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7 Essential Newborn Photography Props to Start Your Collection

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7 Essential Newborn Photography Props to Start Your Collection

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Many people like myself are addicted to props. I get asked many times where I find my newborn photography props and how I choose them. I consider prop shopping a hobby. My favorite places to find unique props include TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Pier 1 Imports, Tuesday Morning, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s, and Thrift stores or antique markets.

Keep it simple! Remember you don’t want to compete with your subject. Newborns are tiny and delicate and they should be the focus of your image not the prop.

1. Wraps: I have several gauze wraps and use them at each newborn session. Wraps are great for starting out a session. In general most newborns love to be wrapped. Many babies don’t like to have their hands and feet free and the wrap gives them some comfort and security. If you have a newborn that is awake wrapped shots are also a great way to get them posed nicely with their eyes open. For those who are not comfortable with having their newborns posed in their birthday suits, wraps are a great alternative to clothing.

newborn wraps

2. Blankets: I am addicted to blankets and fabrics! I love choosing blankets that have texture and that are soft to the touch. I never place a baby on a blanket or fabric that is rough. I also always choose blankets or fabrics that can be washed easily. I wash all of my blankets and fabrics after each use.  I also try to choose textured blankets that will not compete with the baby. Some of my favorite blankets are very simple. My favorite place to shop for blankets is Home Goods, Tuesday Morning and TJ Maxx.

textured blankets

3. Faux Furs: I love faux fur in baskets and crates. Their soft texture can be very comfortable for a baby to sleep on.  They can also be used as flooring and photograph beautifully. There many places online that offer faux fur for sale by the yard. I wash all of my furs after each use and hang them to dry.

faux fur

4. Hats: I am a hat addict! During the beanbag portion of my session I will always photograph a newborn without a hat on first. Once I get the image I usually place a cute hat or a sweet little headband (if it’s a girl) on their head.  I always show what I am about to use to the parents to get their opinion since it is their baby and they are the ones who are going to purchase the images. I use hats that are very soft and stretchy. When using hats I try to use a simple blanket so that the portrait is not too busy. My favorite hat maker is After the Bump.

after the bump

5. Crates: Wooden crates are very versatile. They can be used with a piece of fabric or fur in them and the baby can be posed on their back, in a wrap on their back or on their tummy with their head on their arms. They are usually around $20 each and one of my favorite go to props.

Used in this project and related actions:

 

 

crate

red crate

6. Baskets: There are so many different types of baskets and so many ways to use them. They can be used with fur or fabric and the babies can be placed in them in so many ways.

downward view

different use

Same basket used two different ways. 

7. Wooden boxes and buckets: These are another great way to pose babies with their head on their hands.

yellow bucket

Important things to consider when shopping for props:

Make sure that there are no sharp edges or anything that could be dangerous to a newborn. NEVER place a newborn in anything made of glass. Make sure that the prop does not sit too high off the ground. Be cautious when buying antique items as many of these items may contain lead paint, which can be harmful to newborns.

Important things to remember when posing newborns with props:

NEVER leave a newborn unattended without someone spotting them within arms length. If you are placing a newborn in a bucket or in baskets always make sure that there is a weight in the bottom of it so that they don’t tip over. The weight should weigh more than what the baby weighs.

arms length away

Always make sure that the prop is lined with something very soft and comfortable and that the newborn is NEVER resting on a hard or wooden surface and that their skin is never in direct contact with the prop. Newborn skin is very sensitive.

I always start with the beanbag poses first and then move to the prop shots. I usually only do 1-3 prop set ups per session. I tend to do them last since the newborns are sleeping more soundly at that point. I NEVER place an awake baby in a prop. I also always talk to the parents about which props are their favorites.

Be creative! You don’t have to spend a fortune on props. Some of my favorite props have been free. I have used things such as a real tree stump to a dresser drawer stuffed with faux fur.

tree stump image

Prop shots can be very fun just remember safety first!

Memories by TLC is a fine art portrait studio specializing in newborns, young children and maternity portraits. Website | Facebook

 

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33 Comments

  1. February 10, 2013 at 12:30 am —

    Very informative article, thank you! The yellow airplane photo is gorgeous… makes me want to get into this area of photography!

  2. Gaylee
    February 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm —

    do you wash the popcorn blankets you use? they say dry clean seems like a pain since they should be cleaned right away

  3. January 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm —

    very good photography!

  4. December 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm —

    What kind of reflector are you using?

  5. October 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm —

    I love your work! I plan to focus quite a bit on newborn photography in the slow wedding season, so I’m interested in setting up a basic home studio. Would you mind sharing a list of your studio equipment?

  6. Jen Lucas
    October 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm —

    Lovely photos!
    My favorite is the aviator one. Kudos on matching the plane and the bucket.
    I also agree with you about the fabrics. It makes all the difference. I haven’t really used a lot of faux fur, but I do use a lot of sweater knits and crochets since they’re soft and easy to style.

    Stylishfabric.com has a lot of sweater knits in different patterns and colors. I really recommend them.
    http://stylishfabric.com/knit-fabrics.html
    http://stylishfabric.com/crochet-fabric.html

  7. sarah parson
    September 26, 2012 at 8:41 pm —

    I have my 1st newborn shoot tomorrow. Its a friends week old baby.Thank you for the superb tips. Your photography is just Amazing!

  8. September 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm —

    Love this post- very helpful for upcoming newborn photographers like myself! I must admit I am becoming quite addicted to props and newborn hats!! Building up my own stash at present.

  9. Elicia C.
    August 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm —

    Best information by far!! So very glad I found this website. Love the props and OMG that last photo! My amature photographer question is…how did you accomplish photo #6? What lens did you use? All I have is a 50mm f/1.8. When I look down I don’t get that much in the frame. Thank you for your time and information!!

  10. Kara Glass
    May 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm —

    Where did you get that amazing aviator hat if you don’t mind me asking? I’ve been looking for one exactly like it!

  11. May 23, 2012 at 4:10 am —

    I enjoyed your blog. Your photographs are so amazing! You are such a great photographer. I love your work, they are beautiful. The babies are so cute.

  12. Alice C.
    May 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm —

    Great article!

  13. May 2, 2012 at 1:58 am —

    Such simple ideas but very effective – thank you for this article

  14. Cara
    April 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm —

    Fantastic Tracy!!! So proud of you! Your images are gorgeous and to think, just two years ago we were in “awe” learning from the greats…and now, YOU are the great!! Loveit!!

  15. April 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm —

    Such a lovely article. Newborn photography is such a unique art, and this is a great summary of must-have props. Really helpful! 🙂

  16. April 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm —

    Thank you! I have bought most of my wraps from JD Vintage props as well as on Etsy. As for my crates those have been bought in antique markets but I also believe that JD Vintage props sells them as well.

  17. April 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm —

    Love the article, Tracy! Great job!

  18. April 30, 2012 at 10:27 am —

    What a fantastic article. I’ve never done newborn shots; primarily senior portraits. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas, and photos. I loved it; and will be printing it for future use!

  19. April 30, 2012 at 9:20 am —

    Where do you find the crates?

  20. Holly
    April 30, 2012 at 9:19 am —

    Can I ask where you get your wraps? Do you make your own or purchase them? I have seen them on etsy, but wonder if I could make them for cheaper…. anything to help save money when starting to build up my stash 🙂
    Thanks!!

    • August 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm —

      I have knit stretch wraps 18″ X 60″, they are very stretchy and soft. Use coupon code THANKS60 for 20% off when you buy $60.

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7 Essential Newborn Photography Props to Start Your Collection