I’m one of those people that are completely and utterly in love with Birth Stories. Having my child was such a life-changing experiences for me and i wish I had a photographer present for it. The idea wasn’t exactly popular at the time and many people looked at me weird when I talked about wanting someone to document birth of my child. We document all the important days of our life, graduations, family get togethers, weddings..
So why not a birth!
The very few images from that day that I have always bring me back to the excitement, the intensity, and all of the deep love that was present when my son arrived. They also help me remember exactly how his birth happened because I had complications and spent most of it in and out of consciousness. This is what solely led me to wanting to photograph other mother's births. Plus, I am a huge sucker for a cute, itty bitty, squishy baby.
I want every mother to feel as confident as she can when she hires me, which is why I put together this guide to answer any and all of your Birth Story questions. If I missed something, feel free to ask me. I am an open book!
So let's sit down, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and we can begin..
What To Expect
Absolutely nothing in the world compares to those first seconds when you and your newborn child lock eyes, when those tears come, and the happiness overwhelms you. After all of that hard work, you have a beautiful baby in your arms to hold and cherish. I'll be there to capture the details, the expressions and the unforgettable moments before, during and after you give birth.
My style of photography is a mix of documentary with a lifestyle approach. It's very candid and raw. I do absolutely very little, if any, posing during births. My intention is to capture those images of raw emotion and real moments as they happen, so I do not do prompting unless there is a specific pose you want before or after the delivery.
Every Birth Story Includes...
an in-person consultation over coffee or tea to discuss your hopes and expectations
Alex's time on-call starting from your 37th week of pregnancy until baby is born
photography coverage beginning during active labor and lasting until 1 hour post birth
a private, online gallery to view and download the full birth story, delivered within 3 days of birth
Along with some other goodies like...
- complimentary maternity session
- slideshow video for social media sharing
- customized baby book
- 50% off prints and wall art
Booking + Consultation
I like to meet with every client that is interested in booking me for a Birth Story. This helps with the both of us getting comfortable with one another and lets us both know if we mesh well personality wise. Births are such intimate moments, that I like to make sure we are all comfortable with each other from the very start.
During our initial meeting, we will discuss what you have in mind for your baby's debut. We will go over specific shots you want, what you have currently for a birth plan and any other details you want captured during your story. We will also plan a good time frame for your maternity photos to be scheduled and the payment timeline for your Birth Story.
I will also go over limitations with you as well. For example, do you want crowning images? Are you planning to breastfeed? If so, are you anticipating photos of little one latching on for the first time? We will go over all these important details and go over your birth story contract all during the pre-consultation.
To make your initial consultation to go smoothly, I recommended:
Ask Questions: I love questions, especially when it comes to births. I know it is quite an investment for a birth story with me, which is why I welcome all questions. I have a few common ones listed below, but if yours is not on there, do not hesitate to ask me.
Do some research: I mainly say this because each photographer is different. We are unique in our own ways. I love births with a passion, but I also know that not everyone is going to like my approach, or my style of photography. So I always like for clients to make sure I am their number one pick when it comes to these intimate moments.
It is also important to make sure that your birthing center allows photographers. There is nothing worse than not asking and being told that your birth photographer cannot come in because of the hospital's policy. Many hospitals have a policy on the number of people in the room during delivery as well, I count as a person, so make sure that you know the limitations at your birthing center. These are all questions that can be answered when you consult your OB before looking into photographers, or call the birthing center directly.
Know your limitations: Though it is not required at this time, since we talk about it I like for you to think about it. What do you absolutely NOT want covered in your story? It could be simple things like crowning, or nudity below the waist. Or it could be details, like the placenta. I try to capture as much of the full story as I can, but I also want to make sure that everyone is comfortable. Sometimes, that means not booking a full birth story and just booking a Fresh 48.
Now, We Wait...
Your maternity session has came and passed and now you are so over that aching belly of yours, you just want that baby to make their appearance..
But before doing so, we meet one last time.
