Let’s get straight to the big question: Why Should You Hire a Professional Birth Photographer?
- Let’s get down to it: Why hire a professional?
- I know what you’re thinking, “My husband, mom, or sister (or even all of the above) will be there, can’t they take pictures for me?” Can they? Sure, in an ideal situation they can snap pictures for you. But what is more important to you; having your spouse/partner participate in the labor and birth of your child, or them being on the sidelines trying to get a good angle to grab pictures when your baby is born? You want them by your side, holding your hand, being in those moments WITH you. I can tell you, from my own experience, you want them there next to you for the entire journey. You don’t want them distracted or across the room or playing with camera settings or pulling out their phone to snap pictures. This is a moment that happens once. Whether it’s your first, second, or sixth child, each birth is new and it’s own and you don’t want to miss a second of it. You can’t get this time back, and no one can recreate it. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard of moms having a friend take photos and them coming out blurry and unusable. I am a proud member of the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers and I don’t take that privilege and responsibility lightly. If you want tasteful, crisp, professional images then you have come to the right place.
- Next up: “But I don’t know about having anyone extra in the birth room.”
- Once again, you aren’t alone, this is a very normal thought process. The easiest way to put it is I am a birth professional. Just like any other professional who will be in the delivery room; your nurse, doctor, midwife, doula. You don’t want to change your mind at the last minute, especially when it comes to one of the most important moments of you and your families lives. Next to your wedding, this is one of the most memorable days of your life. You will never want to forget it. If you are anything like me, pictures spark memories. Seeing the photo of my husband whispering in my ear while we were getting our wedding shots taken after we exchanged vows, it brings back a joke he shared just with me. I don’t know if I would remember that moment if it weren’t for our photographer capturing that exact second in time. When you get married you find a photographer and secure their services. You want to make sure they capture and seal all those small moments, the tiny details that you worked so long and hard for. Birth is no different. Make sure you think long and hard before you decide you do or don’t want a professional photographer for the birth of your child. If you are still having doubts, here are a few reasons why you may want to hire a professional birth photographer…
- First things first – You want dad in the pictures! Take my word on this. I have never seen more emotion from men than during the birth of their children. Birth is an emotional roller coaster, for BOTH of you. You don’t want them to miss having those moments with you, and I can promise you that you DO want them captured. During childbirth you can get a little busy bringing that new baby into the world, and we don’t think, or have the focus, to look at our husband, or sister, or partners face in those moments. You are in the same emotional world as they are, and each of your reactions are some the most priceless and beautiful moments you will ever see. If, you have them captured.
You both want to enjoy these moments, without having your focus or mind elsewhere. Let that man support you, hold your hand, kiss your brow. Choose to be in those moments together. You won’t regret it. If I could have cameras in every delivery room simply to capture the smiles, tears, and joy that comes from birth, I would (with consent of course, hehe).
- Crazy fact – You will forget. I know it’s probably horrible to say or insinuate that you could possibly forget some of these moments that you have been looking forward to for so long, but it happens. Childbirth can be long, short, hard, sometimes even easy. Each experience is different and every woman that has been through it can confirm that you can’t remember everything. I honestly have no idea what happened the hour before my first daughter was born, and the 3 HOURS after! I hate saying that, but it’s true. I had a horrible reaction to some of the medication they gave me and it’s all a blur. Everything I do remember is solely from pictures that were taken. Those images bring back slight recollections of the first time I held my first born, and watching my husband sit next to me gazing at her sweet face. Even telling you that now brings back a small flood of emotions and memories.
- Babies change and grow so quick. It may sound silly, but babies look different just hours after birth. Their head shapes can change, their fingers relax and stretch out, sometimes even their hair changes and straightens or curls. They enter our world looking one way, and can leave the hospital looking completely different. People will tell you how much they look like their dad in those first few moments, and then next thing you know they look more like you. It’s a fun joy getting to capture those changes so you can reexamine them later.
