When it comes to newborn photography, selecting the right lens can greatly enhance your images. Here are the top lens options to consider:
- 35mm Lens: is a great lens for pretty much all baby photography. It offers a wider perspective, including more of the surrounding environment.
- 50mm Lens: A popular choice for newborn photography, providing natural-looking portraits with a pleasing depth of field.
- Macro Lens: Perfect for extreme close-ups, highlighting the delicate features of newborns like eyelashes and skin texture.
While personal preference plays a role, the Canon 35mm f/1.4 lens that I choose to shoot with (it lives on my camera!) offers distinct advantages. It allows you to fit the entire baby basket prop within the frame without the need for a step-ladder and benefits working in low-light conditions and also affords extensive control over depth of field for using selective focus techniques.
However, it’s important to note that the 35mm lens may have some downsides, including potential barrel distortion, however this can be greatly improved in Lightroom. Both the 35mm and 50mm lenses are excellent options as well.
I currently use the Canon 5D Mark IV and absolutely love it for newborn photography. Its exceptional performance and image quality meet my needs perfectly.
Why I prefer prime Lenses
I prefer prime lenses for several reasons. First, they offer superior image quality compared to zoom lenses. With a fixed focal length, prime lenses are designed specifically for that one focal length, resulting in sharper, clearer, and higher-quality images.
Second, prime lenses often have wider maximum apertures, allowing more light to enter the lens. This wider aperture not only helps in low-light situations but also creates a shallow depth of field, resulting in beautiful background blur and subject isolation.
Additionally, prime lenses are typically more compact and lightweight than zoom lenses, making them easier to carry and maneuver during photography sessions.
Furthermore, prime lenses provide a consistent and predictable perspective, as they have a fixed focal length. This allows me to better anticipate the framing and compose my shots more effectively.
The 35mm Canon 1.4/f prime lens for example allows photographers to be physically close to their subjects, fostering a personal connection with family and siblings. Creating more distance with zoom lenses to achieve a greater depth of field can result in a loss of this connection and impact the authenticity of the images. The 35mm prime lens enables photographers to maintain that close connection and capture the genuine emotions within the family.
In summary, the superior image quality, wider apertures, compactness and consistency of prime lenses make them my preferred choice for newborn photography.
Why Photographers may prefer zoom lenses
Zoom lenses offer a variable focal length, allowing photographers to easily adjust the composition without changing lenses. This flexibility is particularly useful when working with newborns who may require different framing and close-up shots during the shoot. Zoom lenses also eliminate the need to physically move closer or farther away from the subject, making it easier to work within confined spaces and maintain a comfortable shooting distance.
Additionally, some zoom lenses with wide apertures can create a soft and flattering perspective with a pleasing depth of field, enhancing the focus on the newborn. Zoom lenses provide a practical and flexible solution for capturing newborn photography.
Consider your shooting Space
It’s essential to consider your shooting space. Here are some examples and reasons to guide you:
Small or Confined Spaces: If you have limited room to move around, consider a lens with a shorter focal length, such as a 30mm or 35mm or 50mm. These lenses offer a wider field of view, allowing you to capture more of the surroundings and include the necessary props or backgrounds in your shots without having to step back too far.
Large Studio Spaces: In spacious environments, you have more freedom to move and position yourself. Here, you can opt for a lens with a longer focal length, like an 85mm or 100mm. These lenses provide more compression and allow you to focus on the baby while creating a pleasing separation between the subject and the background. However, you will not be able to fit baby in frame if you are shooting from above e.g. baby in basket.
Natural Light Photography: If you primarily shoot in natural light, consider lenses with wide maximum apertures, such as f/1.4 or f/1.8. These larger apertures allow more light to enter the lens, enabling you to capture well-exposed images in low-light conditions. Prime lenses with wider apertures also produce beautiful bokeh, which can add a dreamy and artistic touch to your newborn photographs.
Studio Lighting Setups: When working with studio lighting setups, the choice of lens becomes more flexible. You can choose lenses with smaller maximum apertures, like f/2.8 or f/4, since you have control over the lighting conditions. These lenses can still deliver excellent image quality while offering a slightly wider depth of field, which can be beneficial for group shots or capturing more details in your compositions.
In summary, the Canon 35mm f/1.4 lens is highly recommended for newborn photography due to its versatility. Remember to consider your shooting space and needs when selecting a lens. The 35mm lens is my personal favorite, offering great results in low light and beautiful bokeh at wider apertures. For any concerns about distortion, the “profile correction” option in Lightroom can be a helpful tool.
Meet Jess, a passionate photographer specializing in newborn photography based in country Victoria Australia. With a personal journey starting as a new mum struggling to learn photography while caring for a newborn, Jess understands the challenges and overwhelming experience many parents face.
Driven by a desire to help others, Jess now offers online training programs designed to empower both parents and photographers to capture beautiful moments of settled and sleepy newborns. Providing quick and easy techniques to ensure stunning newborn photographs with ease.
Whether you’re a parent wanting to capture precious moments of your newborn or a photographer looking to enhance your skills in newborn photography, Jess is here to guide you on this beautiful journey.
Join their online training programs and discover the joy of capturing those precious moments that will be cherished for a lifetime.