As a newborn photographer I use a lot of technical gear. I have a camera, lenses, strobe lights, newborn posing table, props, and a ton of backdrops and wraps. That all goes without saying. But there are quite a few other items I use for almost every newborn session that are just as important!
Over the last five years of photographing newborns, I think I have learned a lot about what works and what does not work for me. Every newborn photographer does things a little differently, but I wanted to make a list of my top 10 favorite newborn tools. Some of these are specific to photographers, but several of these things I wish I had when my own kids were babies!
I know, this seems like a no-brainer. But as a newborn photographer it is at the top of my list because your baby’s health and safety is my number one priority. I am diligent about washing my hands before you arrive, and using sanitizer generously throughout a newborn session. My personal favorite is a scent called “Sunshine & Lemons” from Bath and Body Works! I think Bath and Body Works has the best smelling sanitizer ever!
This. Thing. Is. Magic. There is no other word for it. It is a little device that makes the SHHHHHHH sound that babies like so much. It has a 15 or 30 minute timer and you can adjust the volume to suit your needs. But the best part is that it is portable! It’s like an on-the-go sound machine! Whether you are a newborn photographer or a parent on-the-go this shusher is a great tool!
You can learn more about the Baby Shusher here: https://babyshusher.com/
This is another great baby soothing item! It is a portable vibrating pad that you can put under baby’s mattress (or in my case, I put it under the posing blankets on my newborn table). It’s perfect for babies who need to feel that constant motion to settle. Like the shusher, it is also battery operated and portable which makes it easy to place in juuuuuust the right spot.
Pick up your own Lulla Vibe on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3lkd2HP
If newborn photographers are experts at one thing, it’s removing baby stains from fabrics. Photographing naked babies can be a messy job. Buncha Farmers stain stick is THE BEST at removing baby poop stains. Everyone should have one of these on hands to take care of blow-out diaper disasters!
You can pick one up from Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3qRCSEr
Have you ever gotten out of the house only to realize you forgot a pacifier for your little one? There is nothing worse than needing a paci and not having one. I keep a stash of individually packaged pacifiers in the studio for just those occasions. This keeps them clean and safe for any baby that needs one. But they would also be great to keep in a diaper bag, in the car, or in the stroller!
I get mine in sets of 10 from jollypop: https://www.jollypop.com/jollypop-pacifier-s/104.htm
Boppy pillows have been around for a long time for a reason. They are super versatile! They are great for feeding (and not just nursing!), great for supportive tummy time, and also wonderful for babies who are just learning to sit up and need a little extra support. Plus there are adorable covers that make it easy to keep clean – I’ve even been known to toss the whole thing in the washer!
Nothing soothes the soul and creates a relaxing environment like good music. I’ve had lots of clients comment that they love the playlist I use during newborn sessions. I’m not a big fan of relaxing to classical music – I love a song I can hum along to. So I put together a list on Spotify of all my favorites. My own six year old falls asleep to this playlist every night!
You can find my Spotify playlist and follow it here: https://spoti.fi/38JqMH1
This is a magic tool for photographers. And although it is amazing for keeping babies snuggly for pictures, it is not for at-home or prolonged use. This thing is like a giant ace bandage with velcro on the end that I use as an under layer for wrapped poses. I use it during my newborn swaddled sessions every time. It helps me get a variety of colors and looks photographed during a session without disturbing baby by totally unwrapping and rewrapping every time.
You can learn more on their website: https://theswaddlepro.com/
When I first started photographing newborns, I used lots of different things to get baby in just the right position. I’ve used rolled up towels, beans, tiny pillows and all of them worked fine. But the shape shifters make my job so much easier. And they are waterproof and easy to clean/sanitize just in case!
Shape Shifters are a patent pending product from Hello Little Props. You can purchase your own set here: https://bit.ly/3bUh2vT
My studio is the perfect size for photographing newborns. But if you’ve been in my studio, you’ll agree there isn’t a ton of extra space. That’s why I love the everlasting bucket and bucket hugger system from Hello Little Props. It allows me tons of different looks with very little storage space. The bucket is magnetic and all the design elements you see on the bucket are actually magnets! It’s genius!
Learn more and explore all the available designs here: https://hellolittleprops.com/collections/props
The newborn industry and newborn photography is constantly coming out with new products and trends. I can’t believe how different the market is since my oldest was born almost 13 years ago! I can’t wait to see the new innovations that show up in the next 13 years and I can promise you I’ll be on top of all the coolest new items!
Photographing babies and families in Northern Cincinnati
[…] “Read all the advice people give you. Read all the books and blog posts and talk to parents who have been there before. And then use the advice that works for you and ignore all the stuff that doesn’t work for you. You are the only one that knows what it’s like to parent YOUR child and there is no piece of advice that works for every single baby. Let yourself make mistakes and have loads of grace and patience for yourself and don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help!” Here are some of my favorite newborn items I keep in my studio – lots of these are great for home use too! https://drawinginlightphotography.com/2021/03/15/10-items-every-newborn-photographer-should-own-and-… […]