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5 Essential Props & Props Safety

Lesson 13 from: Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Kelly Brown

5 Essential Props & Props Safety

Lesson 13 from: Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

13. 5 Essential Props & Props Safety

Newborn photographers can easily get carried away spending loads of cash on props -- but you can take great baby pictures without elaborate props. Kelly walks through all the possibilities using just five props: a beanbag, bucket, bowl, nest, and crates.


Class Trailer

Day 1


Course Introduction


Flow Posing


Kelly's Home Studio


Day 2


How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Planning


Day 3


How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Foundation


Lesson Info

5 Essential Props & Props Safety

this lesson we're going to talk about my five essential props and these of five central props that I have in my studio so they're not for everybody and if you don't like using props then that's fine but it's something that you know when I'm going over my my sessions with my clients that I really tried to sort of you know evaluate where they're at what they like and um and sort of include a couple of those things into this session because we really want teo create twenty different images for our clients that they're gonna love so I incorporate probably one to two in each session but I have like a really good range for them to share it t choose from and and there's so many different ways that you can use your props so my go to proper is always my posing back and I know that I can get as many images as possible on my posing bag on dh there's a ridiculous amount of ways that you can use it so you can add different fabrics and fibers and you know I love shirt shooting the siblings on there ...

the younger ones because it's the safest way to do it and that way the baby's never gonna roll off the bag if the total of decides that they've had enough and they want to jump up and we've always got parents close by or a spotter which is great and then you know with your blankets you khun ad different textures and fibers and things like that as well and then floccari rugs and wrapping the baby there's a few different ways that I like to wrap that up you know go over during the course of this boot camp and then when it comes to filling your posing bag I liketo have it sort of full but with enough room that you can create a well in the middle so that you can push down and the baby's nice and supported in the center of that and then what I also do is use my cloth nappies that you can use other supports too place around the baby to make sure that they're nice and secure um but yeah I know that during a session and I can get probably eleven images out of my twenty from my posing bag so that means that you know when I'm going through my flow of posing um am I can start with them on their back I can move them onto this side then onto their tummy and then around to the front again and I'm getting four great pose is that but at the same poses that I'll put into any of my props but I'm shooting them from different angles and I'm adding different textures and possibly hats and headbands and things like that depending on what the client wants so I'm going to get a lot of variety out of that but then when it comes to my other props there's there's quite a few that I like tio to use so I've got my buckets and you don't have to have all of these props but I want to show you the different types of buckets and for me you know I've got a metal pail I've got something that's sort of like a little bit rat any woven and then I've got timber wooden boxes and for all of those you're going to take sort of very similar safety measures when you're using them but you're also gonna have to be careful of certain things for my medal but my metal bucket I think you call it a pale I'm not quite sure you know that cost may nothing I found it on the side of a road actually and but on the side of it where the handle is it's got two metal sort of stubbs so when I'm using that I make sure that they covered completely throughout the whole time and that the baby never ever comes into contact with them and you can see in this image that I actually have the handle of the back of the photograph so that you're not kind of wondering what that is or your your eyes not lead towards it but using my cloth nappies and blankets and things like that tow line the buckets it's probably the most secure way for me to keep the baby still inside there to make them feel secure and then what I also to do is use weights in the bottom and it can be like an actual sandbag or ah hand wait and even bottles of water I find like three or four of those in the bottom bottom of a bucket if you don't have a hand weight or a sandbag they're just great to pop into the bottom but obviously we always have a spot of close by anyway with the hand not too far from the baby or on the bucket or on the baby it at all times so yeah kind of styling these with different textures and things like that is a lot of fun you can mix things up but generally with a bucket I tend to pose wth um very similar and you can see that a lot of them have got their arms forward resting on the edge and all of them have hard edges so I've I've got fabric or texture or something soft in between the baby and the prop because I don't know for me personally I don't want to see a beautiful soft baby resting or on a hard object it just doesn't kind of feel right and you know what I'm I'm working with these tiny little little people I want them to look as comfortable as possible and not go oh you know they squished up against something hard I want to make it look soft and make people feel comfortable when they're looking at the images thie wooden bowl that I've got there it's got some really great texture and I love that rustic look about it that's kind of you know what my image is really about but what you've got to be careful with things like that is that they can have splinters so still keeping something between the baby and the property all times is really really important one of the public questions is going to be like how how do you place the baby in there we're going to see that in another lesson in some of these buckets a swell yeah definitely I'm going to show you how I line the buckets with my cloth nappies towels my blankets all of those things and then I'm going to show you how I position the baby in how it killed their little legs up underneath him to make them really comfortable it is actually quite important like cannon was saying you know when you are positioning them in there to make sure that they're comfortable and if they're sitting down you don't want them you know sort of having uncomfortable feet or anything like that so how we crossed