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Author Topic: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos  (Read 7132 times)

pwp

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2011, 05:27:04 PM »
300 f/4 for babies? Twins! Hmmm, it would be very limited although there may be some suitable moments.

85 f/1.8 will be a lot more useful if a little long, but this sort of shooting environment sounds like zoom territory to me. 24-70 f/2.8 would free you up enormously. I like being close enough to small babies to touch them while I'm shooting...this is 24mm territory.

Long lenses create a sort of detachment from the subject which is often useful, but for babies? Shooting newborn twins is a great opportunity. It's tender, intimate and up close where you'll get the shots that will differ from the straight up shots your relatives may come up with. Don't shoot in a room full of people, keep it to an absolute minimum. Use window light.

If your sister lives nearby, this is a great opportunity to shoot twins across the years or decades...properly handled you could come up with a unique body of work. Shoot them as often as practical. Your best shots will come later on. That may be time to pull out the 300!

Leave your extension tubes in the bag.

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2011, 05:27:04 PM »

willrobb

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2011, 07:31:47 PM »
Use the 85mm.

Sounds like a few people will be there taking pics, not surf your sister requested you come and do portraits or it's something you are taking on yourself, but it sounds like you might be as well doing some candid shots in the hospital and perhaps doing a proper portrait session with mum, dad and babies once they are out of hospital. Just a shot.

elflord

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2011, 08:46:58 PM »
I'm not the best photographer of people, and have never taken pictures of babies before.  But my sister is going to have twins in the next 2 weeks, and I would like to take some good photos with the 5Dm2.  Preferably without my 580 flash...

I won't have very much time to take the pictures, and there will probably be in-laws, cousins, and parents around.  And I know that they will take the 'typical' photos.  I am looking for more of the photo book quality pictures.

I do have a 25mm extension tube that I have used on the 85mm before, but it wasn't easy to get it in focus, and the camera had to be very close.  Or I have the 1.4x that can make the 300mm into a 420mm f/5.6.  I think I have used the extension tube with that setup before to get some macro shots as well.

If you have any tips or advice, I would appreciate it.

The 300mm is very long, I'd suggest leaving it at home.

Consider renting some lenses to ensure you have the right set up.

For babies / children, the "standard" kids pictures are taken at normal to short portrait focal lengths -- about 35mm to 100mm or so.

Some of the shots you'll want to take are well suited for a wider angle -- for example a shot of the mother or father holding the child(ren), and shots where you are very close to the subject.

A macro lens is a plus to have (you could always rent one) -- think things like baby feet, etc. A short minimum focus distance is always a plus with this kind of shot -- I find myself bumping up against the MFD of 3ft or so on my sigma 85mm when I take pics of my daughter. By contrast, Canon's 35mm f/2 has a MFD of 9", so I need only worry about keeping her from touching the lens!

Did you think about when you're going to take the pictures ? The advice I've read before is to do so the day after they are born.

gmrza

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2011, 10:16:38 PM »
By the way, all those famous photos of babies with their heads on their arms or doing other cute poses: the babies were posed that way by the photographer. Babies by themselves just sit there.

Newborns?  If only that were true.  If they're not sleeping, they're crying...   ;)

You forgot the peeing and pooping bit!  After a newborn shoot, my wife normally has to turn on the washing machine!

Newborn shoots can take a long time because of the issue of having to settle and pose the baby - I would go nuts trying to do that kind of work.  In order to get those "dreamy" posed shots, you typically want the baby to be under 10 days old, which is when they are easiest to pose.  After that they become more alert and try to do their own thing.

My wife predominantly uses the 85mm f/1.2L and 24-105mm f/4L for newborn photos.  Most of her newborn photos are done in a studio, so they are shot with monobloc lights, thus the use of a fast prime for light gathering capability is not important, as most of her photos are shot at f/8 or f/11.  - Most of the posed newborn photos you see are shot in studio conditions, using (generally large) softboxes.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2011, 10:41:46 PM »
You forgot the peeing and pooping bit!  After a newborn shoot, my wife normally has to turn on the washing machine!

Forgot...or blocked from my memory of nearly 4 years ago.   :P   Our younger daughter (who just turned 2) was adopted at ~14 months, so for better and worse we missed out on the more recent refresher.
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Caps18

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2011, 12:12:55 AM »
I'm a day late, but here are some example photos I like.

http://www.louisedieselphotography.co.za/photography/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/newborn-twins-baby-photos.jpg

http://www.capturedbycarrie.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/twins_newborn_photographer_1.jpg

http://www.wallcoo.net/photography/Anne_Geddes_03/images/%5Bwallcoo.com%5D_baby_clothes_baby_pictures_84.jpg

And this one, if they would have blacked out more of the background.
http://www.jeanetteverster.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Wrinkly-feet.jpg

The problem is that I am setting the bar very high for myself, and I don't know how much time I will get, if they will even be out of the hospital before I have to return back home, how much time I will be able to spend taking photos with them, or where they will be at.  And I won't be able to disturb them (much).

I also would like to get 30-60 different photos that are excellent... 
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Viggo

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2011, 04:06:05 AM »
I've just gotten a second child, and what I've learned is that you never want to try shooting them while they're awake, it doesn't work! Make a comfortable place, such as a soft rug or something, build and set up the scene long before the baby gets there, let everyone else take their pictures, and wait for the baby to have eaten, given up, and fallen to sleep. That's when you place the baby in a comfy chair (lying down of course), then you get those nice supports which frames the baby better (armrests) and you want to not use your 580? I say use it for all it's worth, not directly to the baby of course. Set your camera so that the flash only fills slightly in for those soft light shadows, place the chair so you can bounce the flash into a light wall before it bounces off the baby. That way you get soft, not directly on -light, without wireless and diffusers.

Another thing, have it warm enough so you can shoot the baby with only diaper-pants or nothing on, be sure not shoot so that you can see any of the intimte parts, because no one wants to see that, EVER. Plus it's very disturbing and freaky, nuff said.

Use a an elf-hat or some light colored blanket or something to add some light color, make sure the color matches if it's boys or girls.

Try not to pose them too much, they look very peaceful and easy to shoot just as they lay sleeping.

Here's a shot I did of my daughter. It's shot with a double umbrella-setup, wireless, but similiar effect can be done bouncing off the wall. Shot with 85mm at mfd. I like to tune down my flashes, and use wider apertures, or faster shutterspeed to get the shallow dof, and softer overall feel. Hope this helped.

http://photobyviggo.com/random/mariell23.jpg

and one more, same setup:

http://photobyviggo.com/random/example.jpg
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 04:17:14 AM by Viggo »
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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2011, 04:06:05 AM »

handsomerob

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2011, 07:01:17 AM »
Nice shots!

Viggo

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2011, 02:48:16 PM »
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bobthebrick

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2011, 08:19:42 AM »
Out of those two, definitely the 85. Only slight issue is the pretty dodgy minimum focusing distance. I'd recommend using something a bit wider though if you have it, or have some cash to spare. Even the 'plastic magic' 50 1.8 can work wonders.

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Re: 85mm f/1.8 or 300mm f/4 for baby photos
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2011, 08:19:42 AM »