Why a Birth Photographer is important.
While I’ll always cherish my wedding day, the biggest moments of my entire life were the births of my four children. They have shaped who I am as a person and they are (literally) physically a part of me. My wedding day was heavily documented, but by contrast I have very few photos of my own children in their first few hours! Without a doubt my biggest regret in life (and probably my only) is that I don’t have photos of most of these moments, particularly my littlest ones who were born at 29 weeks; eighteen months apart! Because of my personal experience, I’m a huge advocate of creating timeless high-quality photography for families to preserve one of the most beautiful and impactful moments of their lives; the birth of a child. As a mother, I your focus will be the long journey of giving birth - as it should be - but I also recognize that many women echo the sentiment of regret of truly capturing this day. Don't regret capturing this important journey; it's far too important.
I’m planning on having my husband/mom/sister/nurse take photos!
It's wonderful that you already have a plan! It means you know how important photographing the moment is! However, understand that while it's a great idea to have a plan, everyone in the room already has a role. Dad will need to focus on you and in the beautiful (but chaotic) moments - dad will inevitably probably forget to take photos - or worse, take them but capture them in the way you don't want to remember it! My own husband seemed to photograph every grimace I made during early birth; photos that made it to Facebook; groan! Same goes for the new Grandmas in the room, or the best friend and sister. They are so emotionally invested in YOU, and they likely won't photograph this moment for you in the way that I will. Every angle and every photograph is well thought-out and intended to capture what you want, (and what you don’t want). When your labor is over and you're exhausted and it seems like it was all a whirlwind, you'll have gorgeous high-quality images to tell the story in a way you didn’t get an opportunity to experience. Imagine having a journalistic hard-bound book of your whole birth experience – all edited to highlight your beauty and the miracle of life; you'll cherish it forever. Those cell phones will merely capture snapshots, whereas telling the story of your child’s birth will capture the emotion and tell the story.
How long is your Birth Photography Coverage?
Every birth is unique, so we will discuss your needs based on conversations about your prenatal care and past history (did you have a child already and what was that experience like?) We will develop a plan that works best and one that we are both comfortable, typically the earlier you can contact me (and keep me updated) the easier it is for me to mobilize and meet you at the facility. I will typically stay until after you give birth to capture those first moments (weighing baby, latching to breastfeed – if you desire). If situations arise medically that prevent photos after baby is born, I will come back to capture them when it’s appropriate; I don’t want you to feel like you’ve missed out on your images.
How do I know you'll be able to make it to my child’s birth?
Right now I’m only taking a few birth clients, on a case-by-case basis. My goal is to be sure I am free to photograph your baby as promised and I can’t do that by overextending myself! Of course, babies are unpredictable, but I will also work to ensure that I have a professional back-up photographer in the event that my schedule and baby’s arrival clash! I currently have one back-up photographer, but I believe in networking and I love meeting people, so in all likelihood, I’ll have more than one in place! In the event that I cannot make your child’s birth, then we will discuss crediting your payments elsewhere. This also applies to circumstances were clients don’t call when they go into labor – I will still honor your payment elsewhere. You’ll have the phone numbers of any on-call back-up photographers. They will be in similar style and quality as mine.
What if I have a c-section?
If you have a c-section or have a scheduled c-section, it’s up to your hospital to determine the policy. Some hospitals will allow photographers, while others won’t. You’ll still have all of your images of your day leading up to the big moment, and I’ll be outside waiting for you after you come out to capture you and baby on the other side! I’ll be sure to capture those first moments of post-partum bliss (some nurses will even allow me to give a crash course on operating my camera and snap a few for me). It’s imperative that you have conversations regarding your hospital’s policy on who is allowed in the OR and I would have the conversation more than once (some facilities/doctors will OK, some won’t!)
Will my photos be too graphic to share with others?
