So, in my opinion, I’d say there really isn’t one lens that’s the best. I’ve taken some of my best portrait shots ever on a very old canon 400d with a kit lens! Ive used focal lengths from 35mm through to 135mm and they all have their sweet spots. However, what I can tell you is the lenses I tend to use most in these sessions.
Before I get to the gear, there are a couple of important aspects that make a maternity shoot well …fire! So here goes.
1. Before we talk lenses, let’s talk about Mum
So she’s hopefully around 31-35 weeks. She may feel tired and, in some cases, larger than life. I always remember to make sure the clothing that we choose is going to compliment her. This is something we do together because I want her to feel good.
Needless to say, preparation is key. Location, clothing, the whole vibe.
When it comes to the session, we’ll talk her through the plan. I’ll let her know what I think and any ideas I have too. And, if she’s hitting those poses, I’ll let her know that too! I mean, admittedly, sometimes I get a little quiet when I’m getting those shots. But I always pipe up now and again, just to let her know it’s going well.
And if something needs to change, then I change what I’m doing, where I’m doing it or how. I don’t wait. I do it. So you must check your shots; this way, you’ll know. Give her feedback, show her what you need from her, and let her know how she’s doing.
After all, it’s my job to make her look and feel like she has been doing this for years. And with my guidance, I want her to feel confident and beautiful – inside and out. Sometimes we even talk about self-care.
2. A quick word about angles. Which angles are good for maternity photography?
Okay, so we all know that angles are important, and trust me, she may already know her own favourite angles. So think about a higher perspective; which angle will flatter her the most? How does her bump look in that angle, her face? How does she feel?
Yes, I go deep. I like to get a feel for how she feels. With this information, I can change, adapt and move my feet…my angle. It’s a portrait; treat it as such and work hard to get the right angles.
But you don’t always have to shoot high.
3. The best lens for maternity photography
So, my workhorse lenses are the Canon f2.8 24-70mm L and the Sigma Art 1.4 50mm. I shoot full-frame and often somewhere between 35-50mm, occasionally up to 70mm for closer work. I do have other lenses, but I find these are the ones I like for this type of work.
My advice, keep it simple. Focus on her, a 50mm lens is enough to be honest. Just move your feet.
For me, when I’m shooting sessions like this its 20% gear and location and 80% emotion, connection and understanding.
Oh and don’t forget to have fun!