their little legs over and things that that is is something that I'm going to focus on a lot when we're using those props definitely I have another question about the buckets are there particular sizes that don't work like how do you know which size will work for newborn yeah really great question again because when you are choosing a proper it's important to know that you have to be able to fit a baby in there obviously but then if it's too big the baby can look lost in there and if it's too high from the ground you know when you're looking at it it's like well that baby looks like it could topple out of there and it's just the way that out I read the image so for me when I'm choosing any prop I used my arm as a guide so if I can fit my arm in there and if there is enough space around the baby things like that but you had these particular buckets like they have not bean resized in anyway so that's the actual size off them so the baby kind of looks in proportion with it not not too big and not too small but if it's too small you won't be able to fit enough padding around the baby to make it feel secure and supported in there so you're really really important question but you know that's that's where I've like to have my fake baby when I'm sort of setting things like this up in my studio because you know I can gauge how much room I actually need in there and another really you know good thing t think off is that all babies they're a different size so you're gonna have small babies you're gonna have larger baby so they'll require other less or more support around them with like cloth nappies hotels and a lot of these things the studio they kind of set up already they lined already to a degree so I create like a shelf of the front inside the props for the baby to rest on and then around the bottom there's always you know something in there ready to go because during a session I don't I want to be wasting my time filling these props with the materials the textures and the petting I want to be able to describe you know the different colors and things like that tow line teat of place over the top and write and not have to start from scratch so yeah a lot of things already sort of semi set up to a point yeah you're welcome um my other go to prop is definitely a bowl I've got quite a few different bowls that different shapes and sizes and this is something that you know I can be a little bit bigger and I've got quite a few large ones because they do multiples of twins or triplets and things like that so it's great to have something big enough that you can fit more than one baby and and there's so many different ways that you can use them obviously you've got composed on their back with another wrapping technique and beautiful fabric kind ofjust draping overto lead you into the rest of that image and then another bowl sort of where the baby's tucked in and there's a few different names for that particular pose but it's one of my favorite and the parents love it because it makes them look like they're in a little bit they really love that and then there's the same same type of bowl in the last image where I've used quite a few blankets and towels to really fill that make it nice and firm for the baby toe lay on and it's important when you have got them positioned in a prop like that and forward you've got the perfect amount of support underneath them to be able to bring them forward so it's a little bit higher at the front and a little bit lower at the back so that they can come forward and rest on its safely but again with any of these when they're wrapped in on their back and they tucked in obviously they don't need to be supported with a hand like resting on them or anything like that unless they've got a strong startle reflex but when they're on top of a prop like the last image that's where I would have a parent sit next to me I don't work with an assistant so I always use my clients to come and sit down and if they've had a cesarean or something like that and they usually have a partner or another family member with him so I used that family member which because they can't obviously drive to my studio so they've always got someone with him and having a hand on either they bottom and I'll just sort of communicate with them the whole way through that pose you know like when I'm adjusting the hands and the head I'll have them have their hand on them the bottom or at the back and a lot of the times when I'm doing sit ups like this I'll have like a cough nappy or or a wrap or a piece of fabric over the back so that the hand is not directly on the skin and it's just gently above them and then when I'm adjusting the feet and things like that I'll just have the hand come forward and just you know on the side of the head because they can move so suddenly and you know if you are not paying attention to that they could topple over anything like that but with a couple of these props you can see the m one has a handle so it actually has like a bit of support on almost like a coffee margaret charity couple something like that but it has a very large base if it was sort of quite round and came into a small base it would be able to move which would have to be really careful off so you would definitely definitely put some more weights into the bottom of that but having a parent next to you at all times and you know it's a matter off they had the hand is resting on them and then when you go to take the shot you get your exposure and then when you're ready to take your shot you just lift the hand a couple inches above and then place it back down it's like that quick and so the baby is always I'm always spotted gonna get sick of hearing me say it andi my next one is definitely my nest so in australia I have this incredible incredibly talented man called michael from island vine designs and he has made me quite a few different nests of different shapes and sizes and it's something that you know for me really suits my style of imagery and branding because it's got that beautiful texture in it and it's it's got natural fibers so I've got quite a few different ones and you know in the first one here I've just found some fake moss in a shop I think it was a florist and I started to sort of wave that into a little bit of it just to add some detail so that I could add some you know some green into the styling off it and create like something that's just a little bit different and then the middle one that that minister is really quite large it's probably about that wide in diameter so I can fit a lot of babies in it and he did actually make it for me for a triple it shoot so there's a way there that you can use it with just one baby and create using the nest itself as a background as opposed to an actual prop so I try to try to mix things up a ll the time with what I've got instead of buying new props all