I like meeting with you and your partner at this meeting so in case we didn't meet before we can all get to know each other. This also lets me know if you have any last minute questions and concerns. We will go over your final birth plan and details, and if anything has changed from our previous discussions. This meeting is mainly just to wrap up any loose ends before your on call time starts.
At this consultation, I request that you have:
Finalized Birthing Plan: I like having a copy of your birth plan in case the two of you are busy, I help assist your doctors and midwives as much as I can while documenting your birth story. This helps in making sure you have the safest delivery possible. It also lets me know if anything happens what you would like me to do.
Contact Numbers for Everyone in the Room: I keep all birth clients "Favorited" in my phone to ensure that I do not miss a call or text from them. Having everyone's number ahead of time makes sure that there will not be a delay in communication come the day, or night, of.
Final Balances Resolved: I cannot start on call overage until the balance of your birth story is paid off. I have it due before on call coverage starts so that you do not have to worry about it come the day of, because no one wants to be pulling their checkbook out after 12+ hours of active labor.
The Day Of
Once you hit 37 weeks gestation, I will be on-call, 24-7, until baby arrives.
This means that I do not travel more than 30 minutes from the city. If I do anything with my family, I drive separate in case I have to leave in the middle of our activities. I have my babysitters on call and I do not take any other special events during the on call time. It is completely devoted to making sure I am there for the arrival of your precious bundle of joy. I even have my camera bag all packed and ready to go so I can leave on a dimes notice of your phone call.
I have my ducks in a row for your delivery, now, it's your job to let me know as soon as you are officially in labor. You know, the point of no return. I usually say when the hospital finally admits you for good, or if a home birth, when you call your midwife. After that, I have you keep me up to date with the progress of your labor, so I can prepare to head that way when the time is right.
When you reach 5-6cm, I will arrive so I can capture from 7cm on. At this point, I will be there for the duration of your labor until you finally get to meet your little beauty, and trust me the long hours are so worth it. After delivery, I will stay about another hour, this way I can photograph their height and weight, as your family meets and gets some cuddle-time in, and for their little details.
Birth is just too intimate of an event not to have a tiny and probably forever bond with each person who is present during your experience. So, if I shed a tear, don't mind me, I get fully engulfed in the experience.. But honestly, that's my favorite part of this job and I think that is what makes it so powerful and meaningful to those who I have worked with.
I love sharing motherhood with other women, I love talking through the tough stuff and cherishing the beautiful pieces of this chaotic journey together.
To ensure the best coverage for your birth story..
Contact: I require the first contact of active delivery to be a phone call. This was I can assure you that I got your message and we spoke, especially if it is late at night. After that, I do not mind getting text messages with updates. I know births can be distracting, so if you want to, I recommend having someone be your designated update deliverer, that way you can focus on your delivery and not worry about if you called me or not.
Have your birthing center informed: I often get caught up with getting into a birth center at night because I am not on the list of approved visitors ahead of time. Since birth photography is still relatively new, some centers do not have experience with photographers just yet. Letting your center and your doctor know ahead of time makes things run as smooth as possible with assuring I get up to your room quickly.
Know that births are unexpected: Some mothers deliver in 3 hours, some in 36 hours. Birth itself is a miraculous things, and thus so, very unexpected. I cover as much of your birth story as I can, but if there are circumstances that prevent me from being in the room, I will have back up options to make sure you are as covered as you can be. This could be anything from handing off my second camera to your Husband or a Nurse to make sure you have moments in the OR if I am not allowed in, to stepping out and waiting for you to be comfortable for me to continue documenting. I will not do anything that you do not want me to do.
Hey Dads: We see you over there making sure she's comfortable, giving her that support she really needs, helping her bring your baby into the world alongside her. This is your moment too.
I want to photograph your relationship during her labor. Your love, encouragement, strength, both emotionally and physically. I want to capture those first moments you hold your baby in your arms. This is your day as well, your moments to be cherished. I want you to have these moments in photographs so you can remember it forever. So, yes, you will be included in photographs.