It’s entirely up to you as every birth and photographic journey is unique. You and I will discuss your desires in terms of photographing the birth and you’ll outline what you want and don’t want. Some moms want the “shoot from the shoulder” viewpoint, while others want every angle (spread eagle; baby crowing) to be photographed. I’ll also be flexible and change it up if you change your mind along the way! Every photo will be yours and won’t be shared publicly, unless you deem so. Your images are professionally edited and delivered privately – you’ll be the one to share them. We will go over what your desires are in a lengthy in-person consultation. Your privacy and the “right” to share what you want, when you want, will always be in your control!
When should I call you?
If you even suspect “something” is happening, call me! I recall with my pregnancy with my third child – I went to my 28 week appointment which was rather routine – I had some “Braxton hicks” and I mentioned these menacing pains to my doc – the next thing I knew I was on a Medivac Helicopter and being transferred out because I was in full-blown labor! So, trust me when I say, even if you think it’s nothing, text, call, or put someone in charge of contacting me. I would be heartbroken if I missed your child’s birth because you were worried about appearing silly or overreacting! Typically, if it’s enough to call hubby, doctor, nurse or your mom – drop me a text! It’s also a good idea to let me know of changes as you are going to your doctor appointments.
Will you be using a flash?
The one thing births and lighting has in common is that they are both completely unpredictable! Even rooms within the same hospital can have completely different light! While my gear is specifically designed to work well in low-light, I may occasionally bounce a flash behind or beside me. You won’t have a flash “up in your face” as the light that bounces will disperse throughout the room to give your photos what they need to shine but you probably won’t even know it’s being used (if it’s needed). If flash can't be avoided I will use a diffuser which will soften the light to shield your focus from giving birth.
What makes you a good choice for my birth photographer?
As a Photographer in general, one of the reasons I chose this profession (aside from my passion for creating beautiful images) is because I enjoy building relationships! I consider building trust and I’d like to think that I walk away from every client shoot having made a new friend; I just love it. As a mother myself, I think my experiences are a huge part of what makes me confident and successful in being able to help your day run seamlessly. I have run the gamut of birth experiences; young mother; bedrest, vacuum assist, epidural, past-due date, water breaking, water not breaking, natural birth; no drugs, a quick 2-hour birth, advance maternal age mom, two high risk preemie births including a 7-week antepartum stay that required blood transfusions, a PICC line, a helicopter ride and plenty of NICU time. So trust me when I say that whatever you are going through – I’ve probably been there and even if I haven’t I’ve seen enough where most scenarios won’t put panic on my face during your delivery – it’s important that those who surround you remain calm. My love of people and my range of birth experiences can help me lend you a deeper, calmer connection for your baby’s big day.
When do we meet and discuss everything?
The sooner the better! We’ll get together to discuss everything and you’ll be able to ask all the questions you can possibly think of! If possible, I would like your partner to also be present so that we can all discuss what you both want, but we can do that in a round-two meeting if that helps. Keep in mind that before we enter into our agreement, you’ll have to check with your hospital or facility to ensure that you are able to be photographed. I will go make sure that you know what to ask and how to convey what you are asking. Your birth facility may also already currently work with me (and not require permission) but we’ll go over this when we meet! We can meet in my studio or at a coffee shop, or in your home if you prefer!
When and How do I book you/make payment?
As stated above, I like to make sure my schedule isn’t packed with other clients around the time of your due date so booking me earlier ensures that you are given priority. You’ll pay 50% at time of booking and the other 50% is due 3 weeks prior to your due date. I also include a maternity session (or gender reveal photo session; you choose) with your package which will be scheduled depending on what you choose. Acceptable forms of payment include: Cash, check, credit and PayPal.
How and when do I get my images?
All of my packages come with digital files. Depending on what you want, we will come up with the plan and package that reflects what you want from the experience. All images will be edited in black and white as well as color. The standard turn-around time is 2 weeks. If your gallery is expected to take longer it'll be communicated. Your images will be downloadable via a private online gallery that is both password protected and uses a unique PIN number to access downloading. All canvases, books and prints will have delivery dates depending on products ordered.