Are you curious as to what I bring with me on a newborn session? Turns out [according to a recent Instagram poll] that a ton of you are and I’m happy to share the details of my newborn session kit with you!
For my newborn shoots, I focus on in-home sessions which is dramatically easier for new (and often times very tired parents). I go to them and meet them in their safe and cozy space – which means, I need to be very prepared. I bring a newborn session kit, equipped with everything I need to capture beautifully posed AND lifestyle photographs of your baby and family. It’s taken me a few years to refine my newborn kit, but I’ve got it down to a fine science now and I’m excited to share it with you.
Before we dive in, here’s my number one tip: Less is more. I stick to items that will give me the most flexibility and creativity. I never want my clients to feel like they need to go run out and purchase a bunch of extra swaddles and blankets just for their newborn photos. Instead, I encourage them to set aside sentimental items that I can work into their photos to make them one-of-a-kind, and they can count on me for the essentials.
Newborn Session Kit Essentials
I have two baskets in my newborn styling kit that I rotate using depending on the size of the baby, pose, and overall vibe of the session. One of my favorite places to find baskets is at HomeGoods because the prices are great and they have a huge assortment. I prefer wicker baskets that aren’t too tall – but you can get really creative when choosing your baskets. It’s important to remember that when selecting sizes, keep in mind that you’re going to need to fill these baskets with blankets and pillows for the baby’s comfort and safety.
These wraps were a game changer for me, and I think really helped to elevate my newborn posing. They come in a bunch of different colors so you can pick an assortment of options to add to your kit. They are slightly stretchy and just the right size to wrap babies up in without a ton of extra material – which often is not the case with standard swaddle blankets.
These clamps have saved me on many occasions! They are perfect when you want to give the illusion of a full backdrop but need something to hold your blankets in place. I highly recommend having 2-4 in your newborn styling kit just in case.
I always have a neutral fleece blanket in my kit, as well as a “girl” and “boy” blanket. I usually have a white, pink and blue blanket on hand. I would recommend starting with something neutral and if you come across some great colors and materials – pick them up! You can add to your kit over the years when you find great deals. I always look for materials that are super soft, flexible, and have a consistent pattern to them. HomeGoods is a great place to find these props!
I absolutely love using sheepskin inside of baskets. Add a swaddled baby in a colorful muslin wrap and it’s a picture of perfection! Plus, you can beat sheepskin as far as comfort goes.
The key to a sleepy baby is a full tummy and warmth. I can always count on my parents to ensure baby is fed, and they can count on me to bring a space heater along to ensure warmth. This is particularly clutch when the baby is fighting sleep. I don’t always use the space heater, but I keep it in my kit or in my car just in case. I recommend investing in a space heater that is very portable. In addition to the heater, I have a small extension cord in my bag in case the nearest outlet is far from where we are shooting.
Another pro photographer (and parenting) tip is using a white noise machine to lull baby to sleep. For my newborn kit, I have a white noise app downloaded on my phone and use that if needed.
Next time you’re in Ikea – I highly recommend picking up one of these bags to store your newborn styling kit props in. I’ve had mine for YEARS and it only cost me $3. Can’t beat that!
In addition to must-haves in my kit – I thought I’d share a few items that I never bring. Below is a list of things that most parents already will have on hand, or that are variable based on a client’s style – so I find it counterproductive to pack them in my kit.
- Burp clothes or wipes for spit up/accidents
- Outfits, clothes, or any “costumes”
- Bows, head wraps, crowns, bowties, or hats
- Posing bags or pillows (there are a ton of these on the market for photographers, but they’ve never worked for me and are a pain to drag around!)
Are you feeling prepared and excited to build out your newborn session kit? I’d love to hear what you choose. Feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly if you have any additional questions.