Within 48 hours, you will be sent a gallery with your birth story. I have you pick out your favorite moments for a slideshow you can share with your friends and family. It is the perfect way to introduce your new bundle to those that are not aware of their arrival and gives you a nice show of your images and the ability to relive that beautiful moment all over again!
Even after your birth, will definitely be keeping in touch. Two - three weeks after your favorites are chosen, I'll hand-deliver your custom baby book in-person, that way you can continue adding photographs of your Little as they continue to grow and learn. I love doing this in person so we have a chance to talk about how things are going and how you feel about how everything went... And maybe you'll let me hold your little babe? No pressure, of course!
I know time after delivery is a blur of days and hours with moments that you don't want to let time take away from you, but I have a few recommendation to ensure a fast delivery of your products,
Select your favorites right when you view your gallery: It is as easy as clicking the "heart" button when you open it up. That way you have them all done and don't have to think about it afterwards, because trust me, you probably won't remember in the chaos of all the excitement. Without your favorites, I cannot continue to make your slide show for social media, or start on your baby book.
Share, Share, Share: When you get your gallery and video, share them! Who doesn't love precious babies flooding their newsfeed? You did something amazing, do not be afarid to share it.
Frequently asked Questions
What is birth photography and what does it cover?
Birth Photography is a documentary style photography session that begins during active labor, through the actual birth. My birth stories cover your entire birthing experience, from active labor, about 7 cm dilatation, photographs all the stages of labor, through the first hour or so of your new baby’s life in a beautiful and unposed style. I capture your journey through labor, your baby’s first breath and first cry, cutting the cord, your first expression when you see her face, and all those details about your brand new bundle of joy and each one of their first precious moments of life.
What kind of photos do you take at birthing sessions?
I typically do documentary style photographs. In other words, there is very little, if any, posing. Just capturing those raw emotions and moments as they happen!
As for the types of photographs I take during birthing session, everyone's preferences vary and comfort levels are different for each mother. In our first consultation, we can discuss what kinds of photographs you feel comfortable with and go from there. Whether it is only focusing on the emotions, the details, of the moments of the whole story, everything will be discussed in person to make sure you are comfortable with what you want me photographing.
Why should I hire a birth photographer?
Birth photography is perhaps one of the most important types of photography out there! I mean, birth itself is one of those most defining and treasured moments that occur in our life. Just like the other great life moments that deserve to be documented, I personally feel like the birth of a child is at the top. I always love telling people about my love for birth photography, because often people do not think to reserve a birth photographer. Mainly because birth can be such a private event, but so many, including myself, afterwards regret not having better photos to remember the occasion.
Often, many families leave the job of taking photos up to the people in the room, but then find that there are none taken because people get quite busy with their own designated jobs and photos become more of an afterthought during labor. This is unfortunately what happened to me.. but a birth photographers sole role is to focus on capturing every precious moment so your birthing team can focus on what they need to focus on.
Many time the mother has a hard time recollecting what happened during the birth of her child because she becomes so focused on the work she is doing to birth her child. This is what happened to me, the story of my son is a blur of moments, none actually showcasing how I felt during his arrival, and it saddens me that I do not have something to look back on. Which is why I started offering birth stories. so other moms can look back and remember their birth experience because such a fleeting moment fades so quickly.
Why should I hire YOU to be my birth photographer?
It is important to hire a birth photographer who has experience with births, being on call, and has some knowledge of the birth process. Experienced birth photographers know the demeanor we need to have in a birth space to keep things as relaxing for a mother, along with how to respect and work with your care providers to ensure the safest delivery for both mama and baby, and of course, how to sensitive documenting the story of birth is. I have attended many births in a variety of environments, including hospital, home, and birthing center settings, and have a vast knowledge of the many scenarios that arise during birth and how best to handle myself if something comes up during your birth.
