A Guide to Accessories for Newborn and Infant Photography


Getting great pictures of your newborn or infant is certainly not kid stuff. Indeed, the window of opportunity for coaxing a perfect expression and a picturesque pose from your little bundle of joy is fleeting, at best. For parents (and others) who aspire to capture such moments, user-friendly gear, highly functional accessories, and photogenic props can make all the difference. With this in mind, here are our best recommendations to help make photo sessions with your unpredictable little darlings a success.

Pick the right camera for the job

Canon EOS Rebel T6i DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens

These days, nearly everyone has a camera in their mobile device, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best option for commemorating the most significant occasions in your little one’s life.

With all the available cameras in the marketplace, selecting the right one for your needs becomes a very personal choice. While there’s not nearly enough room here to walk you through the options, Explora’s informative buying guides—from our latest Recommended Cameras for Newborn and Baby Photography, to our DSLR Buying Guide, Mirrorless Camera Buying Guide or the comparative DSLR or Mirrorless Buying Guide—can help with your decision making. Those who are new to photography might also benefit from Explora articles such as How to Choose a Digital Camera, as well as our Introduction to Learning Photography portal.

Adding light to the mix

As Allan Weitz explains in his Camera Buying Guide for Newborn and Baby Photography, linked above, while on- or off-camera strobe might seem like a convenient way to highlight your newborn in his or her best light, the sudden burst of a bright flash could frighten your tiny tot, thus compromising the resulting image. To avoid this, consider one of the many continuous-lighting options that B&H has on hand, such as these LED lights.

Genaray LED-7100T 312 LED Variable-Color On-Camera Light

If you do own a strobe, a collapsible reflector can be a helpful tool for adding a touch of light with minimal disturbance, by aiming an off-camera flash (or a continuous light source) toward the reflector and bouncing light into the scene.

Impact 5-in-1 Collapsible Oval Reflector

Hand-in-hand with lighting goes the subject of white balance, an important consideration for pleasing portraits. While setting your camera to auto white balance will generally yield acceptable results, anyone seeking to take things up a notch should consider having a selection of White Balancing Accessories at the ready. Those seeking further guidance about white balance can consult Todd Vorenkamp’s Explora article, Understanding White Balance and Color Temperature in Digital Images.

Create a mini studio in your home

The diminutive size of a newborn subject makes it easy to turn almost any setting into a makeshift studio, yet if you’re seeking to document your family repeatedly over an extended period, it might be worth investing in a basic studio setup.

The first item you’ll need is some form of Backdrop material. While Muslin and Fabric Backgrounds can be draped over furniture or arranged to accommodate a draped surface, the most common use for a background is to be hung from a system of Background Supports.

Savage Background Port-a-Stand Kit

Two other important accessories to complete your studio setup are Clamps, to fasten or stretch drapery to achieve a smooth surface, and Sandbags, to keep the stands or other heavy objects weighed down and fixed in place.

Impact Saddle Sandbag

Newborn accessories

With camera gear in hand and the stage set, it’s time to add a touch of style to your adorable subject. To assist in this matter, B&H stocks a wide range of accessories designed by Custom Photo Props, a leading producer of accessories for newborn photography.

Swaddling props

Immerse your infant in the comforting embrace of a colorful knit baby wrap, available in a variety of styles, or let your bundle of joy dose on the soft texture of a faux fur/flokati fur photo prop, offered in varied colors and three different sizes.

Custom Photo Props Faux Fur Newborn Photo Prop

Wardrobe accessories

For creative and comfortable wardrobe options, you can choose from cozy sleepsack cocoons, diaper covers in knit, lace or chiffon, a floral romper, decorative headbands and colorful hats. For even more whimsy, deck your treasured jewel in royal fashion with a Gold Prince or Silver Rhinestone Princess Newborn Crown.

Custom Photo Props Ribbed Pixie Knit Hat

Furniture and set props

For a more distinctive photo set, elevate your baby with the Custom Photo Props Au Natural Mini Me Newborn Hammock, or let it nestle in the Globe to Sleep Newborn Cabana. Alternatively, choose from this supplier’s more traditional props, such as the Upholstered Baby Chaise or Tufted Newborn Bed.

Custom Photo Props Globe to Sleep Newborn Cabaña Photo Prop

If you’re looking to photograph your infant in a draped setting, the Delta 1 Baby Poser consists of a solid piece of urethane foam, which is useful for posing an infant seated, lying back, or leaning forward.

Delta 1 Baby Poser

The background and studio accessories brand Lastolite offers posing props that cater to both infants and adults. Its cushioned Baby Poser with Grey Cover is designed to securely support babies of all ages. Multiple cushions can be configured in different ways to comfortably pose your precious cargo on his or her back, front, kneeling or standing. Finally, Lastolite’s hooded black Baby Posing Coat allows a parent to blend into the set while holding the infant during a shoot, thus reducing anxiety and stress.

Lastolite Baby Poser

Smile-inducing posing accessories

Once baby is dressed for the part, it’s time to draw the attention of your tiny subject toward the lens. In the eyes of your infant, the black brick of metal and glass of your camera holds little appeal on its own, but B&H offers inventive solutions for engaging tiny subjects and turning frowns upside down.

Camera Creatures offers posing props in the form of four colorful animals—a green frog, a red lady bug, a blue bird or an orange crab—which can be wrapped around almost any camera lens. Sold individually or as a full set of four, each prop has a built–in squeaker to keep your diminutive subject’s eyes on the lens.

Camera Creatures Friendly Frog Posing Prop

Additionally, Shutter Huggers makes a wide variety of cute critters to fit both cameras with lenses up to 3.5" in diameter (90mm) or smartphones, tablets, and other portable recording devices. Choose from nine full-sized Shutter Huggers, which wrap around the camera lens, or eight Shutter Hugger mini designs that easily clip to the edge of your device of choice.

Shutter Huggers Eagle Shutter Hugger

Photography books and tutorials

Beyond the set dressing and adorable props, if you’re seeking a broader foundation of knowledge and inspiration with which to photograph your infant, B&H comes to your aid with a wide variety of how-to photography books, as well as the Newborn Photography Workshop Collection and Lightroom Presets on DVD from SLR Lounge.

With all of these tools at your fingertips, you should now be able to approach every session prepared to capture delightful images that will form a cornerstone of precious memories for years to come.

Items discussed in article