Newborn photography is a challenging but rewarding niche to work in. Babies are challenging to photograph because they are so small, so you must take care to capture every important detail. They’re also figgity and struggle to stay still, making it all the more difficult to capture minute details.
Even so, snapping a happy moment is a rewarding experience for many families. On the other hand, it could put pressure on the photographer. It is challenging to choose the most effective lens, and in fact, you’ll need more than one to capture a variety of styles.
But don’t fret. We’ve compiled a list of the best lenses for newborn photography to get you started. Read on to find out the best models to watch out for!
The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM is an L-series lens that has two unique selling points: a hybrid image stabilization and a 1:1 macro reproduction at 30 cm minimum close-focus distance. For a fair price, it goes above and beyond what you’d expect from a macro lens, capturing all of your baby’s tiny details.
The exciting thing about hybrid image stabilization is it fixes even shift-based movements, contrary to the regular one that is limited to fixing angular camera movement. Also, having this kind of IS erases jitter in the viewfinder, giving you a clearer view of the subject — which is favorable, especially in macro photography.
The exterior and lens hood is plastic. If you don’t like the look of it, don’t worry, it has an engineered plastic exterior, which means that it’s durable and lightweight, despite the many additional optical elements. Also, because it is weather-sealed, it will last through any type of weather.
However, the wide range of focus of the lens, from 30cm to infinity, limits the overall focusing speed of the USM technology. As a result, there were only three choices: 0.3m to 0.5m, 0.5m to infinity, and Full. Make no mistake, though, because the autofocus is still excellent.
It lags slightly at max aperture, but the results are still sharp with excellent color and contrast. There may be moderate vignetting, flaring, and chromatic aberration at maximum aperture but at f/5.6 onwards, it becomes negligible. Overall, it has a great combination of lightweight and durability, as well as quick and quiet autofocus, stunning bokeh, and razor-sharp image quality.
When it comes to beauty, the Canon EF 85mm F/1.2L is hard to beat — beautiful design (the red ring indicating its L-series status blends seamlessly with the jet-black body), beautiful image quality, beautiful high-speed manual focus, beautiful bokeh, and a beautiful price — it’s everything you could want in a telephoto lens.
This lens offers impressive optical performance, sharp even wide open, but also sublime as it captures colors so naturally that they appear as they do to the human eye. From the baby’s flushed cheeks to the mother’s glossy tearful eye, everything is captured as is. These minute details are what distinguish a photo as unique and heartfelt, and EF 85mm F/1.2L delivers on that front without fail.
If there’s anything to be upset about, it’s that it’s quite heavy. The autofocus is mediocre in terms of speed, but the manual focus is a breath of fresh air, being quick, quiet, and simple to operate thanks to the camera’s USM technology. The aspherical lens element also contributes to the reduction of aberrations, vignetting, and distortion in the image.
What also makes this a good choice for newborn photography is that it is excellent at capturing still life, but it is also exceptional at capturing motion. This is useful in the event that the baby is unable to remain still. You need not be concerned because it will still capture tack-sharp images and will even leave you with a buttery soft bokeh.
When it comes to photographing newborns and mom-child portraits, the Canon 50mm f/1.2 L is one of the most sought-after lenses. The f/1.2 aperture makes it an excellent choice for professionals and hobbyists alike because it’s a reasonably priced, small, fast, and sharp prime lens.
The EF is not only portable, but it is also suitable for indoor and outdoor shots without you having to worry about ghosting and flaring, thanks to the applied Super Spectra Coating. It also boasts a weather-sealing feature, great image resolution, and contrast. Although the lack of a stabilization feature can be disconcerting, the fact that the aperture is wide enough reduces the likelihood of blurring in the final image, due to camera shake.
It is also exceptionally sharp, even in low-light conditions.
Additionally, the contrast-detect autofocus system simplifies the focusing process, but it is not particularly efficient in the case of long-distance shots. Also, purple fringing can be seen when there is a lot of contrast, which is a bit of a bummer for the viewer.
Regardless of its limitations, the camera’s edge-to-edge sharpness, beautiful bokeh, color gradient, and meticulous attention to detail make it a fantastic choice for maternity and newborn portrait photography. Professional newborn photographers will undoubtedly find this a worthwhile investment.
