Questions and Answers
Being a birth photographer I enter some of the most intimate places and moments of people's lives; because of this, clients often have many questions before inviting me in. Below are some of the questions I get most often. If you have any other questions or would like to meet-up and chat about birth photography, please reach out!
Why should I hire a birth photographer?
There are so many reasons why women should and do hire birth photographers; here are a few:
- Birth is one of those moments in life that is completely transformative and for each child you bring into this world it only happens once. To have the ability to look back on such an amazing journey can bring strength, healing, and joy as you process a new season in life, and look back on such an impactful season in years to come.
- By having your birth photographed you will have the opportunity to experience your birth from a completely different perspective. While in birth a mother is very present in the moment and is focused on one thing - getting baby to join her earth-side. Being so focused, she often misses all that is going on around her and many women say they cannot remember a lot from their birth because they were so focused. Having birth photos is like having an out of body experience. You are able to see all the beautiful things that were going on around you during your birth, all the details that you weren't able to take in in the moment. You also get the opportunity to see yourself in a different light, to see the strength and beauty that you possess as a birthing mother.
- Memory of details fade over time, but these photos will help you remember this season and journey for the rest of your life.
- You only meet your sweet child once and there is no moment more beautiful than parents meeting their baby for the first time. To be able to see what this was like and remember it is very special for you and one day for you to share with your child.
Why are you a birth photographer?
I have always had a passion for birth and the birthing process. In college I studied photography and global studies. I did a ton of work in college working on fighting the issue of human trafficking. Post-college I continued non-profit work in working with women's justice issues as well as serving in non-profits working with issues of education and poverty. Through all of this my husband and I were also photographers and loved capturing seasons of life for people and telling their stories. While we were pregnant with our first baby I began to look into birth photographers because I wanted to document my birthing journey. While researching, I fell absolutely in love with birth photography and began dreaming of being a birth photographer myself. In December 2015 I was invited in to shoot my very first birth. After that I was hooked. There was no greater story that I could tell than that of life being brought into the world. I love helping women see themselves in a different light, I love advocating for choice for women in their birthing journey, I love capturing little humans, I love capturing the love story that takes place in the birthing room between mom and dad, I love capturing the array of emotions that can happen in the birthing process - I love it all. Capturing birth is like taking photos of a new color entering the world, a color that has never before been seen and will never be seen again. Nothing else in the world is like birth photography and it is a complete honor to capture each birth that I photograph.
What kind of training do you have to be a birth photographer?
I have a degree in fine art with an emphasis in photography. I also have attended many births in many different situations - at hospitals and birth centers, in a home, and a cesarean birth. In being a mother myself, I have walked through the birthing process and learned a great deal about birth and the options within that journey. Soon, I am beginning a new learning adventure of becoming a certified doula and lactation consultant.
What is it like having a birth photographer in the room? Will you interact with us during the birth?
This is something we will discuss when we sit down and talk about your specific desires for your birth plan. In some births women ask me to be like a fly on the wall. In this situation I work to simply record, and the women who have requested me to be only there for recording purposes have told me that they didn't even realize my presence. For other women they get strength and energy from encouragement from others in the room. In these situations women have asked me to interact, with smiles and encouraging words and have invited me into their birth process. In these situations I interact with my client in the laboring process and I have had women share with me that my words helped them get through their birth. It all depends on your needs and what gives you strength, energy, and peace as you labor.
How long are you on call for and what does being "on call" mean?
I am on call 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your due date. When I am on call I have my phone with me at all times, and I am available 24/7 with the ringer on. I do not make plans that I can not leave or cancel. If there is a commitment that I have that I would be unable to leave from we discuss it prior and I have a back-up photographer scheduled for that time period. I have babysitters on call and I have my camera bag packed and ready to walk out the door for your birth.
When do you come in the birthing process?
My goal is to get to your birthing location when you are in active labor, i.e. 4-5cm dilated and contractions are every 3-4 minutes.
What if you miss my birth?
I have yet to miss a birth, knock on wood! But as we all know, birth is unpredictable and can go extremely fast or slow. If I were to miss a birth due to no fault of my own I would put your deposit towards another photo story like a fresh 48 or newborn session. I always urge my clients to contact me once they feel any signs of labor no matter the time of day so I can do everything in my power to make it. If I miss your birth due to sickness or a personal emergency I will refund your deposit if I am unable to find a birth photographer to replace me last minute.
What if I have a really long birth?
Birth is completely unpredictable. If you have a long birth I am there to capture your story though the whole thing. However, there are instances where birth can last days. In this case I may leave if you are not progressing, or progressing very slowly, and come back when things pick back up again.
How long do you stay after I give birth?
I stay for up to two hours after you have given birth. I play it by ear on exactly how long I stay depending on how people are feeling, what your needs are, the time of day it is when you gave birth - all of these play a factor into how long I stay. I always aim to get photos of the baby being looked over by the midwife/doctor and getting weighed and such. I also get photos of mom and dad interacting with baby.
How do you handle the low light available in birthing situations?
Birth rooms are usually not ideal lighting for photographers. In most situations I am able to boost my ISO and have enough light to capture your story. If it is too dark to capture anything I will sometimes turn on a lamp or open a window a bit. When in low light situations without a flash the photos will have a little grain to them and show a little more movement. If there is not enough light to get photos, I do have the option of using a flash (though I have only had this be a necessity once). This will be something we discuss when we sit down and talk about your birth plan to see if this is something you would be okay with or what you would like me to do if I do not have enough light. If a flash were used it would be defused and always bounced off a wall or the ceiling.
What if I require a C-section?
When we meet to discuss your birth plan this is another situation we will go over. If you would like photos in this situation I advise you to speak with your doctor at one of your visits before labor to see if they would allow a photographer in the OR. Every hospital and doctor has different policies on this and it is best to discuss it before the situation arises when possible. If I am unable to be in the OR I capture the moments leading up to and immediately following your time in the birth room OR.
Will you post my photos on the internet?
I never post photos of a birth that the mother has not seen AND approved. Included in your package is a blog post of your birth to share your story with friends and family. It can be as brief or all encompassing as you want it to be. Before I work on your post I will get a general idea from you about the types of photos you would like used. I then allow you to fully review the post and approve all of the photos before I post it. If you do not want a blog post that is totally okay as well. Lastly, those who sign a full model release to show any photos from their birth are eligible for a discount on their photo package.
Do you offer gift certificates or payment plans?
Yes! I offer many payment options to try and help make birth photography in grasp for anyone who desires it. I offer payment plans, gift certificates and a gift registry that friends and family can contribute to. If you have any questions about any of these options don't hesitate to ask!
How, ahem, graphic will my photos be?
This again is something we discuss at when we meet to go over your birth plan. Some women want all the details of their birthing process and some women like me to focus more on the emotions and relational interactions of it all and avoid pictures that would have anything "graphic." In general, I tend to be rather modest in my approach to birth photography and frame shots in such a way to give you the story without showing evvvvvverything.