Skill and patience aside, if you want to capture successful photographs of babies and newborns, it helps to have a camera with features that enable you to capture what are more often than not fleeting, unrepeatable moments in time.
Attributes and features you should be looking for in a camera are quick autofocus and shutter-response times, wide-aperture optics for selective focusing, higher ISO sensitivities for low-light, flash-free imaging, high-speed continuous burst rates, multi-axis image stabilization, Silent Shooting modes, “Baby” scene and flash modes, and a tilt screen (If it’s a touchscreen LCD, so much the better).
Cameras featuring these attributes are available at B&H Photo in a number of styles and prices. For maximum performance and picture quality, you should consider a DSLR or advanced mirrorless camera, which also offer the widest choice of optics. If DSLRs or mirrorless cameras are not your cup of tea, there are plenty of options in terms of size, simplicity, and cost.
When it comes to taking baby pictures, any of the flagship DSLRs from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony will do the job, but you don’t need a top-dollar DSLR for baby photography.
Consumer DSLRs such as the Nikon D5500 and D3300, Canon EOS 6D, EOS 80D, and EOS 6Ti, and Pentax’s APS-C format K-series cameras are quick and nimble enough to capture the most fleeting of moments, when used to their full potential. Depending on the model, these cameras feature a broad choice of lenses, extremely high ISO sensitivities, tilt or swivel screens—some with touchscreen capabilities, rapid continuous burst rates, intelligent flash and exposure modes, along with Wi-Fi and NFC functionality.
Mirrorless and compact cameras
We don't have enough time left in this life to list all of the mirrorless and compact cameras capable of capturing terrific baby pictures. Sony APS-C format cameras come to mind, as do Canon G-series cameras, Fujifilm X-series cameras, most notably the Fujifilm X100T and X30, which feature wider-aperture lenses.
The Leica X (Typ 113), which features a fast 35mm/f1.7 equivalent lens, is a good contender, as is its wider-angle sibling, the Leica Q (Typ 116).
Weather-proof / waterproof point-and-shoots
Tough Point-and-Shoot cameras are great for hiking and kayaking. They also make for terrific baby-chasing cameras once the little ones start moving about. Unlike traditional point-and-shoot cameras, which tend to be on the delicate side, these so-called tough cameras are waterproof, drop-proof, and shock-proof. In other words, they’re childproof!
Tough point-and-shoot cameras are available from Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Ricoh, Sealife, and Leica.
Tilt/swivel LCDs and touchscreens
Babies spend a great deal of their first year on this planet at ground level. For this reason alone, the most valuable feature you should look for when choosing a camera for photographing newborns and babies is a tilt or swivel-based LCD. Having the ability to go eye-to-eye with a child without having to bury your face halfway into the carpet is a godsend and, if the screen is a touchscreen LCD, so much the better. Simply tap the baby’s face onscreen and the shutter goes "click!"
Flash or no flash?
There’s little if any evidence that on-camera electronic flash causes any short or long-term damage to a baby’s vision. Regardless, repeated point-blank bursts of flash in your eyes isn’t pleasant, and as humorous as the resulting pictures might be, if you want to win the child’s trust—not to mention capture better pictures, bounce the flash and/or dial the power down a few notches and use it to fill or otherwise complement the ambient lighting.
Another option is to use an on-camera or off-camera LED light source, which are less likely to startle your subject even when used at close range.
High ISO sensitivity and image stabilization
Alternatively, a growing number of cameras now feature ISO sensitivities high enough to make your nose bleed. Even if your lens only opens up to a modest f/3.5, having the ability to increase your camera’s native ISO rating five, six, or seven stops without significantly affecting image quality is nothing to sneeze at, especially if your nose is bleeding.
Along with high ISOs, image stabilization technologies have improved equally as of late. Depending on the camera system, IS technologies enable you to handhold your camera at anywhere from three to five stops slower than you might be able to do otherwise, and still maintain sharp imagery.
Even if your camera seems quiet to your ears, the sound of a shutter—even a quiet shutter—can easily jolt a baby out of sleep mode. Fortunately, an increasing number of cameras feature a Silent Shutter mode that enables you to take pictures silently. Even when the baby is awake, you need not worry about making potentially distracting sounds every time you press the shutter release.
Cameras that feature a Silent Shutter mode include the Sony Alpha A7 II, A7S and A7S II, A7R and A7R II, Sony A6000 and the A6300, Olympus E-M5 II, Canon EOS 5Ds/5Ds R, Nikon D810 and, for those of you advanced enough to delve into the world of medium format photography, the Pentax 645Z.
Between high ISO sensitivity levels, silent modes, and image stabilization, it’s possible to capture sharp, startle-free images of babies and newborns.
Child mode, which is found in the Nikon D3300, is a variation of Portrait mode that features faster shutter speeds, a slight reduction in flash output, and a few baby-friendly skin-tone tweaks to the color balance.
Macro lenses can be very effective for baby photography simply because they allow you to get so close to your subject. In the case of babies, details of tiny fingers, toes, and other uniquely baby features can say volumes about the child. For best results, you want to use a macro in the 90mm to 105mm range on a full-frame camera, or in their equivalent focal lengths when shooting with APS-C and MFT-format cameras.
Shorter focal length macros can also be used but, to maintain a comfortable distance from the baby and greatly reduce the chance of shadows, longer focal lengths are preferable.
B&H stocks a wide range of macro lenses in a choice of focal lengths for full-frame, APS-C, and MFT-format cameras. And yes, in most, if not all cases, macro lenses designed for larger-format cameras can be used on smaller-format cameras directly or via adapters.
Wi-Fi and NFC capability
Yes. You want it. And even if you currently don’t want to have the ability to remotely control your camera or transmit your pictures wirelessly to the cloud, your computer, or your favorite social media account today, you’re going to want to do it tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or a week from next Tuesday... the latest.
Trust us on this one.
So I have a cannon rebel t5. Is that good for professional newborn photography? Because someone told me its not.
I would consider a Rebel a hobbyist camera. They are great for taking photos of your family and friends but I do not think the quality is adequate for charging for your work.
Are you people kidding you listed every camera available
They didn't mention the Nikon 610, 750, or the new 500.