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Photography Question 
Amanda R. Milam
 

Childbirth photos


My sister is due to give birth within the next few weeks and wants me to take pictures while in the delivery room. I will be using my Canon Rebel XT with the standard lens that comes with it and the canon 420EX flash. I have a 75-300mm lens, but I thought that it may be more than I need. Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated.


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7/14/2007 1:52:19 PM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
 
 
 
the 75-300 mm lens is definitely more than you need. Keep in mind that some delivery rooms are very tiny. The room my sister-in-law delivered in recently was tiny. The room I delivered in was much, much larger and the 75-300 would still have been too much.

Have you heard of Canon's "nifty fifty"? It is the 50mm f1.8 lens. It costs less than $100. I suggest something like that because you can take some great pictures without having to use the flash ... not that I'm against using flash. I just think that pictures are sometimes better without it. The added bonus is you don't bother mother and baby mcu because you don't have bright lights firing off repeatedly.

If she delivers the baby at night you can use lights like the warming lamp above the baby to help set a mood (see example of my nephew a few months ago).

If she delivers during the day you can possibly open the curtains and let in the natural light which helps set a even different tone. I just had a baby 2 1/2 weeks ago and delivered first thing in the morning. I set the aperture on my camera to 1.8 and let my husband go at it. I also managed to get a shot of my husband holding our son from my bed ... all with natural light.

So my only real suggestions are to try the 50mm f1.8 lens instead of the kit lens and make sure you have PLENTY of batteries for your flash unit if you do use it.


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7/14/2007 11:11:57 PM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
 
 
 
the 75-300 mm lens is definitely more than you need. Keep in mind that some delivery rooms are very tiny. The room my sister-in-law delivered in recently was tiny. The room I delivered in was much, much larger and the 75-300 would still have been too much.

Have you heard of Canon's "nifty fifty"? It is the 50mm f1.8 lens. It costs less than $100. I suggest something like that because you can take some great pictures without having to use the flash ... not that I'm against using flash. I just think that pictures are sometimes better without it. The added bonus is you don't bother mother and baby mcu because you don't have bright lights firing off repeatedly.

If she delivers the baby at night you can use lights like the warming lamp above the baby to help set a mood (see example of my nephew a few months ago).

If she delivers during the day you can possibly open the curtains and let in the natural light which helps set a even different tone. I just had a baby 2 1/2 weeks ago and delivered first thing in the morning. I set the aperture on my camera to 1.8 and let my husband go at it. I also managed to get a shot of my husband holding our son from my bed ... all with natural light.

So my only real suggestions are to try the 50mm f1.8 lens instead of the kit lens and make sure you have PLENTY of batteries for your flash unit if you do use it.


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7/14/2007 11:13:56 PM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
 
 
 
sorry about the multiple posts.


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7/14/2007 11:16:50 PM

 
Amanda R. Milam   So you recommend that I use the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens, with what ISO? I guess even if I'm not extremly close to the baby, I can always crop the image with it being an 8mp camera, right?


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7/17/2007 3:43:25 PM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  what ISO? I really just depends on how much light you have. I try to never go above 400 because of how grainy my pictures get. I would set it at 200 or 400, take some test shots, look at your histogram and lcd, see if you are getting enough light for the shutter speed you're using, and make adjustments from there.

So my husband could take the pictures, I set the camera to aperture priority at 1.8, and the ISO to 400. The shutter speeds ranged from 1/15 (blurry photos, but he wasn't paying attention to where the light was coming from) to 1/60 (light was shining on subject from window) to 1/200 through 1/320 (there was a combination of light from window and light from warming lamps). In addition, everything was shot in raw format so I could deal with white balance and make subtle adjustments to exposure later.

But you can still get great photos using your flash and may need it if there isn't enough light to take family shots (since the mother won't be under the warming lamp like baby).

I don't imagine there would be a problem with getting close enough to the baby. My husband was able to get right up to our baby. He even had a nurse take a couple of pictures with our camera. Unless there are problems, the doctors and nurses are used to people snapping pictures, and they make plenty of room for you to capture the events. With the 50mm, my husband had to take several steps back to get pictures of me and other family members. That is why I think the 75mm would be too much ... delivery rooms aren't THAT big and roomy.

You'll have plenty of time to experiment once you get to the hospital (while your sister is still in labor.) Just make sure you have her call you in early enough (which shouldn't be a problem since most women don't have babies within a half hour like on tv).

Let us know how it all goes.


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7/17/2007 4:29:33 PM

 
Amanda R. Milam   I've been looking at the lens by Canon that you suggested. It seems like a good lens, but I also found one made by Sigma that I'm interested in. It's the 28mm f1.8 EX DG Aspherical lens with macro. Do you know anything about this lens, would you recommend it over the canon lens? I know that it's a little more, but I like the idea of having the macro feature so that I can do close ups of the baby's feet, hands, etc.


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7/18/2007 8:31:50 PM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  Gee, no one else is helping me out here. Come on folks, I'm certainly not an expert when it comes to event photography. Some other advice and opinions would be helpful.

The Sigma lens looks like it would be a good purchase. It really does just depend on your preference. I like my 50mm because it is a little more "telephoto" than the 28mm and therefore better for portraits. However, the benefit with the 28mm would be that you don't have to take so many steps back or have to worry about a room being too small to get the picture you want. Macro capabilities are also nice, and if that is something you think you want then I say go for the Sigma because you won't get that with the 50mm.

And as far as doing macro shots, keep in mind that my baby's hands and feet had dry-looking skin with white flecks for the first few days. His feet were also really wrinkly. Now that he is filling out and has smooth, perfect skin his feet will look much better in a photo (goodness, he is turning three weeks old and I still haven't gotten around to doing a shot with his feet).


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7/18/2007 9:58:00 PM

 
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