Within Newborn Photography sessions, my favourite go-to lenses are the Canon 24-70mm T2.8 and the Canon 100mm Macro. Admittedly, the 24-70mm is my most used lens during both a newborn photo shoot and baby photo shoot. I believe it is one of the best lenses for baby photography overall.
I have been photographing babies from newborn up to 12 months old for over 5 years now, and through all the research and advice I have read from other photographers, I am very happy with my lens choices.
Because I choose to use Canon products, this blog refers to the best Canon lens for newborn photography. I also use a 5D Mark 3 camera - eagerly awaiting to get my hands on the new Canon mirrorless camera!
Why The 24-70mm Canon Zoom Lens?
As a newborn and baby photographer, I personally feel this is the best lens for newborn photography. This lens gives me the versatility I need within a Newborn Photography Session without the need to swap my lens - which can be so important! Often newborn babies are unsettled during a photo shoot and they need a bit of TLC to encourage them to fall asleep. Once I do get them settled and in a deep sleep, I need to move fast! So eliminating time by not swapping between lenses can mean the difference between capturing a great variety of beautiful newborn photos, or not. Newborn babies have 45 minute sleep cycles so it’s important to pose them as quickly as I can, capturing the precious moments as I go. I can use the 24-70mm range on the lens to achieve most of my portraits!
Why the Wide End of the 24-70mm is the best lens for newborn photos in props
The wide end of this zoom lens allows me to capture newborn babies posed in a prop, such as a basket or crate. I commonly capture these portraits at around 35mm. The 35mm is quite a popular choice for many newborn photographers. This lens size means that I can fit the whole basket in my frame including some surrounding room - and not have to climb up on a step ladder! This is also very important to me for safety reasons, as I am sure you can understand that I don’t want there to be ANY chance of falling over or on to a newborn baby! I can safely position the newborn baby in the basket and once I have settled them, simply pick up my camera and capture the perfect shot by standing above them. I also use the 35mm to capture a variety of photographs within this same set-up. I can move in closer to the baby to capture a cropped version, plus play with different angles.
I choose not to use the 24-70mm zoom lens at any wider than 35mm during a newborn photo shoot because the wider lens will distort the image too much. Although this can be corrected to a degree using editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, it is not ideal.
Distortion on the edges of your frame when using a wide lenses is very normal. An extreme example of this is a fisheye lens! Wide lenses are often used within landscape photography, but when capturing nature it’s not a big deal if you have a little distortion on the edges of your frame. However, as a portrait photographer it’s important to be aware of this issue because it is very noticeable. When photographing people, they will look strange and it will also be very unflattering if their faces are distorted! For this reason I chose to use a tighter lens for family portraits.
Why the Mid-Range on the 24-70mm is the best lens for many different newborn photos
As a newborn photographer, I love using my 24-70mm zoom lens at around the 50mm length! It is perfect for so many newborn portraits, and is also the best lens for baby photography. I can capture closer portraits of your baby’s face and this length is also ideal for particular poses, such as the hands-under-chin pose. The beauty of the 50mm is that it won’t distort your baby’s perfect face! One of my favourite techniques is to photograph your newborn baby from a particular angle ~ having their face in focus and the centre-of-attention, with their little body fading out of focus in the background. This angle also enhances those gorgeous long eyelashes that a lot of babies have!
Newborn Family Photos
The 40-50mm length of this lens is also ideal for family portraits during a newborn photography session. My photo studio isn’t huge (although it’s also not tiny!) so when posing families it's important that I can stay close to them. This is also important because I need to feed them instructions without yelling across the room, plus I find myself commonly re-adjusting their newborn baby. Keeping close to them makes the whole experience quite personal and I can also feel the love while I captur