Newborn photography is one of the fastest growing markets for photographers. Babies are always being born and excited parents are eager to share their little one’s most memorable moments with the world. Achieving the perfect newborn picture can be daunting with a baby who sleeps 18 hours a day and whose attention span is no longer than three minutes. Learn how to stage a newborn photography session with inexpensive props and literallycapture the photograph of a lifetime.
The explosion in newborn photography has given way to a myriad of Etsy shops, lifestyle blogs and books dedicated to photography props alone. The sale of newborn photography props has become a small industry in and of itself. If you are not in the business of newborn photography why amass a bunch of debt and a bunch of junk in order to create a temporary wonderland. Even if you are a newborn photographer you may want to make as small as an investment as possible as the trends are constantly changing. Where, then, can you find interesting and unique props to photograph a newborn without breaking the bank? The best props are right under your nose. There are endless props scattered throughout a home, and capturing a newborn in his or her own element offers a more personal and authentic photograph than the studio.
1. Stacking with stairs and bedroom furniture
Stacking baby atop several nested boxes or vintage suitcases has become an increasingly popular way to capture a photo. If you do not own vintage luggage or a set of nesting boxes, stairs are suitable props. If your newborn is only a couple of weeks then he or she is probably not rolling over and is more likely to stay put long enough to capture one or two good pictures. If you do not have stairs, emptying a dresser or nightstand can provide the same effects. Simply place baby on a cushy pillow in the top drawer, opening each successive drawer further than the one above. Make sure that the furniture has a solid base because emptying the drawers and pulling them all out at once may cause the furniture to become unstable.
2. Repetitive lines with rails, cribs and blinds
“Who wants a rail in their picture,” you ask? Won’t these props provide a distraction in the line of sight?” The answer is, “ Yes.” Repetitive lines throughout a picture may cause a distraction, but they can also provide an artistic effect. So long as the rails are not the dominant focus and the photographer remains close to subject, repetitive lines can add a dramatic flair. Go ahead! Take a picture from the side of a crib or stairwell.
Pull an ottoman, stool or chair adjacent to a set of blinds during the sun’s peak. Playing around with the ottoman’s position can offer the difference between a good shot and a great shot, depending on the drama of the light. Moderately open the blinds. The blinds may cast a shadow across the newborn, serving as either an advantage or disadvantage, depending on how much of a shadow the light produces. If you want to skip the shadow do not position the chair or stool angled or perpendicular to the window.
Blankets serve a huge and understated purpose whether seen or unseen. Rolling a blanket to place underneath the baby’s body or head is often necessary to prop up a tiny and uncoordinated newborn. Swaddling is and always has been a technique used to keep a baby warm and comforted. It is good for tucking in a baby’s hands, but it is also good for sweet photographs. Blankets of varying textures can and should be readily accessible while photographing the baby.
Sheets – Gone are the days of the baby in the plastic crib shot. Baby photographers stepped it up a notch with their photography skills and they make a racket in the five minutes they come to photograph your newborn during your hospital stay. Their props? Sheets and pillows. Nothing else. The hospital’s white sheets and pillows are simply enough to capture your baby’s first professional picture. Solid white sheets give a clean and professional look but solid colored sheets can be draped over cribs, beds, and chairs for backdrops.
Baskets and buckets are increasingly popular props for newborn photography. There is nothing that says “newborn” like a baby curled up or swaddled in a confined space. Because infants crave tight spaces, baskets are a darling and comfortable prop for a newborn session. The height and depth of the basket or bucket and how baby is positioned will determine what effect you can create. The patterned weave of a basket can also provide texture, especially against a newborn baby’s soft and unblemished skin. You score extra points if baby is asleep.
5. Oversized accessories
Have you seen those pictures of cute baby girls in huge flowered headbands? Yes, some of them are truly over-the-top because they are as large as the baby’s head, but these props add personality and depth. An over-the-top accessory like Daddy’s shoes near or on baby’s feet, or Daddy’s tie or Mommy’s pearls around baby’s neck adds a whimsical touch to newborn photography. Given the size of a newborn baby, use of oversize props can give dimension to photographs by demonstrating the size of the baby relative to the prop. Not to mention that some of the props are simply cute.
At some point, you will be able to quickly spot good shots that already contain natural props and the need for staging beforehand will become unnecessary. These days, people take a majority of photographs with their cellular devices. With this know-how, you will be able to make the most of your camera phone.
If you find that these you could use more advanced tips on staging or you want to take pictures of older children, check out How To Photograph Kids- Naturally