Do you want to commemorate your child’s birth by introducing them to the outside world? If yes, Canon EF 35mm F/2 IS is the lens for you! Just at f/2.8 aperture, this is excellent for outdoor shoots and low light conditions. The focal length creates a great depth of field and allows you to capture intimate moments while giving room for a picturesque background. Image quality and aesthetics in one frame, what else could you ask for?
If you’re looking for more, this lens is here to serve. What EF 35mm F/2 IS offers is beautiful sharp images even in low-light conditions and far-away shots. The corners tend to get a little dim, but you’d really like the clearness and sharp focus in the center. With USM technology, manual focusing is made quick, quiet, and accurate. There’s also barely any chromatic aberration or distortion.
What we also love about this is image stabilization. It made it pricier and heavier compared to the non-IS 35 f/2, but what you get in return is improved image quality — sharp, blur-free, and good peripheral image. You pay extra for weather sealing but as far as budget lenses go, you won’t go wrong with this.
If you’re looking for an extremely high-quality macro lens that also works great as light telephoto and has optical stabilization, look no further than the Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR. This is perfect for capturing special moments as your baby meets the world. The resolution, color, and contrast are top-tier. It is also consistently sharp from center to corners regardless of aperture, and renders a beautiful bokeh.
What we like about this is it’s ideal for everyday use because it’s light and easy to maneuver. The focus ring is located on the front of the barrel so you may conveniently adjust focus while shooting. However, autofocus is slower than its 85mm f/1.4G counterpart, and accuracy is a bit sluggish, there’s also field curvature and some flare and ghosting but it’s easy to correct in post-processing.
Unfortunately, despite its high price, it retains a plastic shell comparable to that of the 85mm f/1.4G. On a positive note, it made the lens smaller and lighter. The rubber gasket on the lens seals off dust but it’s not weather-sealed, but works in all weather conditions, no problem. Apart from this though, it exhibits ideal features of a lens that captures detail well, something you’d definitely want for portraiture.
Nikon Af-S Nikkor 50mm F/1.8G Lens is your ultimate budget lens perfect for beginners and hobbyists. This is such a great buy for a low price, perfect for everyday use and especially for newborn portrait photography.
This lens is not only great for low-light photography, but you can also shoot outdoors with lower ISO without worrying about shutter speed. In addition, you won’t need to spend more on a tripod thanks to its image stabilization feature that makes it suitable for hand-holding.
We also like that the lens can focus from less than 1.5 ft. As a bonus, the silent wave motor also makes concentration swift and near-silent (AF-S). This feature allows manual focus override with autofocus. Thanks to the Super Integrated Coating, you can expect minimal flaring and ghosting as well.
A downside is that a moderate distortion and vignetting is evident at maximum aperture. Fortunately, all of these can be edited during post-processing. Nonetheless, we don’t have many complaints. We already love how it produces crisp and stable images, buttery soft bokeh, and accurate color and contrast. For such a low price, it’s truly a gem we’re lucky to have discovered.
The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S has a lot of things going for it: exceptional specs and advanced features that make it versatile and revered by professionals and enthusiasts alike. But what we like best about this is consistency, whether it be sharpness from center to middle or good contrast and color under any lighting condition. This lens is pricey, but it is warranted especially given its near-perfect features.
The Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S is an extremely advanced zoom lens and packed with high-end features. Starting with its F/2.8 aperture, it’s an excellent choice for newborn photographers who want a shallow depth of field. It can also be used as a macro lens and a video lens! It is also weatherproof, making it safe to transport and use anywhere.
It has camera stabilization to make sure shots don’t come out blurry, though you will still struggle to hand-hold this because it is quite chunky and heavy. It has a mid-range zoom and near-silent and quick autofocus, which is ideal for capturing quick moments precisely. We also love the function ring that enables you to change exposure and aperture any time you want. Having such controls during a shoot makes photographing efficient, not to mention pretty with sharp image quality and beautiful bokeh.
Who knows, this might just be the camera to capture your child’s first smile!
The NIKON AF FX Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G is what professionals and hobbyists would love to have if they had the money. After all, it’s pricey, but the specs justify the price.