I have such a great respect for birthing mothers along with the birth process itself, because mama you are a rockstar after ours of labor pains. I had my child as naturally as my health conditions would allow me to, so I understand the incredible amount of focus, privacy, energy, and commitment that a mom has to endure during delivery. I am experienced in the use of natural lighting even in very dim lighting situations, and I do not use flash unless I absolutely have to so I do not disturb the mother with constant flashing lights. Same goes for equipment, I keep my camera bag safe and tucked away in a corner so it is not in the way or that I do not have lots of equipment hanging out in your birthing space. I work hard to make nothing to interfere with the natural process of your birth. I describe myself as a fly on the wall because many mothers forget I am there as I do not interfere in your journey, but simply document it.
When should I book you?
The earlier the better, this way you can be added to my calendar as I only take 2 birth clients a month. To ensure that I never miss a birth, I do not book births around a wedding or any other once in a lifetime event, which is also why I recommended booking a birth photographer as early as possible into your second trimester.
I want excellent birth photography, but price is an issue for me. Do you offer payment plans?
Absolutely. The majority of my clients love to take advantage of the spaced out payment set up so they can make payments that work with their budget before the final balance is due. I also offer options so that friends and family can contribute to your birth photography fund, as they are an awesome baby shower gift for you and your baby!
Simply contact me and we will talk about what your needs are and how to make birth photography possible for your family.
Why is birth photography so expensive?
Birth photographers commit weeks of time to living on call. That means I do not leave more than 30 minutes out of town, my phone is on me all day and night, and I often even miss important family events, such as birthdays and holidays, all to ensure that I do not miss you welcome your baby. Birth photographers are also some of the most skilled artists in the photography industry, as they have to have extensive knowledge on producing amazing quality images in the dark lighting situations that mothers often birth in, which requires having top of the line equipment.Think of the standard price range of wedding photography... Birth photography comes at a very similar price range, and often even more as weddings don’t usually occur in the middle of the night on a surprise date that you cannot plan for, or with an unknown number of hours or even days that will be required in attendance.
Do you take pictures of the whole labor and birth?
This is up to you, I will photograph whatever you would like documented. My biggest concern with labor is ensuring that I am only capturing whatever you feel comfortable with. The only other limitation would be if there are limitations of the hospital or doctor's policies.
Will you post the photos on the internet?
I will post photos, modestly of course, but I will not post anything you’re uncomfortable with. This is something we will discuss during our initial meeting.
I don't want naked photos of myself on the internet! You won't do that, will you?
No way! Birth is such a beautiful and intimate experience that I will never post anything you are not comfortable with, because there are always plenty of images I can use on the internet to display the beauty of birth without showing any nudity of any kind.
If you decide you do not want any of your images shared publicly, I will absolutely respect your wishes for privacy.
Will we meet before the birth?
Absolutely! I want you to feel as comfortable with me and as confident with the process as possible. It is vital that we meet ahead of time and that you are comfortable with my presence during your birth. I do not want you to feel like I am a random person invading your space, so I try to form a bond and friendship with all of my birth clients. If we find that our personalities are not a good match, I am happy to recommend other local photographers as well.
When I go into labor, when should I call you?
Please call as soon as you are admitted for active labor or call your midwife for a home birth. I like to call it the point of no return, where they will not send you home because it really is time. This gives me a good heads up to prepare childcare for my son and to eat or get some coffee in my system to prepare for a long evening. Once you are in active labor, have your partner, or a designated family member, keep in touch with me with updated and I will come right over as soon as you are at the perfect spot in your labor for documenting.
When do you show up?
During active labor, preferably at approx. 6-7 cm.
What if I go in to labor in the middle of the night?
No problem! I will always check in once we hit your on call time, and I ask that I am given as much notice as possible of impending labor or if you are showing any signs at all so that I can begin making arrangements for childcare. But I understand births happen when they want to and that means at all hours of the day or night. You can call me at any time and I will be there as soon as possible, even if it is at 2am!
How long will you stay? What if I have a long labor?
I stay the whole time, as I know births are unpredictable and I am committed to documenting your story. This means if you are in labor for 36 hours, we are in it together for the long haul!
What if I have a short labor, will I get a refund?
