What is Motherhood Photography?
I like to define Motherhood Photography as anything that captures the different phases of motherhood- specifically, the preparation of becoming a mother for the first time or again, the moments leading up to and giving birth, and those precious moments with a newborn. I strictly offer Maternity + Birth + Newborn Photography and Senior Photography. I like to say that I capture the “bringing in to the world, and the sending out.” There are certainly other beautiful phases of motherhood that are so worthy of being captured- these just happen to be the ones that I am most passionate about and therefore pour all my heart and soul into for my families.
Why Birth Photography?
Birth. It has to be the single most miraculous experience of all time. When I experienced it for the first time I was instantly addicted and I literally said in the hospital delivery room that I couldn’t wait to experience it again. It was challenging and pushed me to my limits, but I have never felt as accomplished as in that single moment, nor so completely fulfilled. So, I experienced it 3 more times- each time just as miraculous as the last but each birth unique- each story unique, just like my children.
With my forth delivery I felt an immediate sense of sadness because I knew that it would be my last. Our family had met it’s capacity, but I didn’t want to be done with the birth experience. I considered surrogacy, nursing school, doula training, but never birth photography. I didn’t even know there could be such a thing until I was invited to document the delivery for one of my dearest friends. It was during her birth that my dream was born and several years later it would become my reality.
As a birth photographer, I am given the unique opportunity to be present during other people’s miracles. I get to document the very first chapter in an incredible life story for my clients. I especially love when I get to capture the bigger picture- the preparation and anticipation during pregnancy and then the tiny details of the first newborn days, including the creation or expansion of a family. Sadly, these moments are fleeting because time refuses to stand still, but through photography, these memories and stories can last forever and can be passed down as a family legacy for generations to come.
The Birth Session Experience
I begin all my birth client relationships with an in-person consultation. I prefer to meet with both expecting parents because I feel that it is very important that we get to know each other before we embark on such an exciting and intimate journey together. You will have the opportunity to ask me any questions that you might have and during this time we will discuss all the details of your birth plan and what your preferences are for your birth session. We will go over my birth contract during this time as well.
I recommend that all clients choose to have a full maternity session and newborn session to complete your baby’s birth story. The maternity session can be with your spouse and other children or a mini session for just mom. This session is best between 28 and 32 weeks. It is best to schedule your newborn session within the first 10 days after delivery for a posed newborn session or within the first month for a lifestyle newborn session. The three sessions together allow for a full birth story to be told and makes a beautiful album and slideshow. Birth Sessions start at $1100, but the Birth Bundle allows you all three sessions at a great discount.
At 38 weeks I officially go on call and will be available to you 24/7 from this point on until your baby is born. Both you and your partner will have all of my contact information and should keep me posted as soon as the first sign of labor begins. I will plan to meet you at the hospital, birth center, or your home when full labor has been confirmed.
Your birth session begins as soon as I am called to the birth location during active labor and will continue until after your baby enters the world. I will remain there to capture all of the first snuggles, the newborn exam, and any other moments you want captured.
Within the first 48 hours you will receive several fully edited, sneak peek images or a custom announcement with birth stats that you can share to announce your baby’s arrival. Soon you will receive all the full resolution digital images from your birth in a private online gallery. Your gallery will include both color and black and white processed images for you to download and keep, share, and print as you wish.
In addition to your online gallery, you will receive a slideshow & blog post detailing your birth story. I will compile my notes taken during your labor and delivery along with your images so that you can enjoy reliving your birth story and perhaps even experience some details that you missed. You can then share your sweet birth story with others if you wish, or it can stay privately hosted on my website.
Most of my mamas love to add on a custom book or album. These birth stories are meant to be told and shared often and this is the perfect way to do so. I will do all the complex designing, and you can have input on the content you want included. You will be able to easily proof your album online before it is sent to print. You can enjoy telling your sweet baby his/her birth story over any over, but most definitely on each birth day.
Birth Session FAQs
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER TO CAPTURE MY BIRTH?
Professional photography should not be for weddings alone. I can think of no other occasion that matches the significance of a life entering the world. You can certainly task your husband with the job, but trust me…you are going to want and need him by your side holding your hand, not a camera. You will look back on these images often, you will want them to be a quality that you can cherish for generations. You will also want to choose a photographer who is experienced in the birth environment for many reasons, including how to work cooperatively among other birth professionals and how to handle low light situations.
