Obviously if you want to remain portable and travel these will be smaller, however if you have the luxury of a studio you can use a vast variety of props.
For example some of the props I use consist of, baby baths, rocking horses, skateboards, bikes, bats and balls and a variety of others. I find an ornamental baby bath an excellent prop, it not only looks good but it stops the young child moving too far! I usually sit the bath on a table about 2 foot off the ground, the table is draped with a simple sheepskin fur and then adorned with some cheap netting material, some of which is overlapped into the bath.
Any prop similar to a mini bath is just as useful, for example a big cooking tin or storage crate. Obviously with this type of container you need to pad it out with soft material. It also a nice touch to use some white netting to fluff around the container. As I said above the biggest advantage of a container is that it contains the child from moving! Try this with your next shoot, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at it’s effectiveness to root the baby in one spot!
Last minute simple props can turn an ordinary picture into something special. One of the simplest and best tips I can give you in this respect is to place a baseball cap on the young baby’s head. What would otherwise be an ordinary shot can be turned into a memorable and amusing shot that the parents will treasure for years, just by the quick addition of a baseball cap! Experiment here, use a variety of ‘last minute’ props.
Here’s another favourite of mine, a soft white towel, which provides a natural frame for the face.
Props come in all shapes and sizes, you can use a prop bigger than the subject! You may imagine this would look awkward, however it can show the loving side of a young child cuddling their (giant!) beloved soft toy.
Remember photography is about emotions, it is about sparking that emotion in parents through the creativeness in your images.
Ideally if you are posing groups of people along with the baby, you would want to use posing stools of varying heights. For example if you want to shoot mum dad and baby it may be that dad is very tall and mum very small. You can get round this by sitting dad on a smaller posing stool.
Many photographers use a much less expensive but just as effective option, bottle crates. These can be arranged and stacked at a variety of lengths and heights and draped with cloth similar to that of your background.
If you purchase no other props for your baby photography the two I would recommend would be a small baby bath and a big soft bean bag. The bean bag is excellent for positioning very young babies in a way that allows them to feel safe and comfortable and allows you to root them to one spot.
A Chaise Lounge is also an ideal prop for children around 9 months, who are finding their feet! The curvature on the back is ideal for them to lean over and the height of the back is perfect for this age. When looking for ideas for choice of props, look at some of the baby shots in mail order catalogues.