The most popular lenses for portrait photography typically have focal lengths of 50mm – 100mm, and whilst these are ideal for photographing older children, teens and adults they are not the best choice for newborn photography.
If you want to get engaging newborn shots it is crucial to get up close and personal, and the only way to do this is to shoot with a wider lens. You can get away with a 50mm lens, but ideally you want to shoot wider than this. I’m not suggesting dusting off the 10mm ultra-wide angle lens but I am saying you need to shoot wider than 50mm. In my experience the ideal focal lengths for newborn photography are 24mm – 35mm.
Using lenses of focal lengths from 24mm – 35mm allows you to get right up close and personal in order to get a cute and engaging shot without distortion being a problem. Whilst the majority of my newborn photography is done with a lens of 24mm – 35mm there are times when I will use my nifty fifty.
The lenses I use for newborn photography
I shoot a Canon camera and, other than my Canon 50mm f1.8, I only shoot Canon L lenses (for the reasons why take a look at “Why I only shoot Canon L lenses”) the lenses I use for newborn photography consists of just two lenses as follows:-
Since most of my newborn photography is shot using focal lengths of 24mm – 35mm you won’t be surprised to discover I mainly use the 16mm – 35mm F4L IS lens. This lens not only covers my favourite focal lengths but as it is small and light it is comfortable to use and the image stabilisation allows for sharp handheld baby photos. If I could only have one lens for newborn photography this would be the lens and I highly recommend it.
A totally different type of lens for newborn photography
Earlier in this article I said that I wouldn’t suggest “dusting off the 10mm ultra-wide angle lens” however there are times when I use an 8mm fisheye lens for newborn photography. Used correctly and in the right situation love the full fisheye effect and it can be used to capture some unique and interesting baby photos.
A fisheye lens gives the ultimate in distortion, and this is its charm. Sometimes the distortion works in the photo, and sometimes it doesn’t so it is a bit “hit and miss”. Despite trying many times I still find it impossible to visualise whether an image taken with a fisheye lens will work or not. Because of this I use the fisheye on every newborn baby shoot unless the parents have absolutely no interest in a fisheye photo of course.
The fisheye lens I use is the Canon 8mm – 15mm F4L and I only ever use it at 8mm for the full fisheye effect.
If you like the above and found it interesting or useful below are links to other newborn photography articles you may want to take a look at:-
If you are considering newborn photography but have not yet taken the plunge “Newborn baby photography services” is an article you may wish to check out to help you make the final decision.
“Capturing newborn baby pictures” is an article full of tips and tricks to help you capture the best newborn photos you can.
You don’t need a lot of photographic equipment to capture awesome newborn photos. Don’t believe me? Take a look at “The equipment you need for a newborn baby photoshoot” and see for yourself.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.