Well, hello there! I’m a newborn photographer in Seattle. After years of using the bean bag (and yes, I tried the dog bed too), I converted to a posing table for newborn photography for using fabric backdrops.
I now use this table (with legs shortened so table is about 17.5″ tall) and the Hello Little Props Shapeshifters. Here’s a loose DIY on how I did it. If you are crafty or fancy yourself to do DIY newborn bed props (and have the tools), it’s a pretty easy project.
- Dog Bed – Gen7Pets Trailblazer (Large) Cool-Air Cot for Dogs (found on Amazon)
- Table – Lifetime 37″ Square Fold In Half Table (found on Amazon)
- Long Zip Ties
- Pipe Cutter (for metal and plastic)
- 2″ Screws and Lock Nuts
- 2×6 Board
- Resin Shims
- 1″ Plastic Pipe
You only need the main top piece (what’s shown above). There is a middle bar that needs to be removed (so it’s not under baby and you can easily slide posers under baby for support). Open the velcro at the front of the bed to expose the bar. I used a copper pipe cutter (by Rigid). Expect a blister on your thumb from all the tightening and turning (maybe grab a gardening glove)….it takes time, but eventually you’ll cut it. I made my cuts on the outside of the straps as seen below to keep the black mesh tight. I used a metal file to smooth over the edges.
What makes this dog bed so awesome it is already has a built-in frame that extends up to help with blanket fall-off and reduces background work in post. But, for good measure, I wanted it raised a bit more. (I’m a big fan of “get it right in camera”, and want to remove unnecessary work in post where I can). Adding the 2×6 board is completely optional. You can secure the bed with zip ties right to the table and call the day done! But, if you want the extra 2″ height in the back, follow along! (And…..if you love bucket shots like I do….the added height is GREAT for doing the bucket under fabric ????)
You’ll measure the wood to the length of the table (about 37″). You’ll need 2″ screws and lock nuts. It seems simple enough to just get your drill bit and drill the holes for the table & wood. But…..you need to be mindful and ask yourself “Do I want to collapse my table and store it away when I’m not using it?”. If the answer is yes, do NOT drill your holes where the legs will fold up (as the nuts will prevent it from closing flat). Use your best judgement on the screw placement and secure the wood with screws/nuts.
Secure the dog bed to the board and table. Place the bed, centered and toward the back of the table and then lightly trace a line around the edge of the dog bed on the board. Because the dog bed is now raised 2″ higher than the table, the back has a rise. I wanted it secure, so there was no wiggle with fabrics, so I used shims for added support. I pre-drilled a hole through the inside dog bed frame AND shim (as seen in the picture below) and roughly where the zip tie lines up with the wood, I made a pencil mark (just outside the trace line). Using eye hook screws (2 on each side, so a total of 4 needed), I screwed them at the pencil mark. Now you’ll simply thread the shimmed dog bed ziptie through the eyehole screw and secure.
Add more zipties to the side of the table (again, drilling through the inside bar of the dog bed and through the table.) When the dog bed is secured to the table, the bulk of the hard work is complete. And this next step is optional too. To make the fabric smooth along the side and have there be a natural transition to the sides, I added a 1″ plastic pipe (cut to the length of the remaining side of the table). Again, to account for the rise, I stack TWO shims toward the back and secured it with zipties.
Now you’re done! Congratulations!! See the pictures below of table set up, and, folded up so you can store it away when not being used. Enjoy!
And a little “before and after” during a session.
Anticipating any potential questions – I shoot with an Einstein light, Nikon D5 and 50mm. I have MANY layers of fabric under the baby to add padding and softness, as well as to reduce wrinkles. In these set ups above, I did not use any clamps. However, during a session as needed, I will clamp the fabric to the front of the table to keep it pulled tight.