Eww, you mean you are right “there” while the baby is being born and you get all those “gross” shots?!
I was interviewed in 2011 by BP4U Photography Tips & Guides and one of the questions was, “What is your fav thing to shoot?” and my answer was, “Births! Hands down. There is just something special and magical when you are present at another woman’s birth and have been welcomed to such and amazing milestone in a family’s life. I didn’t know how important birth photography was to me (and the families) until I had the birth of our second son photographed. I was able to see so many things that I had either forgotten or had never noticed. Newborns are next on the list.” Due to this response, I started receiving many questions on how I started photographing births and why. Is it ‘weird’? What if mom goes into labor in the middle of the night? What if labor is quick? So, I asked people to send in their questions and I would respond in a blog post.
Ok, stop. Can you identify all of these terms? ISO, focal length, aperture, white balance, kelvin, rule of thirds, exposure, metering, noise. If you can’t, do not start photographing births. You must learn your camera, properly expose and be able to change your manual settings quickly. Start off photographing inanimate objects, then move onto family and friends. Purchase professional equipment and MASTER your camera and style before photographing any birth.
Secondly, I want to start off by saying the birth photography is a breed all in it’s own. You can not go into a birth thinking like a wedding or portrait photographer, this is not another ‘gig’. Being a birth photographer you have to be very respectful of everyone present, whether it be a hospital birth with interventions, an all natural home birth with a midwife, or anything in between. You should be unobtrusive, unless discussed otherwise with the family. I HIGHLY recommend attending birthing and bereavement classes. Educate yourself on what to expect at a natural unmedicated birth, a medicated birth, a c-section, and what to expect in an emergency.
Finally, birth photography is so much more than just getting “the shot”, you know the one you probably think about when you hear “birth”. Labor is beautiful. You have partners supporting mom, doulas giving encouraging words, midwives guiding baby into mothers arms, and doctors holding up that new life for mom to see. After delivery you have touching moments of a new mom looking into her babies eyes and creating the life long bond between one another. You are able to capture that single tear rolling down dads face as fatherhood has finally hit him. There is more to birth photography than one might think, and they are images that clients will cherish forever.
So, get your reading glasses on and let’s get onto those questions that were sent in by YOU!