The First Days | F.A.Q. | Birth Stories
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.