The versatility of this lens makes it ideal for newborn photography. At 35mm, it’s a little narrow for tight shots and a few lengths short for portraiture. So if you’re a photographer with niches outside newborn photography, this well-rounded lens is a comfort to have. This fixed semi-wide angle lens still creates a shallow depth of field and it captures locomotive subjects without blurring, which we want when photographing kids.
The center is also extremely sharp, and the focus is excellent; however, there is a tendency for distortion and vignetting at maximum aperture, but this can be corrected in post-processing. The good news is that this lens ensures excellent color and contrast even in challenging lighting conditions, so we’re confident you’ll appreciate having it in your bag. Furthermore, it has weather sealing for long-term maintenance.
Despite the fact that the exterior is made of plastic, it is durable and does not have a cheap feel to it. However, the plastic material had no effect on weight reduction. In fact, for a 35mm prime lens, it feels quite heavy. Also, although the autofocus is not as quick as the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G, it is extremely accurate and produces a near-silent sound.
To be honest, given the price, it’s a little disappointing that it isn’t near perfect. But you be the judge because honestly, this was made for versatile photographers that want intermediate specs and many features on top of professional image quality.
Third party manufacturers provide your neighborhood-friendly lenses, ones that can be mounted to other brands. Here’s two of our favorite lenses for newborn photography from third-party manufacturers!
The Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM is a state of the art lens that many professional photographers will surely love. It is sharp wide open and has impressive optics and operation performance. It is already impressive in indoor studio shots, but it is also a pleasure to have outdoors. In addition, the plastic hood and multi-layer coating protects it from ghosting and flare.
The price and weight are pretty hefty, but these are justified considering the incorporation of a lot of elements to make sure the image quality is superb. You won’t be hassled in the post-processing because the raw picture is already free from distortion, field curvature, and chromatic aberration. It has image stabilization, too and silent, quick, and accurate autofocus.
It does not have weather sealing, but it’s quite durable with its metal exterior. Overall, it’s a versatile camera with excellent build, optical and operational performance.
Referred as “the portrait macro,” the Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 has made a name for itself and is a favorite of professional newborn photographers.
This lens has good color and contrast and is consistently sharp with minimal distortion and vignetting. It captures details finely and the autofocus is accurate, but it’s not very fast and silent, which is expected in a macro lens. Switching from manual to automatic focus is also made convenient and unique by simply sliding the focus ring on the lens barrel.
It doesn’t feel bulky, and even though the exterior is plastic, it is sturdy enough. It is also ideal for hand-held use outdoors and in low-light situations. Even if your subject keeps moving around, it does not blur because of image stabilization. The weather-sealing feature is a comfort to have, too. In addition, the fluorine coating helps maintain a clean and neat look.
We wish it had a creamier bokeh and better highlights because the edges tend to take on an elliptical shape, but overall, it is a good lens. As a whole, it’s a good value lens for both professionals and intermediate photographers.
There is, in fact, no one-size-fits-all lens when it comes to photographing new babies. While lenses can be used for a wide range of purposes, when photographing newborns, you must be selective to ensure that your lens matches the style most commonly used in baby photography.
There are four types of lenses best used for portrait photography:
Keep in mind that you’re photographing babies with extremely delicate and tiny features, and some move a lot. This is why it’s critical to get a lens that can take on the challenge.
Sometimes, you’re confined to small spaces, and other times you’re forced to focus on a large background scene. Get a lens with a focal length of at least 24mm for a good field of view.
Baby pictures are important memorabilia, so you’d want them to be of their best quality. Light, depth of field, and sharpness are all influenced by the camera’s aperture, so it is ideal to get a lens with an f/4 aperture or lower.
Babies move a lot, but we still want the images to be clear and stable. Image stabilization eliminates blurring caused by handshake and movement, resulting in sharp photos even when used handheld.
There you have it! Good results are not reaped from lenses alone; they’re also a product of skill and maybe a little bit of the baby’s cooperation. For newborn photography, the lens we are looking for must have excellent magnification, quick focus, and of course, great resolution and beautiful bokeh.
Newborn lenses are generally versatile, so even years past your child’s birth, they will still be helpful whether in taking professional shots or everyday-mundane joys.