Newborn Photography Equipment & Tips

Newborn photography can be so much fun – we get to spend some time with a new baby AND we don’t have the responsibility of getting up in the middle of the night. But newborn photography can be really difficult as well. Newborns are the ones who dictate your session. They pee and poop on you and post processing can be challenging. Although I do not specialize in newborn photography, here are some of the equipment I use and some tips I’ve picked up along the way.

The Equipment

My set up at a client’s home

1. Background Stand

The background stand I have was purchased from eBay years ago so I don’t exactly know the exact one I have. However, IMB recommends this one from Amazon by Square Perfect. My only recommendation is that if you are purchasing a background stand solely for newborn photography to purchase a single backdrop stand like this one from Shoot Baby!

2. Clamps

I have muslin clamps but you can purchase clamps from any hardware store. These will help keep your blanket secure on the stand.

3. Blankets

The blanket seen in the photograph above is from Ikea. The one I specifically have is no longer available for purchase but the IMB Store has a lot of great options for newborn sessions. The blanket you use is a matter of taste, just be sure it doesn’t wrinkle easily.

4. Bean Bag

I used a beanbag I purchased from  Amazon sells this one which is very similar. I tie the excess with a rubber band at the bottom so that the baby doesn’t sink in the beanbag. If I could do it all over again, I would actually purchase this one from Shoot Baby! since it’s specifically made for newborn photography (warning, you have to buy the actual “bean” separately).

5. Lighting equipment: Light stand + flash + Apollo softbox

I have this Manfrotto light stand along with my Canon 580 EX II which are being triggered by Pocket Wizards. I do have the older model Pocket Wizards and they still work just fine for me. I also have a 28″ Westcott Apollo Softbox.

If you’ve done your research about photographing newborns or if you’ve photographed newborns on your own then you know the tips about nursing the baby before the session, white noise, and a warm room. If not, then be sure to read this article from guest blogger Lisa Slate Photography.

For me, the biggest thing that I’ve learned is to not rely on the available light in my client’s home. Of course you can bump up the ISO and place the baby next to the window, but are you going to get a good QUALITY of light? You never want to be stuck in a situation where it’s too dark or there’s bad lighting all around.

The best newborn photographs that I’ve seen are the ones where there is some light and some shadow across the face and body. When the lighting is flat, the photograph is not as interesting. As an additional plus, it’s much easier to process newborn photographs when you have good lighting.


(For more information on off-camera flash photography, we have an off camera flash tutorial)

6. Heater (not seen)

The heater I used is one I purchased from Target. It was purchased for my own home and NOT specifically because I was photographing newborns. If I were to suggest a heater, I would suggest purchasing a smaller sized unit like this one from Lasko.

7. Pee pads (not seen)

I purchase puppy pee pads from the pet store and have parents stand on them when I’m photographing a naked baby plus the parents. It makes it easier to clean up, especially if they’re on carpet.

If any newborn photographers have any other tips about equipment or photographing newborns in general, PLEASE include them in the comments.



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