When choosing the best wraps for newborn photography, you need to consider fabric types, amount of stretch, size, colour and texture.
WHY DO NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHERS USE WRAPS?
Newborn photographers use lengths of fabric to wrap newborn babies for posed portrait sessions. Wraps are used to secure and comfort the newborn, but can also be used decoratively to style the image. Certain properties of a wrap, such as their stretch or texture, will determine their best use.
HOW BIG SHOULD A NEWBORN WRAP BE?
Fabric wraps for newborn photography are typically around 1 – 1.5 meters in length and around 40cm in width. That’s approximately 40 – 60 inches long by 16 inches wide.
Use these dimensions as a guide when you’re starting out. As you become more experienced with wrapping, you may find your own preferences vary a little, depending on your style and your favourite wrapping techniques.
If you’re purchasing fabric for a matching backdrop, I like to buy around 2 meters in length. Backdrop width will need to suit your posing bag/frame setup, which can vary. For me, that’s around 1.75m to comfortably fit across and over the sides of my posing bag.
USING WRAPS TO COMFORT AND SETTLE A BABY
For wraps which are used to comfort and settle the baby, choose a super-soft, stretchy fabric, such as jersey or t-shirting fabric. Look for a 4-way stretch if available as this will allow you to stretch the fabric across both its width and length, for maximum flexibility. This makes it easier to wrap and hold the baby securely. Of course, remember to avoid wrapping too tightly, as this can restrict airways and put too much pressure on bones and joints.
Watch the video below where Kelly explains how to test for tension when using wraps for newborn portrait photography.
Look for fabrics with detail and texture to use as decorative layers. Choose fabrics which suit your brand style in terms of pattern, colour tones, and embellishments such as frayed edges.
In addition to prop vendors and fabric stores, keep your eye out for scarves which may be suitable for use as newborn wraps.
If you have a piece of fabric which you love, but it doesn’t have a lot of stretch, this may be suitable for use as a decorative wrap. A decorative wrap can be used as an outer layer, over a stretchy base wrap.
WHAT OTHER FABRICS ARE SUITABLE FOR NEWBORN WRAPS?
Cheesecloth wraps often have a large amount of flexibility in them. In the video, Kelly explains because of this amount of stretch, she likes to use cheesecloth for her pretzel style of wrap, or her basic back pose wrap, as the fabric holds the baby in place well. This fabric also photographs beautifully and is soft enough that it doesn’t irritate the baby.
Take care with heavily textured fabrics directly on the baby’s skin. In the early days of newborn portraiture, textured rayon wraps were very popular. However, these can leave indentations on baby’s skin, which takes a little while to clear – similar to marks tight clothing or socks leave on your own skin.
TIPS FOR CHOOSING WRAPS FOR NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY
- Choose colours which complement the rest of your set. You want your wrap, backdrop, outfit and props to work in harmony.
- Avoid fabrics which may irritate or itch baby’s skin, causing them discomfort.
- Take care with using textures which may leave indentations on baby’s skin.
- Avoid fabrics which easily pill or fray, and check the condition of your wraps before use. Look for anything which can catch on baby’s fingers, or stray into their mouth. It’s also visually preferable to have neat looking surfaces.
- Choose soft, stretchy fabrics for your base wrap.
- Use textured fabrics or those with minimal stretch, for an outer decorative layer.
WHERE TO BUY WRAPS
Prop vendors and fabric stores offer newborn wraps in a large range of shapes & sizes, fabric types, and textures. It’s handy to have a bit of variety to work with, and you’ll get to know which materials you prefer for different situations.
But don’t forget to look for something a little different by going out to trade shows and fabric stores to touch and feel what’s available.
And you can also check out department and accessories stores for inexpensive scarves.
BASIC NEWBORN WRAP KIT
Like all props and wardrobe, wraps are an investment in your business, but the cost can add up quickly. So choose wisely. Focus on items which complement your brand. Stick with colours and tones which YOU love.
Later on, you can build your collection to a wider variety of colours and textures if you wish to meet clients’ custom requests. Perhaps budget for this by setting yourself a business milestone and once you achieve that target, add a little to your collection.
NEWBORN WRAPPING TUTORIALS
We hope these tips for choosing wraps for your newborn photography prop collection have been useful. If you are still working on perfecting your wrapping techniques, we highly recommend Kelly Brown’s Wrapping Tutorials to help guide you.
These easy to follow wrapping videos will show you how to achieve 9 different wrapping styles, and includes the best-kept secrets on how to capture each wrap with camera angles, lighting, and posing.