No, since there is no way to predict how long a labor will last, or how fast they might be. Regardless of the time spent at the actual labor, all of my birth stories require the same amount of expense, time and commitment on my part. Remember, even a short labor is part of your Birth Story.
How do you handle it if I decide I don't want you in the labor room with us for a period of time?
I will step out of the room anytime you want me to, but will remain in the waiting room until the baby has been born, or if you want me to come back in before then. If that happens, a family member will grab me when you are comfortable. If you wish to wait until the baby is born, after you are settled, I will ask if I can come back in to photograph you and the baby together. There will be no refunds credits if I am asked to leave.
What about scheduled c-sections?
I am always open to shooting any birth, no matter the circumstance, as they are all beautiful and all empowering. This being said, this is something you would need to speak with your doctor or midwife about, as there may be limitations with my being in the OR. There is a lot of activity surrounding a c-section that creates a story worth being told through photographs I will say, so do not think that you will not have a beautiful story if you choose to schedule one.
I will come with you to the hospital and can catch all of the emotion and nerves as you prepare to enter the OR. If I am unable to join you in the OR, I will send one of my cameras in with your partner (I will put the camera on auto, so you don't have to worry about anything). Then, once you are in recovery and reunited with your baby, I will continue to capture your birth story as you enjoy your first moments holding and snuggling with your precious bundle. I will process and deliver all of the images of your story, including those taken by your partner.
What if I give birth prematurely?
I will do my absolute best to be at your labor despite not being on-call. If I am able to come, I will of course be sensitive to the situation at hand and capture as much as I possibly can. If I were to miss your birth, it is possible to use your birth photography investment as a credit towards a newborn session, or any other type of portrait session.
What if you can’t make the birth?
I have never had this happen in my years of birth photography. *knock on wood* I have back up photographers in place if I have a family emergency happen during your on call time, so I always have your birth covered. But in the unlikely situation that I, or my back-up, were to miss your birth during the time in which I am on-call (within 3 weeks of your EDD), you can use your birth photography investment as a credit towards any other type of baby or family session I offer.
What will you do if something is wrong with my baby?
I will assess the situation and make a decision in the moment. Most likely I will stick around for some time either until the situation has passed or until someone is able to update me. Then, I can use my experience to judge what my next step should be.
How long do you stay after my baby is born?
Typically it's about an hour or so before you are all settled with the baby. I tend to wait until the height and weight are taken so you have images of the scale and that process. I can leave at this time, or I can stay for a Fresh 48 session and grab a few images of you together, cozy and resting if you want to add it on. It is up to you.
Will I have to get approval from my hospital?
Please discuss this process with your doctor or midwife. Some hospitals are more strict than others regarding photographing an actual birth in their facility.
Do you use a flash? What if I want my birth dark?
Flash is used on an ‘as needed’ basis. I only use flash in very low-light situations, as it ensures I capture all images if I feel like it is too dark for my camera's abilities. Rarely ever does this situation happen though. This is something we can discuss during your consultation. I use all professional grade equipment from the Canon and Sigma, so I have full trust in my equipment's abilities. I do bring an external flash with me to births, but I rarely use it, but I would rather be safe than sorry. I love to capture the true atmosphere of births to help tell an accurate picture story of your experience, which I do not feel like flash does.
How long will it take to get my photographs?
Withing 2-3 days, you will be emailed gallery of your story. This way you can use them to share the arrival or wait until your favorites are selected for the social media slide show.
What if I decide birth photography is not for me? Would you recommend an in home or hospital newborn session, instead?
Birth photography is not for everyone and I completely understand that! However, I would absolutely recommend booking some sort of baby photo session to capture these fleeting moments. I decided not to and I regret it every day. A hospital session the day after your baby is born is a great substitute for birth photography, you still get those new bonding moments and little details just without the birth.
I do get asked from time to time to help potential clients choose between a hospital or at home newborn session. Both session types have their own benefits, but if I had to choose, I would pick a hospital session, hands down. Those are memories that can never be recaptured and you cannot book a hospital session on a whim after you deliver. An in-home newborn session at two weeks or two months can always be scheduled after you are released from the hospital and can be similar. However, capturing the short season of your hospital stay and those first hours of your baby's life is a priceless investment you won't regret choosing.
