What do you need for a newborn photoshoot? Basic Equipment for Photographers.

February 06, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

What do you Need for a Newborn Photoshoot?

A basic guide to the Essential Equipment needed for Newborn Photographers.

Are you considering becoming a newborn photographer? Do you have a passion for photography and believe you would love working with babies? Perhaps you are a photography enthusiast or a new parent yourself who is inspired to capture those wonderful early moments for other new families.

In order to become a successful newborn photographer, you must develop skills in photography, editing and business. You must study and undertake training in your chosen genre - most importantly, how to work with and safely pose newborn babies. You must build your portfolio, market your services and, of course, invest in suitable equipment that will allow you to achieve professional results while ensuring the safety and comfort of your tiny subjects.

In this blog I am going to look at the essential equipment every newborn photographer should have in their arsenal. This is in no way a complete list; as any of my newborn photography colleagues will agree we have a tendency to collect way too many ‘essential’ props and items over the years; the following are just the basics you’ll need to get started.

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1. Camera

The cornerstone of any photography business is, of course, the camera. Professional-grade DSLR cameras offer superior image quality and versatility, but even high-quality mirrorless or advanced compact cameras can produce excellent results. When looking for a camera choose one that feels comfortable in your hands and allows you to have manual control over shutter speed, ISO and aperture. I am a Nikon shooter myself and over the years I have used a Nikon D80, D3, D300, D700, D800 and now my workhorse is the magnificent D850 with the D810 as backup.

2. Lenses

Photographers know that a decent camera is only part of the story. The lens you choose or the ‘glass’ you invest in can make all the difference. AF-S_Zoom-Nikkor_24-70mm_f2,8G_ED_001AF-S_Zoom-Nikkor_24-70mm_f2,8G_ED_001
There are so many lenses to choose from, each with their own ideal use. Prime lenses are known for being pin sharp, whereas a zoom will give you versatility. Over the years I have used both prime and zoom lenses. I used a 50mm prime along with a 60mm macro for years before settling on my favourite lens, the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 zoom. I’ve previously written a blog about the lenses I’ve used which you can read here.

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3. Lighting Equipment

Photography is all about light, no light – no photos! Correct lighting technique is essential for softboxsoftbox
achieving soft, flattering light that enhances the delicate features of newborns. Natural light can produce wonderful results however, living in the UK you are reliant on the vagaries of our weather which isn’t always ideal. Investing in studio lighting equipment gives you greater control over lighting conditions and allows you to work even when the weather isn’t compliant. Consider investing in a softbox or umbrella for soft, diffused light and a reflector for filling in shadows. I use the Bowens Gemini lighting range with softboxes.

4. Props and Accessories Lucas compLucas comp

Props add personality and charm to newborn photoshoots while providing comfort and support for baby. Different coloured blankets, fabrics and wraps help in the creation of adorable setups, and you can invest in baskets, crates, and bowls in which to pose baby. It is important that all props are safe for use (i.e. no flimsy, breakable materials, sharp edges or splinters) and props should always be weighted to ensure they do not tip. You may also want to consider purchasing additional accessories such as headbands, hats and bonnets.

Some photographers use a bean bag and stand onto which they clip blankets for those adorable photos of baby sleeping on their side or the tushie up pose.  I used to do this but have recently changed to a converted dog bed, which is so much kinder to my back!

Another accessory I wouldn't be without is white noise. Played during a newborn session I have found it invaluable over the years to help soothe babies during my sessions. I use an amazing app called Sound Sleeper, but there are many available to download. Just remember to put your phone in airplane mode when using them to prevent calls breaking through the peace! 

5. Safe Posing Aids _DSC9255-Recovered_DSC9255-Recovered

Yes of course, I am going to talk about safety (you should know me by now!) Safety must always be your top priority when working with newborns. You should always have a ‘spotter’  (either an assistant or parent) on hand to ensure safety during more complicated poses or when baby is placed at any height, but the use of posing aids such as bean bags, pillows, and cushions will also  provide support and stability while ensuring baby's comfort and safety. A good newborn safety training course will show you how to use these and, of course, there are plenty of videos on the internet you can watch.  

6. Baby Care Supplies and Heating

If you intend working in a studio environment you will need to provide a place where parents can change and feed baby. Although parents almost always bring their own supplies, I always have a pack of first size nappies, spare water wipes and hand sanitiser on hand should their supplies run low.

You will also need a space heater to ensure your studio space is lovely and warm for baby.

7. Computer and Editing Software

Once you’ve taken your photographs you must have the equipment, post processing skills and knowledge to edit your digital files. This is an essential part of your newborn photography workflow, allowing you to fine-tune your images and achieve a polished final result for your clients. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are probably the best-known software packages for editing and retouching your newborn photos offering a wide range of image editing options. Again, in order to become a successful newborn photographer, you will need to undertake training in how to utilise these packages.

8. Business Insurance

If you want to be taken seriously as a professional newborn photographer you really should be properly insured to protect you, your equipment and property. All the professional photographers I know have public liability and professional indemnity insurances in place alongside their standard equipment and premises insurances.

Becoming a successful newborn photographer requires the acquisition of both knowledge and equipment. By investing in decent cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, props and accessories and learning how to use these correctly and safely, you will be well prepared for that first step onto this amazing career path.

Good luck!


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