It’s so exciting to have a studio for newborn photography. When I was finally able to have my own space, I was ecstatic to get decorating. But once all the cute and fun items were in place, I noticed a whole other category of newborn photography studio essentials that I can’t live without. These must-have items help keep my clients happy and my sessions running smoothly. And I’m not just talking about the obvious things like a beanbag and props. I think some of these items just might surprise you!
Winnie’s newborn photography studio essentials
My goal with newborn photography is to make the whole experience as easy as possible. I want the parents to have a relaxing time, and for them to leave the studio having enjoyed their session with me. This means keeping the baby comfortable and having just the right newborn photography studio essentials to keep my session flowing smoothly.
1. Pacifiers: You can get pacifiers from Amazon at a bulk price, or at your local big box stores. I buy my pacifiers in a 2-pack. I use one in the studio, and send the clients home with the other.
2. The Baby Shusher: I have the Baby Shusher app on my phone, but I know some other photographers use the actual device. It’s such a lifesaver! Get the app for $4.99 for your phone, or the device for around $30.
3. Cheesecloth wraps: Not only do these make a great additional detail in your wrapped newborn setups, but they’re also nice tube tops for big sisters. In my studio, I keep cheesecloth wraps in a variety of neutral colors. I get mine from from Cloth Apothecary.
4. Swaddle blankets: Aiden and Anais is my favorite brand for swaddle blankets, but any will do. Most parents do bring their own blankets, but in between poses when baby might not have a diaper on, I tell them that I don’t mind if baby soils my blankets.
5. White noise machine: If you don’t have a Baby Shusher, a white noise machine will help as well. Babies love hearing a similar sound to what they heard in the womb.
6. Essential oil diffuser: A couple drops of lavender helps set a soothing tone in the studio. Afterwards, when I am cleaning, I diffuse a citrus-based oil to refresh the air.
7. Disposable nursing pads: Nursing pads are helpful for new moms, but you can also put them inside special little outfits to help protect handmade pants and rompers from getting soiled.
8. Baking soda + Dawn dish soap + hydrogen peroxide: This is my secret recipe to get rid of set-in stains. I soak my blankets or outfits that have gotten peed or pooped on in this recipe with hot water. I let it sit for an hour or two before putting it in the laundry.
9. Stretch knit wraps: I use stretch wraps for both fresh 48 sessions and newborn sessions (lifestyle and studio). I like to keep neutral colors on hand. My favorite ones are from Freebird Prop Shoppe. They have the perfect length for newborns.
10. Portable carpet cleaner: I use a Bissell brand carpet cleaner. It’s such a great tool to spot clean flokati rugs, or even regular carpet. If your studio floor is carpet like mine, this will help keep things looking great.
11. The Original Photoblocks Props posing beans: I don’t even remember what I did before I began using these miracle beans. From prop poses to blanket poses or even for just a little oomph for lifestyle poses, these posing blocks make such a difference in fine-tuning my poses and angles. Pro Tip: For lifestyle sessions where I am posing baby on the bed, I put a posing bean right under the blanket to get a better angle so that the baby isn’t flat.
12. Simple bonnets and hats: Nothing is more classic than a sweet little bonnet. I love them in neutral colors so that I can use them for both boys and girls. A slouchy cap is another must-have. My favorite knit ones are from Riley’s Mom Makes Hats, Joie De Knits, Beautiful Ewe, and Mama Knits. For fabric hats, I recommend Avonli Baby and Threads and Evergreen. I can’t even count the number of sessions where parents wish that they had something simple like this for the session. This is why I tell my clients that I am happy to source these items for them.
14. Portable space heater: Help your newborns stay warm! I use a portable space heater that oscillates if needed, and varies in temperature from 75-90 degrees — the perfect temperature for a newborn photography studio.
15. Neutral colored maternity gowns: While I do recommend that clients use neutral tops, sometimes with the postpartum body, it’s easier for me to provide an outfit. I offer white or tan colored dresses that moms can wear during their newborn sessions. My favorite ones come from Sew Trendy.
16. Foldable stool: TJ Maxx and Home Goods carry foldable stools for around $10 to $15. I use them for both indoor and outdoor shoots. At the studio, I stand on them to help me get shots of the parents (I’m only 5’3” and can use the help!). I also use this to prop up my space heater when I need it to reach my beanbag’s height. Pro Tip: Bring a foldable stool to your fresh 48 sessions or birth session to give you better angles or a higher position.
17. Caddy: This was one of those impulse buys at Target, and I can’t believe how much I use it. Best five dollars I’ve spent! I put my little tiebacks and hats in it before each session. I love that it has four compartments so I can transition the items I’ve used to one of the other spots.
18. Kneeling mat: I do a lot of kneeling in newborn studio photography and this comes in handy to keep my knees comfy. You can get a kneeling mat in the garden section of any big box store.
19. Headbands from Strawberry Revolution: Let’s be real here. As photographers, we sweat a lot. During newborn sessions, nothing’s worse than my sweat dripping into my camera’s viewfinder. Strawberry Revolution headbands have been lifesavers for me. The boho twist styles are my absolute favorites because they’re made out of jersey. I toss them in the wash and they come out perfectly each time.
20. Wi-Fi password sign: With all the noise of the Baby Shusher, the white noise machine, and perhaps even a baby that’s trying to soothe, asking for the Wi-Fi password sometimes gets complicated. My clients love that I have a sign with the password in a visible spot so they don’t have to ask. I made the sign in Photoshop and had it printed through The Original Photoblocks.
21. Studio samples: During the session, it’s nice to have things for the parents to look at. My clients have mentioned how much they enjoy being able to touch and feel the products I offer. I keep a little of everything on hand, from prints and albums to canvas and wood photo blocks.
22. Coffee & tea: Sleepless nights lead to sleep-deprived parents. I’ve been told my self-serve coffee and tea bar is my clients’ favorite part of relaxing in the studio.
23. Mini fridge: New mommas get thirsty and need to rehydrate. I fill up a mini fridge with bottles of water or sparkling water like LaCroix.
24. Snacks: New moms also get hungry, and snacks are also good for entertaining older kids. I provide individual snack packs of popcorn, chips and organic snacks for older siblings and oat-based bars for nursing moms.
25. Diapers & wipes: One of my clients laughed at how funny it was that with her second baby, she completely forgot to pack her diaper bag with diapers. She was so happy that I had them in the studio. I purchase Seventh Generation diapers. They’re adorable, reasonably priced, and environmentally friendly.
26. Pillows: Nursing moms enjoy that I have throw pillows and nursing pillows of different sizes. Some moms prefer to not use a nursing pillow, so having various sizes of pillows makes things comfortable for everyone.
27. Comfy couch: Having a great seating area has been extremely helpful for my clients. Families are always happy that they are able to kick back and relax on a comfortable couch.
28. Television: I subscribe to a couple of streaming services so my clients can watch a movie or show in a separate room during their sessions. I use a guest account for clients so that they can watch anything during the two to four hours they are in my studio. Older siblings especially enjoy this because they can have a fun movie day with snacks.
So there you have it! My slightly long, but definitely must-have newborn photography studio essentials. I’m all about keeping my space as neat as possible, my supplies organized, and my clients comfortable during these long sessions. I want to make my own job easier so I can put all of my energy into the photography. And I strive to create an exceptional client experience for new parents.
I hope this list is helpful in setting up your own newborn photography studio supply kit. And please, let me know what’s on your essentials list that I can add to my own!