Here are the top questions from those in the photography industry
After 3 years and photographing dozens of births, I’ve decided to become an open book in regards to what I’ve learned. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions from photographers interested in photographing the birth sessions.
How did you get into shooting birth stories?
I say I have the birth fever. It all started when I was in labor with my own son, I honestly don’t remember much of his birth story and though I had my sister try to help me with taking photos, we didn’t get more than two. I had complications during my labor and honestly my delivery was so fast that my doctor almost didn’t make it in time. My sister had to help with the birth instead of photographing like I had intended her to. I didn’t want other mothers to have that same issue that I did, so I started offering sessions to friends and I fell in love with my first birth. I knew it was something that I would want to offer clients from that moment on.
Any suggestions on how I can build my portfolio?
My first suggestion is offering a session to close friends and family members that you know are expecting. They will be far more likely to invite you into their delivery room than someone you don’t know since it is such a private and intimate moment. That, and without you having much experience, they are normally more understanding and appreciative to have those moments. The first few births I ever photographed I offered friends to shoot for just above my cost of doing business, and a couple were donated as gifts. After you get a hang of it, I cannot stress enough to figure out what a fair price for you is for all the time devoted, and even more important to make sure that both you and your client are very clear on what it will cost, what limitations they might have, and what is being delivered.
If you don’t know many family members or friends that are expecting, or aren’t around them, I suggest getting in touch with local midwives, doulas, and birth centers. They are often willing to pair you with clients they have that they think would be interested in photographs. Many times it is in exchange for them using a few images themselves in their building, but it is also some great advertising. I would avoid posting on Buy/sell/trade groups as much as you can because many times they are not reliable for finding your ideal clients, or in my instance, tend to produce more issues than benefits.
With being on call for births, working, and having a child of your own, how do you make it work?
I always say I feel like Superwoman when I am on call for a birth. But I have noticed over the years that if you have enough passion for things, you just find a way to just make it work. Some births have fallen perfectly on a weekend when I don’t work, and my boyfriend is home and can watch our son like a normal day. Other occasions, it has been pure insanity with me being at a birth for 36+ hours, making sure my day job work is still done even though I am not in my office, and my son getting moved around between family members, friends and babysitters, but we always make it work. It is easier since I have a flexible work schedule for my day job, because without that I wouldn’t be able to take on the birth stories that I do as often as I do.
Having a great support team is what is number one in this field. Work with your friends and family to figure out a good schedule if you need baby sitters, I mean, grandparent love taking your littles overnight! Also, I recommend connecting with other mothers, birth professionals, and photographers. It is always nice to have a back-up in case emergencies happen, plus they are the best on call, non -family, babysitters.
Do you meet with your clients to get to know them better or do you just get hired and then show up when it’s time?
Yes, I always do, at least three times. Two are consultation appointments, and one is when I am doing their maternity photos. Births are very intimate, I will probably say that a million times, but because of the nature of them I always like to get to know a mother before I am in the delivery room with her. Personally, I wouldn’t want anyone I don’t know just taking photos of me at one of my most vulnerable and intimate moments. I mean, I didn’t even let my grandma or my mother in law in the room and I am very close with them both. I take that consideration into play with other mothers, because I want them to be as comfortable and confident that I am there.
I see a lot of photographers, shoot Birth Stories in all black and white, why don’t you?
I go back and forth so many times on color and black and white images, so I include them both for birth stories. I publish more color though because it showcases the real and authentic moments that happened to me better than black and white. Though those are so beautiful as well. There is just something about a wonderful, rich, color photograph that really takes you back to that memory. I’ve tried doing all black and white because it is the “norm,” but I just always find myself falling in love with a color photo more, so I always include them. It is all personal preference though.
When is the best time to arrive at the birth?