the time and then my last image there that's probably like the go to weigh that I would use my nest and I shoot directly above them with my twenty four to seventy lanes so that my legs evenly placed I don't have to stand on top of anything I can zoom out and I just lean over and get that above shot which I love and but that particular set up you know the inside of it is lined with rolled cough nafis there's another cloth nappy underneath and then we've got the different layers of textures and fabrics and then there's another little and it rapping here and the baby's simply just laid on it and then it's pulled down around and just tied in a knot so it had like a little bit of detailed to the image as well but it's it's so simple that then you know you spend the rest of your time sort of positioning the hands and the feet and things like that just to finish that image off but my nest is probably one of my favorite items I love it and my clients love it as well have a question about that middle one kelly that you mentioned because I'm trying to see it from here but you said it was this wide so that whole outer part that we see around it that's the actual nest itself and then this the little guy in there is the nest within the nest yeah okay and so then is there any additional safety precautions for how you how you get that nest within firm it's not today well it because it's so wide it sits quite flat on the ground and then that way I've got a parent sitting next to it with the hand in there as well but when I'm sitting there and I'm kind of positioning them on kind of around them anyway but yeah it's it's interesting this image because what the baby is lying on is another nous that I made myself and we're gonna have some fun making a proper which is something I love to do so I've got it's like a wolf filtered bowl and then it's filled with more supports that cost nappies rolled up inside or a towel and then it's got some felt over the top and the baby's wrapped in position in the middle of it but yet adding that background off the nest it just gave the image such a different look and feel and it means that it's not just sitting in my my studio waiting for a set of triplets or twins to come in I can actually use it in multiple ways and create something different but just so fun to do because you know I'm don't have not made of money I can't go out and buy everything that I want in you know being able t sort of use your imagination and come up with something different all the time is is a lot of fun to do actually are I love going in there with my kids and we pull everything out and we put it together and my oldest daughter she loves making props home and whenever we're outta bashes I call mom you love that you could put a baby in it so yeah it's always fun to come up with new ideas with her because they think outside the square kids they really you know nothing nothing prevents them from from thinking in a certain way it's really cool before you move on callie you mentioned a designer that designed the nest and I know I didn't really catch the name so people at home right now could you tell us again what his name was his name what his business name is island vine designs so he's incredibly talented and he's always coming up with with new shapes of n'est ce and things like that I've got quite a few different shapes and sizes so yeah it's always coming up with something just a little bit different and unique and we worked quite closely together and it's funny because when I first found him was on a bay and he was selling woven pot plant holders and I went out to his house after I'd bid on two items to pick them up and he said well what sort of plants you gonna put in these oh not really god I gotta put a baby in them and he kind of looked at me a bit strange and he told me how he got in tow waving because things were quite big um nest in in the first place like this was probably five years ago and anyway it was about oh yes oh sorry he was telling me about how he got into it he'd actually injured his shoulder and for like physiotherapy and to gain more strength he said it to weave baskets out of like the lantana that was around his house so just I mean how incredible toe actually just think I'm going to do that and now he's going he's got this wonderful business where you know I know so many photographers they're using his props which is great but yeah his wife ended up contacting me hang on my sister had a baby and then we just started to email back and forth and now he's got a facebook page and he's selling them so yeah it's incredible teo to meet somebody like that and plant a seed in idea and just run with it and it's doing really really well thank you and I do want to ask that one clarify one more because I'm looking at the first image here and on your side can you tell us what the different materials are that like that layer thick so the outside then the next layer in the next layer like what specifically are using yes so the nest here itself is just a like a a standard n'est it's probably about this big so I can fit my arm inside it and it's nice and deep so it's got a beautiful well in it and inside it's lined with cloth nappies and then the wolf felt it's like a wall batting so it's like an unwavering raw fiber and it's like a sheet and I just lay it over the top and tuck it in so look soft and it's and it's still sort of it's hiding my cloth nappies but it's really supportive as well and then I've got one of my stretchy wraps that's just wrapped the baby up and pop them in there and then they're little landed coming down from the hat but all this sort of stuff in here this is like a fake moss and it's it's a little bit scratchy it's a little bit it's a little bit yucky but I've kind of tied it into some of those pieces of lantana I suppose dr lantana to give it like a bit of a different look and feel but while I'm using these n'est ce you can see that you know any part of these if they were to break or anything like that would become shop so you gotta be careful when you are putting babies in there especially wrapped with their legs out like that because at any time they can kick out will startle and if their arms come flying out and they hit a birkin bit of the sea it's the stick or the store or something like that they can scratch themselves and then obviously wake up very unhappy so when I'm posing a baby in here I use like a fabric or material or cloth nappy to place over the top off the nest around the outsides and once I've got the baby settled in position ready to take the photo that's when I take that off because you just never know when they're going to kick out especially over here like he's her little arm could just come out and hit any of those sort of scratchy sticks or anything like that so taking all those safety precautions in the first place my mom