Courtney Malone

Here you'll find some of our most recent family stories, as well as tips and tricks for aspiring lifestyle photographers.

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Essential Gear for Lifestyle Newborn Sessions

I’m a huge believer that it’s NOT the gear that makes the photographer, but rather how the photographer uses that gear to create their art! In fact, I did a few personal shoots last year with an old Canon Rebel t2i to prove that it doesn’t take incredible gear to get incredible results!

BUT. It’s also true that your gear is important in helping you navigate the world of lifestyle newborn photography. It’s important to show up to your client’s home with the essential pieces to help you do a beautiful job in any scenario. Having the right gear will help you get beautiful, consistent results, and more importantly, help you fill your calendar with lifestyle newborn shoots!

A Guide to Gear for Lifestyle Newborn Sessions

The Gear

Here’s a peek into what I take to EVERY lifestyle newborn shoot!

  • Canon 5D Mark IV – this is my primary camera
  • Canon 5D Mark III – this is my backup camera should my primary ever fail.
  • Canon 35mm 1.4 Lens – I use this 99% of the time at lifestyle newborn sessions! It is the perfect lens for shooting indoors, because it lets a lot of light in, and is also wide enough to take in the scene in most nurseries and homes
  • Canon 50mm 1.2 Lens – I’ll occasionally pop on my 50mm lens for close up shots of baby!
  • Canon 580 EXII Flash – Mastering flash has been such a game changer in my business. I never go to a session without it since I don’t know what my lighting conditions will be like. The model I have is no longer manufactured, but here is the version it’s been replaced with.
  • Small Step Stool – This may or may not be necessary for you, but at just 5’2, I need a little boost sometimes to get beautiful overhead shots of little babes, and flattering angles of mama and daddy with their babe!
  • CowboyStudio Light Stand – this stand is small and portable, making it easy to transport from shoot to shoot.
  • Yongnuo Remote Triggers – these are super cheap, but have been far more reliable than the expensive triggers I bought around the same time. Go figure!
  • Expodisc– this is my trick for consistency from session to session. I use it to set custom white balance throughout the shoot
  • Baby Shusher– wow parents/clients by bringing this soothing device to your shoot! It really helps when baby is unsettled, and makes a shushing noise to help calm crying babes
  • White Noise App – I also keep a white noise app on my phone. I’ll turn this on if baby is having a hard time settling. Often times a little white noise will do the trick
  • Plain White Swaddle Blanket – I usually keep a plain white swaddle blanket in my bag JUST in case parents don’t have a neutral one to use. I always prefer to use their items, but if needed, we’ll use my plain white swaddle

What’s NOT in my bag…

So what do I NOT take!? I don’t take any props to my lifestyle sessions! I let my clients know in advance that I don’t use any props, just the natural elements of their home and their arms as the perfect backdrop for baby! I truly love to keep it simple, and not using props creates a much more natural story-telling approach for these sessions!

I also don’t take any softboxes, umbrellas, or extra accessories for flash use. Just my flash and a light stand! Simplicity is always my goal, and I’ve found a super simple set up really goes a LONG way.

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