It honestly depends. I typically try and arrive at the hospital, home, or birth center when the client is dilated to a 7, but every birth is different. I have a questionnaire the helps me prepare based on previous labors, pregnancies, or if it is a first time mother. Unfortunately though, even with all the preparation in the world, there is no way to predict whether your client is going to go from being dilated from a 3 to a 9 in 30 minutes, or from a 5 to a 6 in 8 hours.
Communication is key with births. It is important to ask a lot of questions before the birth, especially if they have delivered before. Asking questions like, “Did your past deliveries go quickly?” and “Are you being induced or do you plan to labor at home for as long as possible?” will help you prepare for their upcoming delivery. Of course, these answers can, and might always change when the moment finally arrives, but they often give you a better idea as to what might happen time wise and when you should plan for your arrival.
I have all of my clients communicate with me from the moment their on call time starts. I check in weekly, and once it gets closer to their due date, I check in more often. It helps with seeing how they are feeling, if they have started contractions, or even what their doctor says for updates. Once they are in in active labor, still have them continue to communicate their progress with you until you arrive to photograph.
How do doctors and staff treat and react to you being there?
I have never once been treated poorly at any hospital or birth center. Actually, the staff treats me better at my local hospital as a birth photographer than they did when I delivered there. I have noticed that most nurses are extremely helpful and make sure that they get out of the way when they safely can for me to get a shot if I need to move around them. I have yet to have a nurse or doctor tell me that I cannot photograph them, or anything else, in the delivery room. But, I also make sure that my clients have permission from their doctor, as well as the hospital, to have me there.
The first thing I do when I arrive at the hospital is to introduce myself to the front desk, the nurses, and if the doctor is in the room, to them as well. I strive on being very personable and sweet, but remain professional and down to business. I also let them know that I’m great at staying out of their way and if I end up being in the way to just give me a shove or let me know and I have no problem moving. I am able to get what I need even in the smallest of spaces and rooms. Please, be nice to them, respect the that job they have to do, and know that when they ask you not to do things it is out of the safety for your client and their baby. Most of all, be respectful and they will more than likely do the same to you.Plus, having a good connection and communication with the hospital staff will aid you in being able to get into areas that most photographers would not be able to, like the OR.
How do you make sure you don’t need to be at 2 births at the same time?
The reality of it is that you just can’t. Birth will always be unpredictable, even if you have scheduled inductions and c-sections. I used to try to schedule birth clients weeks apart, but even with doing that it doesn't meant that both clients will not go into labor at the same time. I have had mothers deliver before others with an earlier due date, and vice versa. There is just no telling how it will play out. I’ve learned to let fate handle it.
Currently though, I will only pick up 2 birth stories a month and I do not book during times when I have weddings or elopements. I do this to ensure that I will be able to attend all important events and won’t miss a single moment. I also have a backup photographer on call for if anything every happens, she is there if I do ever need her. I have yet to miss a birth though. (knock on wood).
Do you use a flash?
I have never had to use flash at a birth, okay.. maybe once if I think about it, but I have it on me always in case I ever do. I would rather be safe than sorry, but I feel like artificial light takes away from the raw authentic nature of the moment I am there to capture. I want my client’s images to represent the exact memories of their birth story, for that feeling and atmosphere of their birth to be seen in the photograph. I don’t think flash does that, and I fully trust my camera’s capabilities to capture the moments I want with natural light.
What is your favorite camera and lens while shooting births?
My Canon 5D Mark III is my bread and butter for all of my sessions. She has been the best work companion I have ever had. I shoot all my work exclusively with prime lenses, besides births, as I pull out my 24-70 lens solely for them. I like that I can do the different focal lengths during the fast paced nature of the environment and I don’t have to continuously change a lens for the focal length that I need. Honestly, I find that the less gear you have at a birth, the better. Trying to sort through my bag for different lenses and cameras all while the nurses and doctors are rushing around the room preparing for delivery and my client is screaming “THE BABY IS COMING!” is not something I like to worry about. Simpler is better in this situation.
Have more questions? I’m an open book, so feel free to send them my way and I am more than happy to answer!