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Old Nov 3, 2007, 3:36 PM   #1
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style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Sorry to pester again...

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"My best friend is about to give birth any moment. And I'm going to be a VERY proud aunty.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I won't be seeing her till the beginning of December (she lives about 130 miles away) so I've a chance to read up and research.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"She's the first in my circle of friends to give birth so I've no experience of photographing babes.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Any tips?

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I have a Canon 400D/Xti and the 18-55 kitlens and a cheapo 55-200 lens plus a load of Cokin filters I've inherited.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Would you recommend I get a better lens?Will I need external flash? It's coming to Winter in Britain so it'll be mostly indoor shots, if that helps.

Many thanks in advance, as always!

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Old Nov 3, 2007, 4:31 PM   #2
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Babies are notorious for not hoding still when someone says "Cheese". This being the case, I would opt for an external flash, with the caveat that you don't pont it directly in the baby's eyes. (I don't know that it is harmful, but little ones don't have fully developed reflexes, and the pupils tend to remain dilated. Besides, it makes for strong redeye) Bounce the flash off the ceiling for good, general illumination.

Baby pictures are not really in my area of interest, but my sister has an adorable granddaughter, and bought a camera just to take photos of her. Some of the best (IMO) were taken under soft, incandescent light while she was asleep (and still-allowing the longer shutter speeds).

And, thank you for specifying 'with a camera', as I haven't developed a skeet thrower which will handle 8-10 pounds --- yet.

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Old Nov 4, 2007, 3:58 AM   #3
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Another option, cheaper than a good external flash is the 50mm f1.8 lens. Push your ISO up a bit and set the camera to aperture priority at f2. This is a good low-cost no-flash choice, and will give some very nice portrait options. Do take lots of shots, because your DOF is very shallow - you need to practice getting focus on the eyes.

And don't do focus-recompose with the centre focus point, you will get it all wrong with very tight DOF.


As to flash...As best I can tell, it's the parents (and nurses) who don't like flash. Most babies don't seem to mind. Mine certainly never did. Perhaps some do. *shrug*

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Old Nov 4, 2007, 7:14 AM   #4
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A bounced/diffuesed flash is your best bet, though as perapetic noted, there could be objections to using flash. If you are going to shoot with available darkness, shoot RAW. Hospitals have some very strange lighting which will be easier to deal with later than at the time since the color balance can be very different in slightly different parts of the room.

Keep in mind that all new born babies look like Winston Churchill or J. Edgar Hoover so those pictures you get are not likely to be of interest to anyone but the family. Concentrate on the mother/father/family more than the child.
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 8:20 AM   #5
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Good advice here - bounced or diffused flash, faster lens, etc.

I would add that I've had my best success with natural light through a window. Not necessarily direct sun light which can be a bit harsh. A plain sheer curtain can help if need be to cut down on direct sun light. Of course, this means daytime photography. In the evenings, I like touse available light (as VTPhotog noted) and just taking a deep breadth beforeI gently squeeze the shutter release.

Best wishes to your friend and her new baby and of course, to the "new aunty"!

Paul in NoVA
Olympus E- 510, C- 730
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Old Nov 4, 2007, 10:26 AM   #6
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If you can, buy both an external bounce flash (430ex is a very good product) AND the 50mm 1.8.

I enjoyed and needed both options when my son was born. Available light photos are nice when you have enough available light AND when you want just a portrait shot. If you want shots with more DOF like people holding the baby then available light shots are more difficult - especially if you don't want to limit yourself to taking photos when there is a window with sunlight coming in. You might actually want to take a shot in the evening. Both solutions have their place so if you can swing both then do so - you won't regret it.
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Old Nov 8, 2007, 1:42 AM   #7
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Thank for all your help and advice.

It's a boy by the way!!!!:-)
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 11:52 AM   #8
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Thanks for all your help. I picked up a 'previously enjoyed' Mk1 50mm 1.8 off ebay which arrived earlier today. I've been bimbling about with it at home and I'm really impressed with the sharpness so far.

Now just got to save up for the flash!!
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