“1.) If the angle of your photograph is bad, the baby can get lost in the picture.
When it comes to producing great newborn photography images, creative newborn photography props and ideas can be the difference between an amateur photo and a high-quality, professional photo.
“You don’t want wrinkles in your background, so you’ll need a background stand or frame to clip your blankets to. I have a PVC pipe frame that’s approximately 4-feet square. You can buy them online, or make your own!” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
“I recently posted a photo of a really pretty garland posed around a newborn. Because my client had purchased the garland from a florist, I didn’t have it in-studio, and I had to let my clients know it wasn’t an available prop!” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
Finally, you can have the baby resting their head on their hands, extending out of the crate.
Before gathering up her camera, photography props, and an adorable newborn to photograph, Meggan took stock of her lighting situation.
2. Wraps, Blankets, Bowls, Rompers and Swaddles as Newborn Photography Props
Her nearly-10-year-old photography business, Truly You Photos, works with humans of all ages, but newborns are by far her favorite subjects!
…You can also turn the crate on its side and position the baby inside or on top of the crate in the ‘butt-up’ position.
If you’ve got the travel bug, you might want to consider incorporating luggage, books, and other elements of travel. For this image, Pye’s wife used to live in Paris and it holds a special place in her heart. This is why we incorporated Parisian elements into this image below. We cover the set up, lighting, posing, post production for this image in our Newborn Photography Workshop.
In contrast, nude newborn baby photos require 1) placing the baby’s legs in the perfect position, 2) photographing from creative angles, or 3) or 3 cropping off certain parts of the newborn image. For information on how to swaddle, where to buy cute, safe, and unique props and outfits, check out our Newborn Photography Workshop.
Eager to learn, Meggan made workshops a priority as she built her newborn photography business. As she refined her foundational techniques, her newborn photography business grew, and she found herself incorporating fresh methods, guidelines, and photography props.
“Everyone asks me how many kids I have, and it’s such a compliment. It means my clients think I look comfortable with their babies – and I am!” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
For more info on using Lightroom and Photoshop for Newborn Photography, be sure to check out our Workshop.
Use your newborn photography props to enhance the photograph, not dominate it! Make sure the newborn is comfortable and well-lit before you worry about the props.
Meggan recommends a vinyl-covered bean bag because babies may spit up (or let loose other bodily fluids!) on your bean bag. Vinyl covers are easy to wipe down and sanitize. Overlay the vinyl with a soft, washable blanket so the bean bag is cozy against the baby’s skin.
You can fluff fabric or fur inside, lay the baby in it, and photograph the crate from above the scene…
Photographer Meggan Whittsit doesn’t have children of her own (“Yet!” she’s quick to clarify), but she snuggles a new precious baby almost every day.
Afterall, you could have all of the best camera gear, lighting gear, and even photographic knowledge in the world but still end up with boring, unoriginal newborn photography. On the other hand, you could be a beginner and get great newborn photography imagery with some creativity, attention to detail and planning. The following article will walk you through a few Newborn Photography Props and Ideas to get you started.
If tiny babies in cutsie-poo poses make your heart go pitter-patter, these newborn photography props, techniques, and tips, will melt your sappy soul! (Photos and quotes contributed by: MEGGAN WHITSITT, TRULY YOU PHOTOS)
Hats can make great newborn photo props. You can color match with the background and the overall scene, all while keeping the baby nice and warm with a soft beanie or cute hat. The baby hat and diaper cover combination was purchased here on Beautiful Photo Props (one of our favorite stores for newborn props).
About a week before each session, reach out to your clients to address any last-minute questions. In particular, you’ll want to be sure their hearts aren’t set on a prop you don’t actually have in your studio stash!
Incorporating the parents into the newborn photography experience is a wonderful way to build rapport and keep them connected to their baby throughout the session:
“Purchase a sturdy, wooden crate! I see them in antique stores all the time. Mine was the first newborn photography prop I purchased, and I use it ALL the time. It’s so versatile!
Now, after years of on-the-job learning and real-world experience, Meggan sees the mistakes newer photographers tend to make most:
Please see our Newborn Photography Workshop for more ideas for props and poses for newborns. We even include a full set of newborn presets to take your baby photography to the next level.
This DIY tutorial teaches you how to make your own backdrop stand with PVC pipe! How Do You Achieve Those Crazy Poses?
Meggan employs an assistant to help ensure safety at all times – and even gets the parents involved when it feels right!
“Your focus should always be on the baby, first and foremost. The photography prop is secondary. Instead of photographing straight at the baby, photograph from above, angling down toward the newborn. It can make a huge difference!” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
The following images were sent to us courtesy of Bree Franklin Photography. Her creative newborn photos below are centered around the concept of music. Notice how she puts safety first in her imagery and uses the technique of compositing images to achieve her final vision.
“If you don’t have an assistant, don’t hesitate to ask one of the parents to sit by the baby as a spotter. They will be happy to assist when it means safety for their little one.” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
Practice, practice, practice! The more comfortable you are with your tiny clients, the more quickly you’ll be able to create (and recreate) the poses you’ll become known for. She also suggests these methods…
2.) If the baby isn’t positioned correctly, they’ll look uncomfortable and awkward in the photo.”
