Little One


This photo was a good example of how a lot of the images I’ve taken and posted here on Weekly Fifty have helped me learn practical skills as a photographer that ended up directly impacting the occasional work I do for clients. I don’t have a macro lens, and I don’t exactly plan on getting one any time soon, but every now and then a situation arises in which I need to take close-up shots of something. Usually nature, but sometimes small objects and, occasionally, something like the image above where you can see a little baby clasping a parent’s fingers.

When a friend of ours asked if I would take some photos of their two-week-old son I was glad to oblige, and I felt a lot more prepared for this one than I have for similar sessions in the past. I went with my D750 and 50mm lens, foregoing my 85 because I just like the look of that particular focal length when working with infants, and also because I wanted something a lot more light, nimble, and let’s face it, practical than my 70-200 f/2.8. (I mean seriously, who shoots an infant session with that lens? Some people, I suppose, but not me!) I also brought my Fuji X100F just in case, but I ended up not needing it at all as the Nifty Fifty did everything I needed.

After several shots of the baby all snuggled in a big fluffy blanket from lots of different angles, I wanted to switch things up a bit so I reached for my set of close-up filters to get some more intimate photos of his eyes, fingers, and other features. Thanks to all the trial-and-error with those filters over the years here on Weekly Fifty I already had a pretty good idea of the exposure settings I would need to get the shots I was aiming for:

  • F/5.6 to get a reasonably wide depth of field and to allow for a little wiggle room when focusing.
  • 1/90 second to get a sharp, wobble-free image
  • Auto ISO with max value of 6400 because the D750 is so good at high ISO values it’s not even funny. Even modern image sensors have a tough time beating the rock-solid sensor in the D750.

I was really happy with the results I got, and the parents were too. A true macro lens would have definitely helped in this situation but these opportunities present themselves so rarely that I’m fine with just sticking with the close-up filters. For now, anyway :)


  1. Cindy Grohs says

    I love my 50mm lens but I would also be interested in knowing what close up filters you use. I want to take more “macro” images but I’m not wanting to buy the macro lens just yet.
    Thanks so much for the amazing images and insight you give each week on WeeklyFifty.

    • Thanks Cindy! I really appreciate your comments! As to the close-up filters, I just use a cheapo set that I got from B&H for about $30. The +4 filter I used for this image isn’t even in good shape anymore, and I should probably get a new one :)

  2. Rebecca Burlingham says

    Knowing your equipment, it’s limitations and it’s sweet spots makes the job so much easier.
    I love the composition in this shot. As a parent, these are the shots that will be treasured long after those tiny fingers have grown.

    • I know how you feel, Rebecca. The time flies way, way too fast. I wish I had more shots like this with my own kids, but I was too busy taking pictures of other people holding them!

  3. Nice shot, Simon!

  4. Janet Richardson says

    Love this shot. I have been missing your shots using the Nifty 50. I love that lens and it does require some creative thinking in some situations. I have a set of those close-up filters and have yet to get a result that was satisfying. I guess I need more years of practice. Well done.

    • Thanks for saying that, Janet! As much as I like my other cameras and lenses, there really is something special about shooting with a 50mm lens. Maybe I’ll start to use it more often! And good luck with your filters, too. I’m sure with a little practice you’ll get some amazing photos! I’d recommend starting with a +4 filter and shooting at smaller apertures (F/4 to F/8) and see if that helps.

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