You are deep in the throes of "labourland" that magical place where the rest of the world ceases to exist. You are only vaguely aware of your surroundings, and you are feeling like this intensity will swallow you whole, but you can feel your partner's finger gently caressing your arm, and that little gesture of love and support is everything. You know that birth is the end of one journey, yet only the beginning of another, and in that moment there is no doubt that together, you will totally rock this parenting gig.
Professional documentary birth photography tells the powerful story of labour and birth. Birth is beautiful, intense, and utterly transformative. It is also hormone-filled and fleeting. There are many details that a birthing mother is simply not aware of in the heat of the moment; your partner's intense emotions as they ride the highs and lows along with you, the subtle support that your loved ones and caregivers provide, and the look on your faces as you first exchange glances with your new love. There will be little moments that you may miss as baby is assessed, or shares their first snuggles with your partner as you are cared for. The tiny details and expressions of your new baby will change so quickly, and memories will fade.
birth photography FAQs and myths
Q: Birth is so private, won't I be uncomfortable having a stranger with a camera in the room?
A: Privacy is very important in the birth environment, and I always respect your privacy as a primary concern. I am very careful to remain quietly in the background, and to give you as much space and privacy as required. If at any time you would like me to leave your birthing environment, I will respectfully oblige, and remain available to return until shortly after your baby arrives. I also feel that it is critically important to establish a relationship before your birth, so that I am not the "stranger" in the room. I insist on meeting with you before we book your birth, again at about 35 weeks, and will stay in communication throughout your pregnancy.
Q: I don't want a bunch of shots "down there" so why would I want a birth photographer?
A: I don't take any shots "down there" unless requested. I shoot to tell a story, a story about love, support, triumph and empowerment that can be presented in an album or slideshow. A story that you would feel comfortable and proud to share. Generally, nearly all of the images that I provide will be free of any explicit nudity, and no images featuring explicit nudity will ever be included in an album or slideshow unless you request to have it included.
Q: I am planning to book maternity and newborn photography, isn't adding birth photography overkill?
A: Documentary birth photography captures a different part of your story than the maternity and newborn photos will tell. Maternity photography captures your beautiful, life-giving figure and your loving anticipation, while newborn photography preserves the tiny details of your new baby, and your overwhelming joy at their presence. What you are missing out on is the powerful transformation that you will undergo in the moments between. The struggle, the support, the love, and the triumph. The wonder and awe when you first meet your new babe. The look on your baby's face as she takes her first breath. The moments that will feel like eternity but be soon forgotten in the hormonal haze. Those moments are SO precious, and I would love to preserve them for you.
Q: My partner/mother/sister/friend will be with me for the birth, and can take some pictures for me, why would I need a professional?
A: Birth is a very challenging environment for photography, and very emotionally overwhelming for all parties involved. Often, your family or friends are so wrapped up in the awe of the experience that you will end up with a lot of shots of the baby physically emerging, and very few of the emotional story behind the birth. If you are considering birth photography, it is probably not to end up with an album full of “those” shots. The other common occurrence, particularly if it is your partner in charge of the camera, is that they will be so wrapped up in the birth, and in supporting you (rightfully so), that they may forget the camera altogether, or at least until well after the baby has arrived. Ideally, your photos should tell the story of all of the love and support that you receive, which is nearly impossible if your support people are the ones behind the lens. Technically, birth environments can also be very challenging. The lighting is often very dim, and the action can move very fast; it is not a situation that is ideal for “Auto” mode. The nudity and graphic factors can also be very distracting if creative angles are not utilized. Hiring a professional photographer will ensure that you get the whole beautiful, powerful, emotional story.