always said to me prevention is always better than the cure so making sure that you've got everything you know covered in the first place so that you know having to kind of fix any unnecessary injuries or or problems with that but yet there's nothing worse than having a beautifully settled baby and sound asleep and you get them in there then they startle and touch like a hod hod edge to something and it it startles them and upsets them and then you got to start all over again so when you have all those safety precautions in place you know you just when it goes like that it's going to be eating fabric something soft it's not gonna be hitting anything shop and then you can just move on and get over it get through it pretty quickly say yeah is this the nest because I think it's so beautiful I don't know about you is that one of the more popular props that people do end up purchasing yeah and it's funny because I have an incredibly talented friend back in australia who uses a a lot of nests and what she does is decorate them with with really vibrant colors and it suits her work so well her name is always done she does incredibly beautiful colorful work which is what she loves to do so she uses different textures uses floral arrangements all of those sorts of things so coming up with you know new ideas and reinventing like if you've got a nest just adding new things to it all the time and and yeah it's it's so fun to do but I was in a shop yesterday and I saw some little dried flowers and I thought gosh they would look so cute but I didn't bring my nest with me so I thought by the time I packed them in my suitcase they'll break in and go everywhere but I'm always looking for something to reinvent a proper sze well so yeah it's I do believe that the nest is probably one of the most popular items for newborn photographers and when you look at it the baby's positioned in there very securely and they always looked really comfortable but when I do have them in there I'd like to shoot from lots of different angles and get those different perspectives and backlighting is one of my favorite things to do so I tend tio to move my nest closer to the light I had a little bit of a reflector in there and and turn the baby's face away from the window watch it fall across its really nice anybody have any questions about that before just with a second inmate how did you shoot that you say that you stand over the baby I'm just wondering if the next was really lock how did you do that you know that is a really good question actually because I will I will come as why does a hen and I'm told so cheesy but I always make sure that my feet shoulder with the part because that's the mist most stable way to stand and when I'm leaning forward like that it is hard teo zoom right out and get the whole thing in so what I did do and I should have mentioned this earlier it's such a it's such a great question is that I shot the baby in a portrait way and then once the baby was gone I went back into my studio and I shot the nest on its own from above so I put the two images together so I was able to climb onto a box and actually get the whole nest in or a good portion of it to you is it the background in my image but I already had like the whole the whole baby in there with a little bit of the nest and then I shot it separately and I put the two together and photo shop it's so important when you have an idea and a concept like whenever I'm sitting anything up in the studio already have a visual of what it's gonna look like when it's finished so whenever we're creating props or doing anything like that we know what that final image is gonna look like so for me when I shot it I was like yeah I'm not getting it all in when they leave I'll just come back in and I'll shoot it from above and I can use that as the background and it's amazing how often I actually do that for a particular image and you know you have some people out there like oh it's too much photo shopped for me but that's what I do so to make my images look the way I want them to look it's not for everybody but that's what I do and what I actually enjoy doing because when I have I'm a bit stubborn when I have a vision off what something's goingto look like I'm going to see it through to the end I'm not going to go all that didn't quite work you know I'll think of something different next time no I'm going to try every every type of way to actually make it come teo come to life see some compositing right in some other lessons where you're going to show us how do you do some of that definitely yeah and and you know the safety of the baby is likely keeps going on about sound like a broken record but it's paramount and when we are setting up something I would much rather spend a couple of minutes putting those images together and photo shop then you know worrying about trying to get it all perfect right there and then because the more time we spend on setting those images up to get them absolutely perfect in every single element perfect in camera the longer our clients sitting in our studio so and the amount of time that it would take me to actually sit there and get everything right or you know take a ll the safety precautions of climbing up onto a letter or something like that I could have just come back in taking a quick shot downloaded it and put them together and it really doesn't take long to pop a couple of images together in photo shop which are mostly going to show you a swell yeah when the clients bring their own crops do you look at them and say okay that's not my style you know take it back home kind of thing on the nice way or do you still implement the props that they bring with them yes so for me when my clients contact me and they ask the like my pricing and information I send them out the pdf file and at the very end of it it actually has in their sentence that I have lots of props for you to choose from so I am I don't encourage them to bring something there and then but then in my checklist for what to sort of remember to bring to the session you know if they have something that means a lot to them something that's special to bring along but yes sometimes I do get things brought along that aren't necessarily my style but that's okay because it's not about me they're hiring made of photograph there baby um I've got to remember that it's not all about me as a photographer and what I'm going to create its about capturing what my clients want they're paying me to do a job so I have to listen to them and their needs if they bring something along that doesn't suit my style I simply don't show it on social media or the internet unless of course it's something really really cute and I go all look what my clients bought two decision so I'm actually saying you know this is not mine this belongs to the client so that I don't have another client