Trust me, I get it. You’ve fallen in love with the world of newborn portraiture and all the sweet snuggles, fleeting moments, curly fingers & toes, wispy hair and puckered lips. And don’t even get me started on that baby smell. Pure heaven.
Newborn Posing on a budget – Photography Education
The thing is, when you started your journey into newborn portraiture, you didn’t realize how expensive that overhead is. All the outfits, props, buckets, lighting, equipment and education costs add up FAST!!!
We all know how imperative it is to be trained in the art of safe, newborn photography but the images we put out are important to establish a clientele too!
So, what are a few ways you can save your funds for furthering your education and expertise but still have stunning imagery as you go? Here are a few ways I suggest to keep the budget expenses low when you are just building your clientele. This will ensure you look professional, prepared and able to produce timeless images.
Let’s start with what you will pose the baby ON. There are alot of great, safe products these days to pose babies including tables, giant beanbags and beds. If you have the funds to invest – look into Paloma Schell or Shoot baby. I have both of these products – BUT!
It took me YEARS to get to a place where I could invest in those and to be honest, even when I could, I still stayed with my budget option for over 5 years because it worked so well.
I took the measurements off the brand name sites and had my mama sew me a vinyl bean bag. I purchased the material on sale (the colours didnt even match all the way around) and I filled it with beans from Wal-mart! It served me well for ages. There are so many options on pinterest and google to DIY your own beanbag or table, as well as a pvc stand to clamp your backdrop too.
For me, I have never gone the pvc route because…I’m lazy lol!! I used an affordable basic backdrop stand and clamped it to my dining room chairs. I used this system for the longest time. I dug up a picture of my very first setup in my kitchen! This is how I ran my business studio for 6 years and was able to still build a 6 figure company.
Another great option is a flat dog bed which can also be raised by pvc pipes or on a sturdy table like this one HERE.
So, now you’ll need blankets to cover the beanbag/table but guess what? I bet you have enough throws and blankets (fold ’em if needed) to create a few layers for a seamless cover to put your posers underneath. Only the top layer will be seen in the photos! If this layer is fairly thin, I will keep my lightest or matching colour blanket, just under this one.
While there are so many vendors on facebook, etsy and instagram offering the most amazing textures and colours for your newborn photography dreams, you can easily save while starting out by getting a jersey knit fabric in 2 yards length from your local fabric store. BONUS! You can cut off a strip from your fabric to also have a matching wrap and headband!
Back in the days of ‘ol, we didn’t have access to customized posers the perfect shape and height and also a lot of $$$$, we had….folded up receiving blankets. YUP. That’s it, that’s all. That’s all I had access to for over 10 years and all I used and will still use depending on the pose. I do have posing “beans” now, that have varying sizes for how much lift you need, but they were purchased secondhand.
Get into photographer facebook groups, de-stash pages or on marketplace before you spend to see who might be de-stashing. Amazon has a brand I also use HERE. They’re a fraction of the cost of the big brands!
Walmart is my go-to for receiving blankets because they are already folded in the package, so nice and firm!
Having one great prop to begin with is all you need. Clients won’t care that it’s been used more than once and neither should you. Your stash will grow with time but having a versatile bucket or bowl that can be used in a variety of poses will look different every time, depending how you style it.
I have a confession! There was a time that I had so many props, some never ever got photographed. I had my faves that were easy to use, so I kept using the same ones over again anyway! Now, I keep my stock to a minimum and when I feel the need to make changes, I do so by selling items I don’t use.
A few tips for finding prop deals: Check out local antique shops or marketplace, de-stashes or even family and friends. There are so many treasures out there! Some of my favorites are not the props that every other photographer has and they do double duty. One of my cherished antique milk crates is a prop and also a book holder on my living room shelf. So ask yourself, how many ways can I use this? Before you buy!
Here is an example of a prop used several different ways…
I’ve got one last thing you need to make sure you have successful posed newborn sessions, that’s wraps! Gimme all the wraps! With wraps (ok, and stuffers – these are what baby will lie on in buckets), you’ll be able to pose a sleepy or alert baby with ease. Baby’s love to be swaddled and even one stretchy wrap will let you bundle up or loosely drape across the baby to add variety.
Don’t forget to cut off the end of your beanbag fabric for a matching wrap. About 18 inches wide should do it!
One last tip that has saved me tons of $$! I purchased a knitting machine to make my own stuffers and wraps of any length. These are simple wraps and great when starting out and trying to keep all the prop purchases to a minimum! I just do this while listening to a podcast or watching tv. It did take a small initial investment, and time to learn how to use it, but now I just grab a ball of yarn when needing a wrap or stuffer in a colour I don’t have! You can find it HERE. As an example, I made these wraps!
I hope this is helpful, please let me know if so! Remember that there are endless possibilities and props out there. There will never be a shortage and it’s easy to get sucked into the buying frenzy because there are so many cute ideas. Online it can appear that everyone is snatching things up! But trust me, from someone who has learned the hard way by overspending, be patient and build your business wisely. You will never regret investing in your skill over stash and using the funds you make to invest back into the biz!
xo, Jody Ann