If you’re starting out as a baby photographer, you might wonder what things you really NEED to get started. Despite what you might think, you really don’t need much. My advice to all photographers just starting out is to start simple. Master your lighting and posing instead of trying to buy every cute baby outfit on Etsy. The secret to good photography is lighting and posing after all!
Here is a list of the most important items (other than your camera of course!) for baby photographers:
Item #1: Good lighting
The number one item without a doubt is light! Be it natural light (sunshine) or studio light – light is the only thing we as photographers can’t do without. The first thing you need as a baby photographer is to decide whether you’re going to use natural or studio light, and then purchase whatever you need to use that light to your advantage. For natural light photographers that would mean finding yourself a large window and installing sheer curtains to make the light beautiful and soft. For studio light photographers you will need a light, light stand, a trigger (if you’re using flash) and light modifier (I use a PLM with continuous lighting – here is more information about my set up here in this blog post). Most photographers I know have started with natural light as studio light can feel a bit intimidating at first (I was totally intimidated by it until I did the Milky Way Lighting Class).
Item #2: A soft surface to place baby
The second most important item is somewhere soft (and safe!) to place baby while you photograph them. Lots of baby photographers use a firm bean bag or I know many use a dog bed. You don’t really need to invest in anything special though when you’re just starting out. If you have a bed or even just placing lots of soft blankets on a floor or carpet, this could easily be enough. I have used a ShootBaby bean bag for many years. This bean bag is great as it has a faux leather surface – perfect for wiping up any accidents.
Keep it simple! With only 4 items you can create beautiful, timeless photographs of babies. Photograph copyright and taken by me: Amy Tong Photography
Item #3: A scarf or other textured material
I’m a huge fan of simple baby photography – where the baby is the main focus of the image without lots of flowers, props and “stuff” in the image. If you’re starting out and you’re being inspired by established photographers you might be fooled into thinking that you need to spend thousands on all the latest props. Honestly – you really don’t need to! Start with just a neutral coloured scarf or textured wrap to lay over the baby. Some of my favourite images are of babies with only a scarf or material over their nappy.
Item #4: A good quality camera and lens
Of course you can’t take a photo without a camera and a lens. Buy the best quality camera and lens that you can afford. Modern day DSLRs are incredible so don’t feel like you need to have the latest model – truth be told I’m still using an older model Nikon (one day I’ll upgrade!). If it’s a choice between affording a better quality lens or a better quality camera body, I’d choose a better quality lens every time. My current favourite lens is the Sigma Art 35mm 1.2 (although ask me in a few months time as it’s constantly changing).
For more information on my camera equipment check out this blog post
Honestly – these 4 items (plus a happy baby of course!) are all you really need when you’re wanting to photograph babies. It doesn’t need to be complex (or expensive!) to have everything you need. I hope this inspires you to take your baby photography journey to the next level.
Did you find this blog post handy? I’d love to hear from you!