- The emotion and beauty of childbirth is priceless. I can’t express this enough. When I try to explain to people why I love what I do, it boils down to a simple fact: Capturing the love in parents eyes, their smiles and tears in all those first moments, it is joy. Not just for you either, but for anyone that ever views those photos with you. The new love that is born with your baby is unexplainable. Check the images on my site, or other birth photographers sites and see what I’m talking about – the true, exhausted, raw emotion that surfaces when you see your baby come into this world for the first time is as real as love gets. You can’t replicate it. You also can’t get those images captured when you are holding your baby’s tiny fingers for the first time. Counting their toes. Checking what their eye color is, and noticing how long their tiny fingers are and how wrinkly their feet are. You don’t want to miss out on all those precious things by trying to fill multiple rolls. Be in those moments, and then let me give them back to you to keep forever.
- Next question: Do you use a flash? I am a natural light photographer. I am hired to capture your labor and childbirth and will do everything within my professional power to not add unneeded lighting. I do have a speedlite flash that I carry with me in case it is needed, but unless I see a real need for it I won’t use flash. I will say that the limited times I have used it families have not even noticed. I will never do anything that could distract or interrupt a labor and birth.
- How far in advance should you book a Birth Photographer? As soon as you know you are expecting and have an estimated due date, let me know. I only take on a few births per month, as to avoid any lapses and ensure availability, and some months book up quickly. Don’t wait, if you have questions ask. I’m here to help you feel comfortable and excited about your little one joining the family, so contact me as soon as you’ve decided.
- Once labor starts, when do I contact you? It’s always helpful to keep me in the loop. I go on-call 2 weeks before your due date and stay on call, 24/7, until baby arrives. While I don’t require weekly updates, it’s nice to know about any progress. At the very least, when you go into active labor it’s time to call me. Don’t wait until after you’ve been at the hospital a few hours, or they are calling the doctor in. I want to be there with plenty of time to spare. I like to arrive in time to capture your labor, babies debut and then a few hours after for all those special first moments. A good rule of thumb is it’s always better to see me early, rather than late.
What if I need a Cesarean birth?
In this instance, I need you to communicate with and to your care provider & advocate to have me in the operating room. I have attended and photographed several Cesarean births and this is a case-by-case basis. If an emergency arises and for any reason I am not allowed in the OR, I will hand my back-up camera off to someone who will be in there so they can capture as much of the birth as possible. Once baby is out and we are given the all clear I will continue capturing your story.
What if I have a scheduled Cesarean?
As I mentioned above, it is your responsibility to communicate to your care provider & to make sure it is okay for me to be present in the operating room. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you AND your birth partner to be the ones to request my presence. It is your doctor & the on-call anesthesiologist who make the ultimate decision, and your request for me to be there means everything in this situation.
- Do you offer maternity and newborn too? This all depends on my schedule. I do not do solo-maternity sessions, only for my Birth Families. I do Lifestyle Newborn Sessions after you and baby are home. I also offer First48 and Breastfeeding/Baby Wearing mini-sessions. While I do not offer your typical posed newborn sessions, I know of a few photographers that I would highly recommend if that is why you are looking for.
– RESOURCES –
You are pregnant, or hoping to become so soon. That’s awesome news! Congratulations! Now it’s time to get down to business and start educating yourself on this entire pregnancy, labor, childbirth, postpartum, breastfeeding culture. I’m not just talking about the pregnancy and birth side of things, those are just pieces of a much bigger journey. To get you started, here are a few questions to help get your brain stirring…
- Are you going to use a Doctor or Midwife?
- Have you thought about hiring a doula?
- What about a birth photographer? (Yes, there are photos to be taken other than maternity and newborn :wink wink:)
- Are you wanting to breastfeed?
- Are there any classes or groups in your area that lend support before, during and after you begin this new chapter? (just a hint, there are!)
Don’t go into pregnancy assuming your doctor will tell you everything you need to know. The child-birthing part of this exciting and life changing time is just one piece. There are a lot of people and tools available to help you prepare for all the new things that arise when becoming a parent, even if you’ve already had previous children. Here are a few sites that are very useful for this exciting time. Childbirth and motherhood don’t start the day you go into labor. It begins when you first enter the pregnancy journey and lasts until well after our wee ones are placed into our arms. I hope you find this information helpful and if you have any questions, or are searching for any specific needs in the gulf coast area, please contact me and I’d be glad to point you in the right direction.
Emerald Coast Birth Resources also has a great Facebook Page