I’ve been photographing babies for a little over 2 years now. This is what I think is the basic equipment for photographing a baby!
First off, and this is a no-brainer: you need a baby:
There is a time for everything! If you want those typical sleeping baby posed pictures the baby can’t be any older than 5 to 10 days old (newborn). They still tend to sleep a lot and won’t care much if you pose them. If you want the baby to sit, you’ll have to wait till he or she reaches the age of 7 / 8 months.
It doesn’t have to be a professional one. Just a basic camera where you can change the aperture ( AF – Depth of Field ) and shutter should be enough. BONUS POINTS if it can take pictures in RAW format!
You can easily use a sheet or a fleece or you can opt for a vinyl background. Keep it simple. If you use a flowery background, it will take away the focus from the subject, which is the baby!
Depending on the weight of the background, you either need some tape to tape it to a wall or you need a background stand and clamps. When you use a background stand, don’t forget to secure the stands with gaffer tape, or weight bags. If someone were to bump into it, the last thing you want is for the setup to fall onto the baby.
If you’re photographing a baby that can sit down by himself (7 – 8 month baby), no matter how careful you and your assistant are, sometimes they can still fall. And they fall quicker than you can catch them. It’s 0,5″ thick, which prevents serious injury. Also it’s durable and easy to clean. I put the playmat underneath the fleece / vinyl flooring so it doesn’t show on photo.
You can either opt for natural light (sunlight), which is completely FREE or you use a flash (either on-camera) or a strobe light (on a light stand).
Baskets, beanies, .. the options are endless!
As the baby will be nude (or atleast no diaper), you will need a lot of wet wipes. I can guarantee you now , they will not keep it dry!
You can’t do this alone. I repeat: you cannot do this alone. Some poses require someone to stay close to the baby.
A photo-editing program:
I use Adobe Lightroom. A nice free alternative is RawTherapee.
Easy to pose a baby on. Be extra careful when using a beanbag. If a baby moves it might tumble down, so you want your assistant right next to the baby.
White Noise machine:
Now what is white noise? White noise is ambient noise, like for instance running water, that sooths and helps the baby fall asleep faster. White noise is not only great for babies but for adults as well. If you have a hard time falling asleep, I suggest you give this a shot. White noise machines usually come in a fun figure for the child. Like a teddy bear that has a built-in white noise option. The sound usually stops after x minutes.
No mucking around with the white balance needed if you use a grey card!