget on every prop you’ve ever wanted. To get started, focus on essential photo props for newborn photography. Clients understand that you’re starting out and as such, don’t expect to have access to dozens and dozens of props. As you build up clients, you’ll have more funds to grow your prop collection. You’ll also have a better understanding of the props that work best for your business and a better sense for your newborn photography style. This will enable you to make smarter purchasing decisions for future items than you would have if you’d tried to buy everything right from the start.
The following list covers the essential photo props for newborn photography that are worth investing in right away to get your newborn photography business up and running.
Wraps and blankets are key for newborn photography. You’ll use at least one or two wraps and blankets at every single newborn session. First, I highly recommend picking up a few gauze/cheesecloth-style wraps. Thin wraps made of a gauzy or cheesecloth type material have become the staple for newborn photography. It’s easy to style them in over a dozen different ways, and the material adds just the right amount of visual interest to your compositions.
Once you’ve chosen your gauze wraps, most likely you’ll want a few thicker blankets as well. Many newborn prop sellers offer “posing fabric,” in varying sizes that can serve multiple functions in newborn shoots. Posing fabric tends to be thicker and larger than gauze wraps. It works well for covering a beanbag, creating texture against a plain backdrop, or simply adding more layers on hard furniture and other props, such as baskets. There are so many great options for posing fabrics. Don’t feel limited to “posing fabric” listings. Lots of types of blankets work well for newborn photography.
Once you’ve equipped your studio with a small selection of wraps and blankets, pick up a couple of backdrops. With a set of wraps and backdrops, you’ll be able to start creating a solid rotation of go-to poses and color/pattern combinations, even with very little else in your studio.
For newborn photography sessions, backgrounds in neutral shades, other solid not overly bright colors, and subtle patterns are ideal. You always want the focus of your images to be on the babies and their adorable features and poses. Vivid colors and big patterns tend to distract from the subjects.
5′ x 7′ is an ideal size for newborn photography backdrops. Depending on your photography studio needs, you may wish to purchase larger backdrops that you can use for kids and families as well. You can always use larger backdrops for newborn shoots. Don’t go smaller than 5′ x 7′ as you’ll have trouble keeping the edges of the backdrop out of the frame.
Most newborn photographers use vinyl backdrops almost exclusively. Vinyl is very durable and easy to clean. It has a simple versatile finish that allows it to transform into virtually any aesthetic. Unless you’re looking at it really close up, you’ll never be able to tell that the surface is vinyl as opposed to dark wood planks, white bricks, etc. Photo backdrops are also available in fabric and paper.
My personal favorite Etsy shop for vinyl photography backdrops is InkAndElm. They offer an amazing selection with almost every pattern available in a range of sizes. I am also crazy about BubblegumBackdrops, especially for newborn and kid patterns. I’ve linked just a few of my favorite BubblegumBackdrops prints that I think are so adorable for newborns.
Numerous newborn photographers love to use beanbags for their photo sessions. Beanbags are an easy, affordable way to elevate newborns for easier shooting while still keeping babies safe and extremely comfortable. Newborn beanbags come in neutral colors, which offer a perfect base for endless photo compositions. You can also cover beanbags with posing fabrics and blankets and add little accessories to transform them completely for different clients.
PoseBaby Pro offers two newborn beanbag sizes, which are as follows:
- Standard size. The PoseBaby Pro standard size beanbag is 40″ in diameter and 12″ tall, which is ideal for a full-time, permanent professional studio set-up.
- Travel Size. The Pose BabyPro travel size beanbag is 32″ in diameter and 10″ tall, which is ideal for on the go newborn sessions at clients’ homes and outdoor locations.
Please note: the above listings for newborn photography bean bags DO NOT include the beanbag filling. You must purchase bean bag filler separately.
A set of photo posing beans allows you to create adorable newborn poses with ease. Most sets, including the one I’m linking here, have five beans, which is an ample range of sizes to create every newborn pose imaginable.
Some newborn photographers opt for a newborn donut with posing beans instead of a larger traditional beanbag prop. A donut is a nice option because it’s smaller and has sides, which can be used for propping baby heads, arms, and feet without creating the entire prop from scratch with beans. Donut props come pre-stuffed and don’t require separate filler.
Bowls are another extremely popular newborn photography prop for nesting babies and creating adorable poses for them. Similar to a beanbag, you can transform a single bowl for numerous newborn sessions with different blankets, wraps, and accessories. If you invest in a plain wood bowl, you can choose to paint or stain it if the aesthetic doesn’t quite work for your photography style. Most newborn prop bowls are made of wood and are round or heart-shaped. You’ll also find square, star-shaped, oval, and rectangle boxes, which serve the same purpose.
When choosing bowls for newborn photography, always look for high-quality pieces that are approximately 15″ or 16″ in diameter, which will fit a newborn comfortably. Choose bowls or boxes with flat bottoms that pose minimal risk of tipping.
I’m listing the best three newborn bowl props available on Amazon. I’m featuring just a tiny selection of the bowl props available on Etsy. I encourage you to do your own “newborn prop bowl” search for additional purchase options.
Newborn prop hats are about the most adorable thing ever and add such a cute element to any newborn shoot. A hat adds the perfect finishing touch to any outfit or makes a great standalone prop. For newborn photography, it’s only fitting that hats go beyond their functional purpose and add a funny, nerdy, sweet, etc. touch to a composition.
I’m linking hat only listings here. You’ll find lots of hats available in sets with wraps or outfits, which is fun, too.
Similarly, a headband is an easy, low-budget way to add a little texture or pop of color to a newborn photo composition. While you can coordinate headbands with outfits, in many instances, you can use a headband for a newborn in a simple gauze wrap or blanket.
There are a wealth of floral headbands on Amazon and Etsy. You’ll have no problem finding the very popular turban-style headbands as well. I also love headbands with the tiniest details, such as lace or a few very small flower buds, for newborn shoots. A little goes a long way with newborns and keeps the focus on their sweet features.
Once you have a small selection of hats and headbands available for your newborn photography clients, I would think about adding a handful of outfits as well. Simple classic pieces, such as overalls, tutus, and long flowing pants, will give you the most bang for your buck. Over time, as you hone your style and determine what will work best for your client base, you can invest in most specialized outfits, such as novelty outfits for specific holidays or interests (i.e., fishing, medicine).
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