come along in a week and go oh I want to use that you know I saw it on your facebook page but yet incorporating something that's they've taken the time to bring I will definitely do but not a lot of clients actually bring large props billy iran they did but they don't seem to now and I think it has a lot to do with the information that we provide our clients with and wording in away said it it's like a you know you don't have to bring anything we just gotta pack out bag and come along they don't need to worry about going through the house and bringing props and bits and pieces but when you are starting out I think that's actually something that you could do when you don't have a lot to choose from you could ask them if they have anything in their house which is what I used to do when I was traveling to their homes will be like quality mind if I use a couple of things that I've seen and it's funny like you'd see like a fruit bowl and crazy as that sounds not not a glass one or not a ceramic one but like a sort of like a nest east offer it going like oh I'd love to use that so incorporating some of their things and musician is a great a great way to sort of um add some variety definitely right here my next one is a crate it's like a box a wooden box a crate and I found them in so many different places and like all my props I find them don't tend to buy a lot of them from prop shops online and that's how I I differentiate myself from other photographers I'm looking in home wear stores I'm looking in antique shops not the really expensive one I'm looking in secondhand stores curbside pickup people throw things out of this terrible be amazed at what I've sent my husband to collect and ebay is also another really great place for people to get rid of things but I found in large cities where there are a lot of photographers you go into the second hand stores and there's not really a lot in there I left because they've been they've been emptied by every other photographer but when you travel out around two smaller towns but people have its incredible so I have to go to visit my grandparent's in a small country town in yourself files there's some great chops down there and the lady that imports things from china and turkey and it just adds such a great mix to what what I have in my studio but always looking for something that's different and I always get asked if I sell the props that I don't use anymore and I don't because I never know when I might want to use it again but I don't necessarily want my props that I've taken all that time to find used by somebody else because I'm just that type of person that takes complete ownership of it and if I don't want to use it now than it gets stored come out now out out shit out the back so that it is always there to choose from but yet it's incredible when you put something away for a period of time and then you go back and look atyou like all will actually have some some new fibers also new textures that can go with that particular problem so you can start to re invent them again and even painting them and sanding them back the one in the middle it's um it's got like this bluey kind of white paint on one side and then on the other side it's got like a pink type of paint so I don't know what whoever owned it prior to me what they used it for but I love those sort of you know missing matching colors that you can use one side for a girl on one side for a boy because it's got pink and blue on it and making it really versatile so it's the same box in that last image so I've lined it and just used to completely different ways so I've lined it with towels and cloth nappies to really fill it up make it phone create that sort of little wellness too in the middle of it and then popped a blanket over the top and tuck that baby and it's such a you know such a versatile thing to use and then the other thea other rid crate it's actually a really similar size to the the other to all the other one and those two images and it's just a way that I've created that shelf at the front for the baby to be able to come up and sit on but that the bottom is much lower inside the crate so it's nice and secure nice and stable yeah but adding different textures and fibers and you can see again that the baby is not actually in contact with the property at any time and things like that that would definitely have splinters on it I've actually given myself a splint to sitting it up like in the knuckle hitting the sides so you've got to be really really careful with things like that and then he takes one sort of little startle to get that um for that to happen but yeah I used my wood flooring in behind things like this and I've got a white wood flooring in the middle and then my timber on the outside but yet any of you guys use any of those particular props in your sessions what do you use the most um I actually have a little crate that I use and it's it's really versatile because I can use it not only for a newborn on their back looking up or resting on the edge but I can also use it for an older baby it helps to put maybe a six month old that isn't fully sitting on ported they can sit in there on dh have blankets around them to add extra texture or even a smaller baby if you set it up right they can kind of tuck in if it's leaning against a wall or something so I really like my crate prop a lot yeah yeah create a great prop to have in the studio you khun disuse them in seven different ways and I love like the point that she made about older babies and supporting them that can't quite sit up properly so having things like that and those bowls really create that support by being able to put blankets and towels and things like that and around them a similar stories for her but for using the bucket on one thing like she's saying you could use it different ages the buckets could also be flipped upside down for a child to sit on them eso you know even a two year old or three year old can sit on it while another sibling is standing next to them or like that and then the newborn you can have it flipped over imposed different ways either curled up in the bucket or um you know with the crisscross position to so yeah the versatility of the sizes and ages are really try to look for that when I'm looking at the props yeah definitely I love using the bucket for when I have like a sibling that won't lay down on my beanbag so much younger sibling and you know they're not really sure what's going on they've come to this studio this house or you're in their house and they're not quite understanding everything that's going on the whole world has been turned upside down you've we've got this big camera in their face you want them to sit and lay down in that vulnerable position on that bean bag and and and they're not going to do it there is no amount of bribing or convincing to get these