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What is the Best Filling for a Newborn Photography Bean Bag?

How to fill a Newborn Photography Bean Bag with No Mess?

Unzip your posing bean bag to add the filling. Have one person hold open the unzipped portion so that as the bean bag hangs down it is barely touching the floor.

Slowly pour the bean bag filling into the posing bean bag (a funnel can be created out of poster board and tape if desired but is not necessary).

As you begin to get close to the top, zip up the bean bag and vigorously shake the bean bag up and down tapping it on the floor as you go. This will cause the filling to settle.

Continue to add filing and repeat the shaking as necessary to create more room.

Once you are very close to completely full, reach your hand inside the bean bag and try to reposition the filling over to the sides of the filling zipper so that you have more room to get more filling in.

Repeat this step several times until your bean bag is as full as possible with a medium level of effort.

Re-zip your bean bag.

If filling your bean bag with no mess is important to you and you want a high performance filling for newborn photography, check out the filling comparison guide below

How can I tell if my newborn photography bean bag is full enough?

The firmness in a bean bag comes from the filling material being stuffed tightly inside the bean bag and from the filing compacting or settling. Over-stuffing will cause your bean bag to become overly rounded on top. I prefer my bean bag as firm as possible but I also don’t want the top to be overly rounded. Personally, I stuff my bean bag enough to create some rounding on top and then I compact the filling by leaving a heavy flat object on top for a while.

Even if you purchased the suggested amount of filling for your bean bag, please use the insight provided to know if your bean bag is full enough.

Should I add or remove filling to my newborn photography bean bag over time?

Filling settles and compacts over time. Additional filling will need to be added (especially at first) to maintain your usage preferences. You might also choose to add or decrease the amount of filling as your usage preferences evolve over time.

What is the best filling to use for a Newborn Photography Bean Bag?

Types of Newborn Photography Bean Bag Filling

I’m just going to use simple names of 3 various filling options. The names on the actual packages from various manufacturers will vary.


Tiny beads of Styrofoam filling are often small beads of virgin Styrofoam or shredded bits of recycled Styrofoam. This type of filling is soft and compacts very well. Between the Tiny and Large filling option, this works much better because a firmer bean bag can be achieved through compacting. Be prepared to add more filling as needed to maintain the desired firmness of your bean bag. I recommend leaving a heavy flat object on your bean bag from time to time to compact the filling.


I don’t recommend the large filling for newborn posing. This filling is considered a premium filling and as such it is designed to last longer without needing to add additional filling. For filling a bean-bag chair, that would be desirable, but for filling a newborn posing bean bag, the Styrofoam pieces will not compact as well as other options which will make less stable posing surface.

Packing Peanuts

Included with your purchase, you received an E-Workshop on how to set up your bean bag and backdrop for optimal results and how to introduce posing contour. If you are following the advice in the E-Workshop for setting up your bean bag, then I can highly recommend packing peanuts for filling your bean bag. The unique S shape of packing peanuts allows them to interlock when compressed so that a very rigid posing surface can be created. The posing surface will still be moldable, but much more rigid than with traditional bean bag filling. The overall texture of the bean bag will be course with packing peanuts as filling, but proper set up of your backdrops (which is needed when introducing posing contour) will smooth out any coarseness in the bean bag itself caused by the larger filling.

Packing peanuts are a much cheaper filling option that is virtually mess free (especially with anti-static packing peanuts).

Here is an example of some anti-static packing peanuts that can be purchased from Amazon: 3-1/2 cu (26 gal) ft Pink Anti Static Packing Peanuts. Styrofoam S-shaped packing peanuts are often available at local shipping supply stores as well. If you choose to purchase them locally, I would suggest comparing the price to the Amazon example provided.

Be sure to follow the filling instructions to ensure that your bean bag is full enough for the packing peanuts to interlock appropriately. Also note that adding additional filling over time is typically necessary, but trouble and mess free with packing peanuts.

Is there a Better Alternative to a Newborn Photography Beanbag?

Newborn photography bean bags have many shortcomings. Luckily, the market place has responded and there are better alternatives available. The biggest issue with a standard newborn photography bean bag has to do with safety. For added safety, the bean bag must be rectangular in shape to match the shape of the backdrop which would be placed on top of it. It is not safe to have a rectangular backdrop stretched over a round bean bag because it won’t be clearly obvious where the edge of the bean bag is. The next problem with a standard newborn photography bean bag is that they do not have a rigid front edge. A rigid front edge is required so that the edge of the bean bag will not cave in while you are working and create an unsafe surface for baby. To address all of these concerns, I would suggest the Newborn Cloud Rigid Front Wall Bean Bag if you are looking for a traditional bean bag. If you are looking for an alternative to a bean bag with the bonus of added bounce, then I would suggest considering this elevated pet bed… as long as your are willing to build an H shaped wooden platform to screw the legs into for added stability.

I hope that this information was useful to you and that you will share this page with any of your friends who may be interested! Thanks!