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Best lens for shooting newborns?

Lana K , Sep 14, 2011; 01:48 p.m.

I want to try shooting a newborn baby but not sure what lens to go with. I see these Anne Geddes type photographers and not sure what they use to get the image of the newborn so sharp, every body part is in focus. I use Canon 5d and have 50mm 1.4 and 24-70 2.8.

Responses

Lorne Sunley , Sep 14, 2011; 02:45 p.m.

They probably stop down the lens so that they get at least 3 to 6 foot depth of field. Say f/8 or f/11 at 70mm with the baby about 10 feet away, or f/8 at 50mm with the baby 8 feet away.

The closer in you get the more you have to stop down to get the depth of field, or you have to go to a wider angle, like 24mm at f/5.6 with the baby about 5 feet away.

Marlon Kuhnreich , Sep 14, 2011; 03:49 p.m.

You have the 2 best lenses to shoot a baby with. Or, a pretty good starting point, I'd say. The 85mm 1.2 or the 70-200mm are also good for that.

Anne Geddes also works in a studio environment with excellent lighting that lets her shoot at f/11 - f/16.

Allen Hale , Sep 14, 2011; 10:28 p.m.

Lensbaby? Sorry I could not resist. I know that I should have.

Marios Forsos , Sep 15, 2011; 09:29 a.m.

+1 to Marlon's comments. Anne shoots with approximately (if I remember from a long ago article) 4-5 studio strobes, so shooting at f/11 or f/16 would be easy, thereby guaranteeing excellent sharpness.

In your case, a tripod, a large window with plenty of light (maybe filtered through a white bedsheet) and f/8 should work just fine...;-)

M├Ątt Donuts , Sep 15, 2011; 02:48 p.m.

I agree with everyone, you have all you need in lenses to get a great shot.

I just hope you have a decent flash. That's going to make or break a picture more than anything else. There's a million+ ways to take their picture, when you settle on one there's now a million+ ways to use the flash.

You can get excellent results bouncing the flash, and I would practice on how to do it if you're not familiar already. For babies I personally like to set my camera to 800 iso, the higher the ISO the more background will come in with flash (100 iso the background will typically be almost pitch black) and have the flash bounce come in from the side or behind. I know all the instruction booklets say to bounce the flash at a near 45 degree angle in front of you and your subject, I actually find aiming it 45 degrees BEHIND me and my subject produces much better results in most cases. So does having it come from the side. If the baby is looking sideways typically you want to make sure when the flash bounces that it comes back in a way to light up the babies face (vs. the back of their head if aimed incorrectly). Make sure you get close shots of the fingers, feet, with shallow DOF.

Andrew Garrard , Sep 16, 2011; 11:00 a.m.

It won't make a difference to the "every body part in focus" thing - the only type of lens that could help more than simply stopping down would be a tilt/shift, which is vastly overkill - but if you're tempted to go shopping, could I suggest a macro lens of some kind (either Canon's 100mm, or a Tamron 90mm/Tokina 100mm/Sigma 105mm) might help you get very close details?

rob mulligan , Sep 20, 2011; 12:04 p.m.

Your lenses are fine. The lighting is key. The best advise I got for shooting my newborn was by a child photographer named Cindy Detres from Puerto Rico. She's very good.
http://detresphotography.synthasite.com/
That is: Make sure the baby is fed and happy Get the room to 90 degrees. If you'r sweating, the baby is comfortable. Shoot by window light if possible. Strobes may cause the baby to jump or wake up. Bed patient. Expect poop and pee. Poop happens. Hahahahahahaha!
Good luck!!!

Dave Redmann , Sep 22, 2011; 09:35 a.m.

IMOPO (as a purely amateur photographer and a father of three, soon to be four), what you have is good, but a little short on a 5D, so maybe add an EF 85mm f/1.8 or an EF 70-200mm f/4 IS.* Then just stop down to f/8 or f/11 or maybe even f/16. If doing so requires too slow shutter speeds, dial up the sensitivity to ISO 1600 or even 3200, or of course there are many ways to all light (on-camera flash rarely being one of the better ones, if you have other realistic options).

*If neither cost nor weight / bulk is an object, you could of course look at the EF 85mm f/1.2 L and the EF 70-210mm f/2.8 L IS. Neither lens will help you get more depth of field / more of the baby in focus, but either will give you a brighter viewfinder for composing.

skye cala , Sep 27, 2011; 10:07 p.m.

Canon 50mm f/1.4 - no question! Its amazing and an inexpensive lens that will pay for itself :)

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