like a little toddlers that are under two years of age to do that so I used my buckets and I photographed the baby separately and then I'll photograph them with the bucket and it's such a great way to have a couple of toys and destroy them from where I'm photographing so they land inside the bucket so they're looking in there so when I put the two images together it looks like they're looking he's looking like one of the total is looking at the baby but yeah it is such a great safe way to use a bucket and that versatility is really good with that definitely I used my nests a lot night wrapped the wool around it and be able to change that with textures and stuff like that so I like my nests more than I use anything else yeah and the nest is such a great way to wrap the baby so if you have a particular style like I was talking about my friend you know she she has an incredible style about the way she photographs babies so if that's something that you like doing and you find it easier to work with babies when they wrap um nests and bowls and things like that as such an incredible tool to have in your studio question um do you decide on which setting you're going to use so like the crate or bowl with a combination ofthe layers based on the baby's skin tone and hair color for example if there's a way that's really fair skin and really planned would use something really dark and create contrast or would you go for something more that blends in yeah that is a really good question actually because if the baby comes in with black here I'm not going to photograph it on a really really dark background because in post its going to look darker and you're gonna lose that detail in the hair but the same if you've got a baby was really fear here you can usually see this gap underneath that said I don't tend to worry too much about that but definitely using some form off contrast when I'm shooting babies with certain skin colors and stuff like that but when it comes to liar ing all of my props and styling those with different textures and colors it'll sort of start at the beginning of my session when I walk through what we're going to do with my clients we talk about colors we talk about setups and so that when they're looking at the props and possibly deciding what we're going to use based on the blankets that I've used in my posing bag at the beginning of the session then also to start to tie in similar tones into the props because what I want my images to do at the end of the day is have a similar color palette so that they look good sat beside hanging on the wall which is where all my images displayed so when I'm working on my bag if I'm using like you know sort of natural brownie earthy tones that I'm going to incorporate those same tones into my props if I'm using gray then I would you know use more props that have those gray tones in them and that's why I'm keeping it in that similar color palette but yes I will always keep in mind the color of the hair because I don't know about you but when I have a client that comes in with baby with lots of dark here they just love it you know and they make little jokes about the long bits at the back and mohawks and things like that when they when they really touch base on those things and they make comment I'm going to go out of my way to photograph them because something that they love so I want to really incorporate that into position and not lose it with similar color palettes definitely yeah yeah a few more questions you just were mentioning the prop bag again tell them about the different kinds that you've tried to use in the past that haven't worked out how did how did you end up at that one that is kind of your biggest problem today yeah in the beginning I couldn't afford opposing bag they were quite expensive to me when I first started out so I had a beanbag and I am a teardrop shaped being back and I pulled it up and I twisted the top and tied it in a knot and turned it upside down and I think they used that for about two years like that and you know if it's not broken why get rid of it so I continued to use it and I just lined it with layered it sorry with lots of old blankets that I had laying around the house and you're going to places like I care and buying their really fight the cheap five dollars police police blankets and lining them with those and I didn't even have a backdrop stand back then so I would just turn up two clients homes with my clamps and I would get there the kitchen table chairs and I'd line them up and I put my backdrop up to those so I really made do with what I had the next bag that I had after that was a much larger posing bag and I just found it took up so much room in my car and also in my studio at the time and it was a suede e type of fabric so whenever I would try and push my cough nappies underneath it it sort of stopped them from moving and it would grip and I couldn't mold them as well around the baby so then I moved on to my next posing bag which have still got now and it came under the airplane all the way here for miss julia and it's funny because whenever I go through customs or anything like that they always question me about what's inside my bag did get asked if there was a body in there today so yeah and but it's it's like a vinyl so it means that when I'm positioning my supports underneath that they can be moved in positions really well and it's not as big it's big enough to put you know like a small total or on there and hold the baby and things like that but it's it's not too too big that it takes up too much room so yeah and what's the tone of it the color mine's white yeah and the suede one was a brown and my beanbag my original beanbag was actually similar to the color on the floor here like a sandy kind of color so yeah it but not that you ever really see the color of it but white always to me I've got in my studio white floors white wall so if you ever see any orbit it's nice and white definitely so you mentioned some that of those bags that didn't work in the beginning are there other props that youth I thought as you know over the years would be your go to essential props that you found don't work because I bet there are other people out there who might be trying to yeah always we're going to cover in a little while like some of the props that are out there that you know for me unsafe and they probably the reasons why they didn't work for me because he just couldn't position the baby and them properly and you know so many times I would go into a shop and see a beautiful bath gonna be like oh wow I can position a baby and they like that I have tried it didn't work and then I tried again it didn't working but damn so even though I said before you know I'm going to do whatever it takes to get it but when you're when you're positioning a baby inside something you need room around them