"We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong."
- Laura Stavoe Harm
What to know about Birth Photography.
First and foremost, I am here for you. The time I spend with you in the birth space will be all about YOU. I will respect your space and be a fly on the wall- with a camera! I am prepared to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 24+ hours with you. Birth is so unpredictable, and I expect it to be unpredictable! It's all part of Birth Photography.
Birth Photography is a raw, emotional, unscripted, and uncensored. As your photographer, I will document anything and everything you tell me to. I will send a questionnaire beforehand where you will tell me the images you're hoping for. From the little details in the room to the crowning of your child, I will capture it if you want it. I want you to remember the emotion you felt as you brought life into your world. The next few days and weeks to come will be a whirlwind. By documenting your birth experience, you can look back and reflect on your accomplishment.
When to call me.
The moment labor onset begins, let me know. Labor onset means that your contractions are becoming regular and intensifying, or if your water breaks. If you are being induced, I will arrive when contractions start intensifying. During this time before I arrive, we'll talk it out together and figure out a good time for me to come. If you are working with a doula or if you have a support person with you, I can take their information and speak with them if you wish. Typically, I leave for a birth once labor progresses and contractions are get harder to talk and walk through. I do not always go off of how dilated you are, as this isn't a good indication of when baby will be born. Every pregnancy is different and every person is different. So, if at any time you want me there sooner, you can just let me know. Remember to take into consideration how long it would take me to travel to the birth space.
The On-Call Period.
From 38 weeks on, I will have my phone available for phone calls and texts at all hours of the day and night. Texting notifications will be on loud however, I may not wake up. For more urgent matters such as labor onset, please call me. Do not feel bad for calling me in the middle of the night. I cannot urge this enough. During the on call period, I expect to be woken up at 4:27AM- and that's quite alright! That's part of the excitement, so please, do not feel bad!
What to expect from your photographer during labor.
When I arrive, I will take up just a small corner of the room for my gear. I normally start shooting right away. I will normally start with some detail images while labor is slow. I will document the interactions between you and your support person, the calm in between, and details of the room. During more active labor, I will keep to myself, giving you your space to bring this babe into the world, all the while photographing the progress. And at the moment of delivery, I will try my hardest to get into position to capture the images you want. I will make every attempt to get the images you've envisioned. However, there may be some limitations which brings me to my next point.
Expectation of your photos.
As mentioned, I will make every possible attempt to get the images you are hoping for. However in some spaces and hospitals, they have rules. Some birth spaces and even some doulas, request that there be no flash photography. I use equipment that works best in low lighting situations. However with this lack of lighting, there is a certain amount of grain or noise that will appear in your photos. If you are working with a doula or birth space that requests no flash, adding a bit of ambient light such as string lights or couple candles will help.
Another limitation I may come across with photographing your birth, will be what I am legally allowed to document. Most home births or birth centers, allow me to photograph almost everything. However, there may be medical staff that would rather not be photographed which may hinder what I can take pictures of. If you are birthing in a hospital, and request an epidural, I may need to leave the room and won't be able to document it. As well as with C-Section, some hospitals do not allow photographers into the operating room. For any and all limitations, rest assured that I will not leave. I will be waiting until little babe is here to capture the moments earthside.
But most importantly...
I want you to do what makes you comfortable and what keeps you and your little one safe. If there is ever a moment you want me to step out, I will gladly do so. I am here to photograph whatever you want. I will respect your space and your right to privacy. I have never been asked to leave but I want you to feel reassured that you have that right. I will wait outside until the baby is born. This way, if you wish to have earthside photos, I will be available.