with Courtney Slazinik
Must Have Lenses for Lifestyle Newborn Sessions
Must Have Lenses for Lifestyle Newborn Sessions
  • No.
    To Achieve Bokeh

    2016-08-03_0002 Nikon D610 | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens | ISO 800 | f/2.8 | 1/50ss I photograph 75% of my newborn sessions using my Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens. Not only is it wonderful for portraits, but the low aperture allows me to achieve some beautiful bokeh. I love achieving crisp focus by placing my focal point on the baby, while using a lower aperture like f/2.8 to blur the foreground and background. This helps to create a soft and quiet image that is perfect for newborns.

  • No.
    To Document The Surroundings

    2016-08-03_0006 Nikon D600 | Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lens | ISO 500 | f/2.8 | 1/50ss Being a lifestyle newborn photographer means that I document newborns within their home. A big part of this style of photography means incorporating the surroundings of the family’s home within the images. For that, I love using my Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lens, as it has more of a wide angle that allows me to get more of the surroundings within the frame. This lens is also wonderful for working within tight or small spaces, so I am sure to take it with me so I am prepared to photograph successfully in any space, big or small.

  • No.
    To Tell A Story With Depth

    2016-08-03_0007 Nikon D610 | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens | ISO 800 | f/2.8 | 1/30ss Using lower apertures to create depth in an image is a powerful way to tell a story within a photograph. In the photo above, I used my Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens to create depth by placing the focal point on the baby’s sweet head. By choosing an aperture of f/2.8, it allowed me to blur my background just enough to keep the focus on the baby but still visually focused enough to capture the emotion of joy of the parents.

  • No.
    To Get Higher Off The Ground

    2016-08-03_0008 Nikon D600 | Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lens | ISO 500 | f/2.8 | 1/40ss Photographing from above is a very powerful way of telling a story, as it creates a unique perspective. I use my Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lens when photographing from above because the wide angle capability of this lens helps me to get more within my frame without having to step on a step stool to capture the moment.

  • No.
    To Tell A Story With Scale

    2016-08-03_0009 Nikon D600 | Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lens | ISO 320 | f/2.8 | 1/100ss Incorporating the surroundings of the home into the image not only helps to tell a story, but it helps to create scale. I love showing just how small babies really are within photographs by comparing them to their surroundings. Because the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lens allows me to bring more of the surroundings into my image, it helps me document how small the newborn is by directly comparing them to their huge surroundings.

  • No.
    To Help Combat Low Light Scenarios

    2016-08-03_0010 Nikon D610 | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens | ISO 800 | f/2.8 | 1/200ss One exciting thing about being a lifestyle newborn photographer is that every session lends us a different setting. Sometimes, like the session featured, the setting has beautiful natural light that is ideal and perfect in every way. Other times, we are given low light and we have to make it work. I love that both my Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lenses both combat low light well because of their low aperture capabilities. When placed in a setting with low light, I know that my camera can help me bring in more light with a higher ISO, while my lenses can help me bring in more light using lower apertures. This ensures that I can reflect my bright style in my images regardless of my surroundings. Another helpful way to combat low light is by using a tripod. I always bring my tripod with me, just in case, to help me steady my camera and still achieve crisp focus in settings with lower light.

  • No.
    To Fill The Frame

    2016-08-03_0011 Nikon D610 | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens | ISO 800 | f/2.5 | 1/80ss One of my favorite things about my Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens is that it helps me fill the frame with all things baby. I love using my 50mm to capture the sweet details of newborn toes, hands, and face. Although I do not currently use macro lenses, they are also another great way to capture the details of newborns.

To ensure that I am not wasting time switching my lenses out throughout the session, I find it easier to use two camera bodies and place my Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens on my Nikon D610 and my Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lens on my Nikon D600. With a wide variety of lenses to choose from, I find that I only need two lenses in my camera bag to help me achieve my photography style during my lifestyle newborn sessions. Choosing the right lenses to bring along to a lifestyle newborn session can really ensure that your session is a success. Remember, lenses can help you achieve the story you are trying to tell, whether you are telling it through your subjects, through their surroundings, or from a different point of view.

If you want to see a full lens comparison see here for 35mm vs. 50mm.

  • Keisha
    August 17, 2016 at 5:46 PM

    Some of the shutter speeds are slow? Do you use a tripod? My hands would never let me get away with those! : )

    • Bethany Deschamp
      August 18, 2016 at 9:51 AM

      Hello Keisha! No, none of the above photographs were taken with a tripod, they were all handheld. I actually have a super steady hand and tend to photograph at really low shutter speeds. :)

  • Annie D.
    August 21, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    Thank you for the great tips, Beth!

    • Bethany Deschamp
      August 21, 2016 at 12:03 PM

      you are so welcome, annie!

  • Tina
    February 26, 2017 at 4:33 PM

    Such a brilliant article! Very informative and I love that you give reasons for your choice of lens.

    Thank you.

  • Mary
    August 27, 2017 at 11:27 AM

    I have taken gorgeous photos of my infant daughter with a macro lens. It really fills the frame with just her beautiful face and is useful for tiny details like toes and eye lashes. Try it out.

    I also find the 35mm to be a more useful wide angle than the 24mm. It’s the goldilocks of lenses for environmental portraits whereas a 24mm can sometimes include too much. But that’s my preference and it’s what works for me.

  • Bing
    September 26, 2018 at 1:11 PM

    To Mary, all your comments are about you… turned me off to reading or listening to you. You never complimented the writer here… sad.

  • nedra walthall
    September 21, 2019 at 12:54 PM

    Thank you so much for including the exact shot info. Very informative for me who has finally figured out my style and love for photography. It’s definitely LIFESTYLE! I love the candid shots that show life. I am just starting out and realized that I have a true love for photography. You are the first that I have come across that actually tell not only the lens but the settings and why you use them. As well as how to achieve the shot. I just want to take great shots of my 3 month old son and my family and friends. I wish I could find a local mentor.

    Thank you so very much
    Nedra (new mama and amateur photographer)

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