and a couple of props didn't quite have enough room at either end or had a handle which prevented me from sort of putting the baby in there safely and things like that but yeah I've come across quite a few items and reinventing them you know like if I've got a big big basket with handle on and handle can be removed I'll take it off so using them in a way that I hadn't originally planned but still trying tio come up with something that's different but yeah it's funny because all often find something that I love and I'll purchase it and I'll put it in my studio I'll play with it will line up with different things and we'll put the fake baby in there and we'll see how it looks and fitz and I'll I get all my client in and no one we'll choose it for months and I could just want to see what it's going to look like and I'll set something up and they just don't want to use it or if I am you have like an older prop that I rained then nobody wants to use it so it is a little bit a game I suppose that I play with myself like you know I'm gonna put it here on a position in here so it's at the front they can't miss it but what we have to remember when we are working with props is that we can visualize what the baby's gonna look like in there but our clients can so one of the biggest tools that I have in my studio is my album and it's filled it's the album that I sell and it's filled with all the photos that I have taken over the last few years using props because when clients come into our studio you know I created it so that they see these shelves with all my beautiful beautiful props and buckets and bowls and nest and everything positioned on there in a certain way so that when they come in they get that wow factor but they don't know like they look at them and they they they don't do what we do they can't visualize how the baby's going to be positioned in the current thinking just put it in new like they don't know that so what I say to them is you know I'm going to get you to choose a couple of props that were goingto use throughout session if you have any questions whatsoever just let me know but there's an album there you afraid and have a look through the pictures and then you can see how I've used those props in previous sessions and then that way they can start to get an idea of what they like and if they're kind of looking at a picture and I'm over here working and I can kind of see them out of the corner of my eye if they point to something in there looking like oh wow then I'm going to try and create something similar you know for them because I'm getting a really good fuel as to what they want and what they like but yeah that's a that's a question can do we have any other questions in here yes one more question over here you mentioned that you put your other props are weighing and for the image that's in your album is one off your props that you have parker way would you go outside and pick it up if they want that specific prop yeah no I would actually but but if they can't see it on the shelf I suppose it's you know like they they might see something in there and then look up onto the shelf but I think I've pretty much got everything that's in the album because it's from the last couple of years so some of the props that are in my shed things that I've had right from the very beginning you know back in two thousand eight old suitcases that I used to use and no longer in my album and and things like that they probably used his more decorative tools in my house but I get really good question because you have if you're showing something you have to have it available if you're advertising your work whether it's in an album in your studio on social media or on your website you know and your client comes in and says I want this you've got to be able to have it there but if you don't have it then you have to say sort of when you're posting an image if it belongs to a quiet then you know this this was a great prop I found in the client's home or look at this beautiful prop that my clients bought with them but yes you do have to be consistent with what you're showing the client's definitely that's a really good question as well maybe one more question where would you encourage people to kind of look for these five essential props or engage with people pinterest facebook to try to find things locally yeah I'm definitely getting ideas from pinterest and places like that but I don't know for me it's just going out and finding what catches my attention I love going into west elm here so get caught up in all the different things that are inside that shop and I want to take everything home but I can't so yeah for me it's it's just you know going out and about and having a look around and finding something that's different something that suits my brand and I do have color I use a lot of natural tones and things like that but I do have color so my second hand stores and probably my go to place and I've used you know antique shops there are online prop shops that sell individual pieces and there's a prop shop in australia that I use for you know that I've bought a bowl from and it's it's a beautiful bowl and but it's I bought it from her even though I know so many people that have got it because it's got great versatility so if I can see something that I can use in multiple ways then that's a great investment but if it's a prop that somebody else has gotten there's only really you know and I'm buying it because they've got it which I used to do then and there's only kind of one on possibly two ways to photograph that item it's not really going to be a good investment for me but when I first started out you know I only had the middle bucket the pale and um old fruit ball so you know it's it's it's something that you build on from time you know with time and it's um it's taken me a long time to collect all of my props I didn't just go out and buy them all I really spent the time finding them and finding things that were true to my my brand in my style but yeah it's do not go out and spend all your money on props that's something that should come into your cost of doing business your budget um and allocating a specific amount of money because you don't need a lot of things I just wanted to share with you my five essential props so that I can show you how I use them in a session and the different ways that I can use them and the options that I have for my clients but you can kind of see with all of the the props that I've shown you when I'm posing on my posing bag you know I've got my four poses they might go to my four four poses I use all of those in my props so we've got them on their belly on their back you know up front and on this side in a lot of other props as well so it's all very very basic very very simple and I want to be able to make sure all times that baby's safe very exciting

