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!
Please take a moment as a parent to fill out this survey, thank you!
I LOVE organizing! So much so, I think I have a problem. I’ve been wanting to update my Client, Resource and Accounting binder, but didn’t have the time to create new forms. It just so happened that friend and fellow birth photographer, Carolyn Spranger of Carolyn Spranger Photography: Births, had some in the testing phase! She sent me the files and I got to customizing them according to my branding, immediately. With 35 .psd files completely customizable to my needs, it was a very quick process.
Carolyn’s Photographer Organization Templates include: Continue reading
This past weekend I attended Gena Kirby’s Rebozo workshop as part of my doula training and had the most amazing time with some wonderful ladies. We only had 6 hours together, but we left with such a respect for the Rebozo and a connection with each other. I can’t wait to share what I learned with every person I come across. Seriously, they are going to get sick of me talking about it. I wish I could tell you more about my experience, however, it would be like trying to explain labor to a woman that has never been in labor. You can describe it in great detail, but until she has experienced labor herself, she just won’t fully understand and appreciate the awesomeness of giving birth to that new life.
Gena and doula/yoga instructor, Rachel Luttrell, were planning a private prenatal yoga session for Monday morning and Gena asked if I was available to photograph it. ABSOLUTELY! The session was so peaceful with Rachel providing great instruction and visual guides. I wanted to throw my camera down and join in!! Continue reading
This 6lb 6oz beauty made a fairly quick entrance into the world. So quick in fact, several nearly missed the birth! The last text I had received from mom said, “Baby feels like it’s coming”. I replied letting her know, I could leave now and it would take about 15 minutes. When I arrived and gave a quick knock on the door, I heard a little cry come from inside. Mária was an absolutely beautiful baby with a gorgeous head of thick black hair. Big brother was adorable with his new little sister and was a complete ham in front of my camera! Congratulations to Mom, Dad, and big brother!
A newborns look can change a lot within just a few hours, days, and weeks of birth which is why I absolutely love Fresh48 sessions! I don’t have to be on call quite like I am with a birth, but I’m still able to get those beautiful new baby photos.
April and I connected about a week prior to her due date, I sent her all the forms I needed to be filled out and returned, she sent them back quickly, and that was that. On Monday morning, I woke up to a text I received around 2:30am “Hey, this is April! Baby is here!”. YAY, I love these texts! I replied to April by letting her know I could come by the hospital later that afternoon if they were up for it, or I could let them rest and come the next day. She said they were up for it, so we planned on me being there later that afternoon.
I’m so glad we planed for the afternoon, because the light coming into the room was perfect!!
Congratulations Mom, Dad, and Big Sister!
I was originally contacted by Wyatt’s parents to be their birth photographer, but during our initial meeting, Kristy informed me that she was also looking for a doula. I advised her to interview as many as they could and let her know that I was going to be attending my DONA workshop that weekend if she was interested. They went ahead with their consults, but ultimately decided I’d be the one not only photographing the birth of their son, but be their doula as well! I was so excited, but nervous at the same time as I didn’t know how I was going to juggle being both doula and photographer.
I got “the” call at 4:10am on August 9th, “Jen, my water broke, what do we do?” I asked her if she was having contractions, “No”. I advised her to call her physician to see what they wanted to do. I obviously wasn’t going back to sleep, so I hopped in the shower, made sure my bags were (still – I have little people) packed and ready to go, then I sat. Sat some more… and sat some more. I finally fell asleep on my couch and woke up around 7:00am to my four-year-old wiping my forehead with a paper towel “There you go mama”. I rarely nap let alone sleep on the couch so I think he thought I was sick. I called Kristy for an update, they were at the hospital, but there was no consistency yet so I went ahead with my morning, getting ready for our garage sale the next day, with my phone attached to my hip.
We spoke again around 9:00am and decided I’d come by 11:00am. When I arrived, we tried different things to get labor moving along, shower, ball, squats, backwards-sitting-toilet, walking, etc. But at noon, pitocin was started. At their doula prenatals, we had discussed the difference between natural contractions and pitocin contractions. I told her how I felt any woman that could go through a pitocin induction without an epidural was a hero to me. Well folks, this mama went EIGHT hours with very hard and painful contractions. I will admit, it was hard at times to see her in so much pain, but she did it! Brian, her husband, was an amazing support throughout the entire labor and delivery. They made a perfect team and I can only imagine what wonderful parents they will make. Around 9:00pm, Kristy received an epidural and was finally able to get the rest she needed to deliver her baby. Two hours later at 11:15pm she was at 8cm and she delivered her beautiful baby boy at 11:40pm in just a few short pushes.
I am so grateful that they invited me into such a special time in their lives and trusted me enough to be a part of their birth team. Congratulations!
I recently went through my DONA workshop to become a birth doula and needed images for my new doula site, My Doula Heart. I sent out a notice in my mommy group looking for any pregnant women that wanted to come out to a local park for a 15 minute maternity session. It was a beautiful morning with some beautiful mama’s to be, thanks for coming out!