The good thing is cute baskets and bowls can be purchased at almost any craft store for very low prices. Below are a couple examples of using baskets as a newborn photography prop.
3. Baskets and Bowls Baskets and Bowls are cute photo props because they give the viewer perspective on just how tiny the newborn is. It’s this short time period in their lives that parents of newborns will want to remember forever.
All items in the images above can be purchased at Beautiful Photo Props.
While all-natural images are wonderful and admirable, there’s nothing wrong with choosing Photoshop over a floppy head if it means prioritizing the baby’s safety!
Meggan’s advice for consistently creating adorable baby photos?
Wraps, Blankets, Rompers, Bowls and Swaddles help create colorful and cute newborn photography imagery. These are particularly useful because they allow you to cover the newborn’s private parts, skin discoloration, or rashes easily and quickly. With diaper covers, you can simply leave the diaper on, making for a much easier and cleaner shoot.
“A lot of my prop-based photographs are composites! Instead of letting the baby’s head tip over onto their shoulder, I’ll have my assistant hold their head up, and I’ll Photoshop her hands out later.” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
The crate is also a great prop for photographing a baby with siblings!” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
Safety is the most important element of any newborn photography session. Babies are heartier than they appear, but they’re still delicate little folks, and photographers must be sensitive to their soft bones and fragile skin.
“Through my early-learning workshops, I explored different newborn photography approaches. Some photographers photographed in their clients’ homes; others had studios – either using strobes and artificial light, or relying only on natural light. I decided I needed to learn to use artificial light, because I couldn’t always rely on big windows and beautiful daylight for all my photographs.” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
Check out these awesome image below by Ten Toes Photography and Gina Raw Miller Photography.
Fall in love with Meggan’s favorite prop shots on Instagram: #trulyyoupropshot Prep Your Prop Ideas Ahead of Time
Maybe a background stand doesn’t seem like a newborn photography prop; but it supports one of your most important props – your backdrop! With newborns, the backdrop is often a blanket or a fur, and a background stand or frame is the perfect solution for preventing wrinkles and providing a clean swoop from floor to wall.
Okay … now these are creative! Take a look at these custom superhero outfits for newborns by Goodger Photography (Images of Love). Besides being adorable they are incredibly unique and surprisingly affordable over on Etsy.
Meggan maintains her own thoughtfully-curated collection of newborn photography props that her clients can use! With these props featured heavily in her portfolio, Meggan can invite clients to preview her prop selection before they arrive for their photographs.
“If you’re posing newborns, you need a bean bag! The bean bag I have is flat on the bottom and top. Search online: ‘newborn posing bean bags.’ It’s important that the bean bag is really full, and flat on top. The bean bag should support the baby without engulfing them.” – Meggan Whitsitt
Don’t hesitate to infuse your own personality into your images, and invite your clients to do the same! As you express your own creative voice, your brand will form a life of its own, and your clients will connect with you more deeply than ever.
Over time, you’ll certainly discover your own favorite props. But some props are too obvious not to own! These tried-and-true newborn photography props have served Meggan well for years, along with many other newborn photography pros!
“Props bring a fun and interesting look to your client galleries. I always encourage my clients to choose at least one or two props from my stash to accent their bean bag posing shots.” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
Share YOUR prop inspiration in the comments! You’ll TOTALLY Like…
For families looking for this style of newborn photography, there’s truly no substitute. And they’ll happily invest if it means getting the photos they want of their little one!
“I love it when clients bring sentimental items from home that they want incorporated in to their baby’s session. I’ll pose the baby in a prop then placing the sentimental item(s) around the prop. This keeps the focus on the baby, while enabling me to include my client’s items.” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
Meggan’s focus on creative newborn photography props has solidified her reputation and earned her a loyal client following!
Hanging Stork sacks play on the old story of the stork bringing the baby into the world. These sacks can make for very cute newborn photo props, but be sure to use proper safety for your baby. Make sure you realize that most of these newborn photos are composites, and they should be a combination of multiple photographs. See the newborn images below for an example, courtesy of Amanda Rachael Photography of Bella Bun®.
If you like a particular holiday or if it just happens to be that time of the year, you can find a lot of holiday outfits and props to fit any scene for your newborn photography. You can find their props for sale over on Etsy.
The following info is derived from our Newborn Photography Workshop
If you’re looking to think outside of the box, consider some of your favorite hobbies. If you guys have a favorite movie or show, consider incorporating elements of that movie or show in your newborn photography. The more you customize your newborn props to fit your personality, the more meaning these images will have for you and your family in the long run. Take a look at this awesome newborn photo below by Emma June Photography
Meggan understood that her lighting style would be as much a part of her brand as her logo. She was determined to develop a consistent lighting “voice” that would enable her to deliver brand-recognizable images and develop steady word-of-mouth marketing.
The best newborn photography props will always be items loaded with sentiment, humor, and meaning – both to the family and to you, the photographer!
Hammocks are cute photo props that also must be executed with safety first. See the image below and the use of the Bella Bun to safely support the newborn baby.
“When you’re considering a prop, think about the different ways you can place your baby clients in or on the prop. Place textured fabric or faux fur underneath the prop to add color or dimension!” – Meggan Whitsitt, Truly You Photos
This comprehensive educational DVD teaches planning, safety, shooting, lighting, and post production and everything there is to know about Newborn and Baby Photography.