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Baby Tools Every Newborn Photographer Should Have

You will need some basic tools when you’re setting up your business. These basics are must-haves; however, then there are the extras, which are nice to have but are not necessary when you’re first starting out. Start with the basics and add the extras when you are able to.

Here are the basics:

  • Sensitive baby wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sensitive lotion
  • Paper towels
  • Cloth diapers (I use these mostly for cleaning up messes. They’re soft and warm for the baby’s bottom.)
  • Puck-style beanbag (The SHOOT BABY! ottoman is the best.)
  • Receiving blankets, cut up fabric pieces, or cheap white towels (for use under the blankets to prop up the baby on the beanbag)
  • White noise—an iPhone app
  • Space heater
  • Fabrics and/or blankets—approximately 55x70 inches or two yards
  • 18% gray card—X-Rite ColorChecker Passport or ExpoDisc
  • Reflector or white foam core board
  • Background stand (or you can use chairs to clamp the fabric to)
  • Five clamps (SHOOT BABY! has easy-to-open clamps, or use cheap ones from any home improvement store.)
  • Thick towels (for inserting into buckets and baskets)

You might consider these extras further in your career or try renting them before purchasing:

  • Background stand
  • More blankets and fabrics
  • SHOOT BABY! waterproof pads
  • Seamless paper, floor drops, and backdrops
  • Changing table (for parents, stocked with newborn diapers and wipes)

Additional props might include:

  • Variety of wraps approximately 18-inches wide
  • Hats and headbands
  • Baskets, bowls
  • Flooring, rugs
  • Diaper covers


With newborns, you can use many different types of props. Anything from buckets, baskets, beds, bowls, and so on will do. When you’re choosing a prop, always look for safety first.

Props should be:

  • Free from harmful objects and chemicals
  • Sturdy
  • Not too small
  • Not glass

Click to view larger image

In this photo, the father was sitting next to the baby with his finger holding her head to keep her safe. The father was edited out of the final photograph.

ISO 400, 1/400 sec., f/2, 50mm lens

When planning your sessions, remember to coordinate your props with your fabrics and blankets. I like to keep things simple and not use too many props. A simple hat, lacy scarf, and a coordinating basket are my favorites. Keep the focus on the baby, and make sure you select props that are appropriate for the size of the baby. When you use a basket, place a ten-pound weight in the bottom for stability. In addition, stuff blankets inside the basket for the baby to lie on comfortably.


Click to view larger image

A ten-pound weight is placed in the bucket to keep it from tipping over, and a spotter sits close by for safety.

ISO 400, 1/1250 sec., f/1.8, 50mm lens

Buckets, Baskets, and Bowls

Buckets are great to use as props, and you can find a variety at your local home décor or antique stores. When you’re using buckets, baskets, and bowls as props, make sure they are sturdy and large enough for the baby to fit in. Stuff blankets inside the bucket for comfort. You don’t need to stuff the bucket full, just enough so the baby can sit inside comfortably. I like to use a neck pillow placed in the front of the bucket for the baby’s arms to rest on. Use enough blankets underneath it so that it can rest at least five inches above the bucket. Use small throws, scarves, or the edges of the blanket to drape over the top of the bucket or basket. Knitted 24x24-inch squares work great!

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