WHY BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY?
“The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.” ~Heather McCue
I love, love, love birth. It has been by far the best thing I have ever done. Being present during a birth is an honor. The images I have of my births are treasured, not only by me, but by my children. Photographing your birth story will be amazing. It has been during labor, giving birth, overcoming each powerful contraction that I have felt closest to our God. The act of joining in creation is transformative. It's that transformation, that pure love, I work to capture, to give witness to your miracle.
I've been an advocate for birth choice for over 20 years. As a college student, I wanted to become a midwife, but it was illegal in my home state: at the time there were only 2 schools in the country producing midwives. I continued on through college and read everything I could get my hands on. I started attending births a few years ago after 3 children and then took a break to have my last sweet daughter.
I've had children at a birth center, home, and the hospital. I can offer first hand experience as a birth assistant and laboring mother. I deeply support a woman in labor and understand the quiet peaceful atmosphere that must be maintained. I will never disrupt your labor for a "shot." My camera and lenses are able to handle the low light in a birthing room and I strive to be an asset to your birth team in any way I can. As a doula and a student of natural birth for the past two decades, I am well-versed about the birthing process.
Why do I need a birth photographer?
You don't. Just like you didn't need a wedding photographer. You wanted one. You wanted to capture the most amazing day of your life. Having a family member or friend snap pictures at your birth is a lot like having a friend snap pics of your wedding. They can be great, but they will inevitably miss that moment, the one you will never forget. How can they tell your birth story when they are part of it?
I want everyone to have tangible memories (besides your amazing child) of their children's birth. A family member or friend is also a part of the event in an emotional way and can be easily distracted and unaware of how to take pictures in a challenging environment. A pregnant woman will say she will have the lights on, but a women in labor often needs low lighting, candles, sometimes almost pure darkness. I use natural light 98% of the time because my equipment is capable in almost no lighting, but I am also experienced in how to use a flash without disturbing a laboring woman, so that no moment is missed.
I am also on-call for you for weeks. Lots of photographers like the "idea" of documenting a birth, but few specialize in the unpredictableness of birth. 2 am? I'm there. I don't go more than an hour away from home when I'm on call for you. My schedule is dictated by my service to you.
What you do need, is support from your birth team, love from your partner, and faith in your body. Documenting this is my joy and privilege. Giving you back the memories that are sometimes vague and capturing the pure love that is the birth of your child.
What if my labor is long, will you be there the entire time?
I am in it for the long haul! I may step out for a bit or rest if your labor is long, but I will be there to shoot your birth. If I am unable to attend your birth due to illness and I cannot find a back-up, you will receive a full refund. If I miss your birth due to a faster than usual delivery, meaning I arrive within one hour after I'm called and you've already given birth, I will not be able to refund you. I will continue the session as planned.
I'm on call 24/7 from 38 weeks on and will be available via text or cell phone. You will need to appoint someone to call me when you are in active labor (usually 5cm). I ask to be notified when your labor begins so that I can arrange my day. I will arrive to photograph active labor, delivery, and the first moments of you and your baby together, breastfeeding, including the newborn exam if it is done with an hour and a half after birth.
Will my images be graphic?
I have documented almost 50 births. You decide what type of pictures you are comfortable having taken at your birth. I have a vision, but it will not conflict with yours, only enhance it. During our initial consultation to book your birth photography, we will discuss your vision for your birth session and answer any questions you may have about the process. I will not shoot any types of images that you feel uncomfortable with and I will work to make sure we capture the little things to remember the day as well.
Will you post my images to Facebook and all over the internet?
No. The birth photography you see on my site is a 10% of what I have documented. some stories are not even here. The pictures that are chosen for my portfolio are cropped for modesty and discretion. Remember this is your birth and your memories. I'm here to serve you. I will usually have pictures from your birth that you will feel comfortable posting on my blog/website. I do not use last names here for privacy. I will post a close-up photograph of your sweet babe on FB, again without an identifiers, but nothing else without your approval. If any labor or birth pictures are posted, you will have full approval first, and my clients are never tagged. Many do, however, share their birth stories with family and friends.
What about pictures after the baby arrives?
Not everyone wants to photograph their birth, yet they want to capture those fleeting first moments after the birth: baths, diaper changes by Dad, Grandparents welcome, nursing pictures, or just the sweet newborn moments that disappear all too quickly. A Babymoon documentary session or a First Day session takes place 24-48 hrs after your birth and can be shot at the hospital, birth center, or your home. I can follow you home from the hospital or birth center. You pick the first moments you want to remember. This is not a newborn session which captures stylized pictures of you and your newborn. Those are beautiful keepsakes, but this is about telling the story of those first glowing days of your babymoon.
When should I book my birth session?
As soon as you decide you want a birth photographer. I usually book 4-6 months in advance. Some parents have booked their birth session at 8 weeks! Booking early also gives you plenty of time to pay for your package through payment plan options. But please always contact me, sometimes there are birth stories available when God has called a sweet angel to heaven and I also have had families relocate.
Are you the right birth photographer for me?
This may strike you as odd, but I may not be right for you and that's okay. There are other birth photographers out there, just like there are other doulas, midwives and doctors for you to choose from. I'm a birth worker first, therefore I understand how personality and connection are a part of what I do. Please examine my portfolio, read my blog and what my clients say. Meet with me and ask questions. As your photographer, I am going to be part of your birth team and ultimately part of your birth story. Choose your birth team carefully. This is one of the most incredible days of your life and as much time as we all spend researching car seats and cribs, those present during your birthing time are so important for you to feel good about. Congratulations on your upcoming birth!