Newborn Photographer’s Camera Gear

Oct 29, 2022

A Newborn Photographer’s Camera Gear
What’s in my Camera Bag?

Are you wondering what photography gear your newborn photographer uses?  Which camera?  What about lenses?  Do I use the same lenses for different sessions?  What else?  Let’s take a look at what’s in my camera bag – a newborn photographer’s camera gear!

What camera do I use?

I have been a die hard Nikon user since I first started my photography journey in 2005.  I decided that with the birth of my oldest daughter, that I wanted to learn how to use a ‘real’ camera and how to photograph babies.  Having been a big Anne Geddes fan growing up, I admired her cute posters and calendars feating those cute babies in flower pots.  So, I headed over to my local Best Buy, with absolutely ZERO photography knowledge and experience and picked up the cheapest entry-level DSLR that I could find. I held a Canon and then a Nikon, and I decided to go with the Nikon purely based on how it felt in my hand.  So I bought a Nikon d40x with the kit lens.  That was over seventeen years ago and it was a great camera to learn on.  Once I got the hang of how to shoot in manual mode, I upgraded to a used Nikon d200, then a d700, a d800 and now, I happily shoot with a Nikon d850.  It’s a great camera and I have been shooting with it for a few years now, so when the shutter count starts getting high on this one, I may possibly consider moving to mirrorless… I hear lots of great things about mirrorless and look forward to making the transition, but for now, I am super happy and content with my d850.

What lenses do I use?

I have accumulated a bunch of lenses throughout the years, but I only use three of them.  I’ll say that I started with the “nifty fifty“, which is the main lens that most portrait photographers use because of it’s versatility.  I learned how to use my camera with this lens and it was my ‘old faithful’ until I decided to start getting adventurous and playing around with different lenses and their capabilities.  So seventeen years later, here are the three lenses that I use exclusively and LOVE:

What kind of lens to use for newborn photography | A Newborn Photographer's Camera Gear

Best Lens for Newborn Photography in the Studio and Outdoors:

For all of my newborn photography sessions, I use the Sigma Art 35mm 1.4.  I LOVE this prime lens because it’s sharp, consistent and lightweight.  The reason I use it for all of my newborn sessions is because since it’s 35mm, I am able to always be within arm’s reach of baby while I am shooting. As you know, newborn safety is my main priority, and always being hands-on with my tiny newborn clients allows me to keep a hand on baby while setting up my shot through the viewfinder, then lifting my hand quickly to get the shot, but always being right there for safety.  Also, my studio is 700 square feet, so if I have a large family coming into the studio with their newborn, I am able to comfortably have plenty of moving space to capture the family without having to back up against my wall to get everyone in the frame.  This is my favorite prime lens for newborn photography.  I typically shoot at 1.8, so I get that lovely depth of field, even with my little newborns.  This is my #1 in a newborn photographer’s camera gear list, in my opinion – I recommend it to all newborn photographers!

Newborn photographer's camera gear | What's in my camera bag?

Best Lens for Portraits at the Beach:

Not only do I photograph newborns in the studio and outdoors, but I also love being a maternity photographer.  I am lucky enough to live in beautiful San Diego, so you know exactly the most popular locations to bring my pregnant clients – the beach!  For beach sessions, I love depth of field, so my 35mm won’t typically cut it (don’t get me wrong, I keep it on hand if I am shooting a family and am getting those really, really up close shots).  So what do I use to get that dreamy depth of field but also allows me to not be a mile away from my clients while shooting?  The Nikkor 85mm 1.4 is my go-to!  It allows me to get that dreamy background all while capturing my clients beautifully.  The beach can be super crowded so when I back up to get the shot, it minimizes the amount of other beachgoers that will get between my camera and my subjects.

newborn photos in backyard in San Diego

Best Lens for Portraits in Nature:

Ok, this is another one of my very favorite lenses because if you know me, all of my outdoor work has some element of blurred bokeh.  I would use this with all of my sessions but due to the distance I have to be away from my subjects, it’s not always ideal. So when I am shooting in nature, urban or literally anywhere else besides the newborn photography studio, I love to pull out my Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8.  This lens is the mother of depth of field.  I use it exclusively at 200mm to get that magical background.  It is pretty heavy, but a little arm workout never hurt anyone!  I will eventually upgrade this lens to the 200mm prime lens, but for now, I am happy with my current long distance lens.  Now I will say that besides the weight of this lens giving me arm muscles, I do also get a workout running from my subject to my shooting spot, as I do need to be relatively far alway to get those horizontal full body shots, especially for family photography sessions.  This lens gives me quite a workout but it’s sooooo worth it!

What else is in a Newborn Photographer’s Camera Gear Bag?

Well not exactly in my bag, but in my studio… let’s talk about the other gear and equipment I use for my photography sessions:

Best lighting for newborn photography studio:

I love my Paul C.Buff Einstein Newborn Kit with 86″ PLM.  The PLM is ginormous but gives me tons of light and is always very consistent.  I will say that I swapped out the light stand for one on wheels. I got the Manfrotto light stand that’s easy to move around the studio and is very sturdy, so I am never worried about little ones tipping it over during a session.

Best triggers for newborn photography lighting:

Ok I have no idea if these are ‘the best’ but they sure have never let me down (expect for when the batteries die lol), but the Pocket Wizards allow me to wirelessly trigger my light and are easy to set up. I keep a second one on hand for when I host newborn mentoring sessions and my students need to hook into my lighting.

Newborn photographer's camera gear

Well, that’s what this newborn photographer has in her camera bag (and in her photography studio).  Hmm, are you interested in learning about the different posing tools and props I use for my newborns?  Should we do a studio tour in an upcoming blog post?  I think so!  Stay tuned for a future studio tour!