A DIY solution for bucket posing and forward facing poses in a hard prop.
If you use buckets for your newborn sessions then you likely have a system for getting your newborn cosy and secure in your bucket so that they can rest their head on their hands for the forward facing pose or arm dangle poses. Or maybe you randomly cram rolled up fabrics and pieces of padding in there each time and you cross your fingers that baby will be where they need to be and that they won’t sag down.
Expanding Foam Bucket Ledge- Newborn Bucket Posing Hack
Project time: 10 minutes
Cost: 20$ for 5-8 buckets
Bucket Posers on the market
There are some products on the market that are designed to help with bucket posing such as the Original Freeform Poser from Modest Little Me Boutique. I haven’t used the freeform poser myself but there are some big name newborn photographers who use them and Amy McDaniel from Dewdrops Photography showed us her pillow when I took her workshop. It’s a soft and sturdy pillow that fits right into the bucket.
Traditional Bucket Stuffing Method
The most common way that I have seen other newborn photographers stuff their buckets is by rolling receiving fabrics into tightly rolled snakes that you stack on top of one another to form a “shelf” for baby to rest on. You then top the shelf off with a decorative fabric layer or scarf. Lisa from Milk and Honey and the Milky Way has a short video on Utube that shows the process of stuffing a bucket this way.
Added bulk for bigger babies
Both of these methods will work fine and if you practice you will get a good feel for how to prepare for different sized babies. I still do the rolled blanket shelf for bucket poses but sometimes I find that the tower or blankets gets in the way of babies legs and stops me from pulling the baby close enough to the edge of the bucket. This is especially true when I photograph big babies. Another problem I run into with the fabric shelf is that the fabric can shift and move while I adjust the baby’s position in the bucket and I may end up having to add more padding underneath babies arms to lift them up higher.
I came up with a solution to address the issues I have run into with bucket posing and it’s easy and inexpensive by using expanding foam weather seal strips.
Where to buy your supplies
Pick up a roll of expanding foam weather seal from the weather proofing section in the hardware store. I bought mine from Home Depot but you can buy a similar product online from Amazon
How to attach your ledge
Unroll the foam to give it a chance to expand and then I measured the foam to be the length of one half of the bucket. I put the foam inside the bucket and I measured out the size to be just shorter than half so that the edges of the foam strip don’t meet the seam in the bucket. Cut the strip to size.
Next you want to clean the surface you will be sticking your foam onto. If your bucket is sealed you can wipe with a wet cloth then dry your surface well.
Then I press the foam on firmly to stick it securely in place. One strip of foam is enough but I like to add a second strip of foam pressed against the first strip- placed just underneath to add extra support to the top layer of foam. That’s it! You can finish this project in less than 10 minutes.
Optional Foam Cover
From here you can leave the foam exposed or you can cover the foam with a soft fabric or faux fur layer. I chose to cover the foam so you don’t have any popping out in the photos, it adds another layer of comfort, it covers the metal inside the bucket so bare baby skin doesn’t come in contact with the cold metal during posing. Finally it add friction to really stop the decorative fabric layer from slipping around.
Make your own buckets
If you are interested in how you can paint your own Rustic Bucket for newborn photography Stay tuned! I will be writing a blog post for how you can make your own rustic bucket. Subscribe to my mailing list for updates, first pick of mini sessions and discounts on artwork and prints.
For how to make hand painted beanbag fabrics see this post next.