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Home Studio Checklist
What To Expect At Home
What To Expect In Studio
Preshoot Prep for Mothers
Marketing Plan
Pricing Guide
Posing Guide
Prop Guide
Resource Guide
Adorama Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


What an awesome class! I actually started watching this, not because I was interested in newborn photography, but because I thought I could pick up some good ideas for photography in general. Kelly is such an inspiring person and so professional and such a good communicator that she has a lot to offer any photographer. I actually have been inspired to try newborn photography and can't wait to implement the multiple ideas Kelly has so generously given. I think it is wonderful for the profession of photography that she has the spirit to freely share what she knows to help those who are seeking advice and knowledge. Thank you!

Jennifer Traylor

I cannot say enough to relay the feeling of gratitude and appreciation for this class. I was very fortunate to be chosen as a studio audience member for this course and what I have taken away from this class will never be forgotten. Kelly pours herself into this class both on the head knowledge of photography and the heart knowledge of building a business and making it work in your life. She is such an amazing soul and I will treasure this experience always. This class is so thorough and works amazingly both all on its own or as a supplement to her other classes. You will not be disappointed. Her knowledge, her demeanor, her care, is brilliant. She pulls you right in, and even as an online viewer/purchaser for the previous two classes, I was able to feel her connection with the audience. She is an amazing teacher!!!! Kelly rocks, Kelly amazes, Kelly loves! Buy it today!!!! You will not regret it!!!!!! And don't forget, purchases get TONS of amazing bonus materials including extra videos and PDF's and manuals. This class is a bargain!!!!!


I really have been so happy & blessed Kelly to learn from you! You are gentle and I love your spirit in which you share your "Art". I am a Nurse and worked Hospice for many years. Many of my co-workers and I recently lost our nursing positions due to department integration and have decided that my passion and love for taking photos of children and babies is something I would like to pursue. I am learning so much Kelly from the way you take the time to gently get the baby in position, follow the baby's lead and enjoy the parents and each moment of the creative process. I am not at all a professional and am just really learning, but am enjoying practicing on my friends children and babies and of course my 4 month and 4 year old grandchildren. Thank you for providing free classes as I would not be able to afford any classes at this time in my life. You have a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing so eloquently! You have made a difference in my life. Patty from AZ

Student Work