WHY DOES BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY SEEM SO EXPENSIVE?
Unlike wedding photography, when a scheduled time is given and number of hours committed, births are completely unpredictable. When I am on call, I put my life on hold and am available to you 24 hours a day from 38 weeks on until you deliver. Once I get the call that you are in active labor, I am with you for the duration of your labor and delivery and even several hours afterwards to capture all those special first moments, regardless of how long that may be. In addition, my birth sessions are the only time that I include all the fully edited digital files as part of a package.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN TO CALL YOU?
I want to know as soon as there are signs of labor so that I will be on alert. I will look for updates from you or your spouse. Once you have been examined by your health professional and it is confirmed that you are in active labor, then I will join you. I always like to err on the side of caution and prefer to arrive early.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A MODEST BIRTH SESSION?
Absolutely! It is my goal to capture a story that you want to share with others. Prior to our consultation, I will provide you with a Birth Preferences Checklist that we will use to discuss all of your desires in great detail. You can feel assured that your privacy will be guarded. Alternately, if you would like to have ALL the details captured, I will aim to do so as long as there are no limitations imposed by your birth location of choice.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I GO INTO LABOR EARLY or YOU MISS THE BIRTH?
If you happen to go into labor before the on-call window, I will still do all I can to arrive as originally planned. If it happens that I do not make it for the birth in time, then your session can be converted to a Warm Welcome session and I will still come to the hospital to document your first moments as a family. I have put every precaution in place to help avoid missing a birth, including partnering with backup birth photographers who can stand in if needed.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN THE EVENT OF COMPLICATIONS?
I will rely on my intuition to make a judgment call about what is needed in the event that something unplanned occurs. If there is an opportunity for us to communicate about your desires then we can do so, but if not then I will do my best to keep in mind what your desires would be given the circumstances.
Yes! A scheduled c-section can be treated as a full birth story, with coverage beginning upon your hospital arrival through the post-birth bonding time. It can also be served with a Warm Welcome package with coverage beginning within the first 24 hours. For the full birth session, I will arrive with you at the hospital to capture the preparations and all the allowed details that I can. You will need to ask your provider if I will be allowed into the OR. If not, we can incorporate some “Daddy Cam” images from the OR, and then I will continue to capture the rest of your story as soon as you and the baby return to your room. It is a good idea to have the “what if” conversation with your provider, even if a c-section isn’t part of your desired birth plan. If something changes during labor that necessitates a c-section then it will good for both of us to know whether or not I will be allowed to enter the OR or it I will continue capturing your story in recovery. Many c-sections moms are especially grateful to have me present to capture those moments they may miss while in the recovery room. That way they can still enjoy seeing their husband caring for their new baby in those first moments. All birth stories are beautiful and worthy of being told.
CAN I DECIDE THAT I NEED SOME PRIVACY DURING LABOR?
Again, absolutely! I am happy to come and go as you would like me to. If you feel the need to have some privacy I will remove myself to the waiting room until I hear from you or your spouse that you are ready for me to return. Just keep in mind that if things speed up and I am not called back in there is a chance that I could miss the delivery. There will be no refunds or credits in this case.
WHAT DO YOU DO DURING THE WHOLE LABOR AND DELIVERY? ARE YOU SHOOTING THE WHOLE TIME?
I like to think of myself as a fly on the wall during a birth session. I try to make myself as discreet as possible, so as not to interject myself in any way. I am solely there to capture what is happening in the room. I will quietly capture moments that I think you will want to remember, as well as details around the room. I will be in tune to how you are feeling and handling your labor and if I sense that you are disturbed by me or the small noise of my camera, I will take a break and wait for more appropriate moments. I will use my phone during the quiet moments to write down some notes about times and details that I will then share with you and incorporate in your slideshow and/or album.
WHEN WILL MY PICTURES BE READY?
You will receive some sneak peek images to share within 48 hours, with the fully edited gallery and slideshow following within 6 weeks of your birth day. If you are adding a newborn session then I always like to deliver those images first so that moms can order announcements to send out to family & friends and then I complete the birth story.
As part of the Birth Preferences Checklist, you will have the opportunity to communicate beforehand what your initial desires are about what is shared. I like to be extremely protective of your privacy. Your blog post and slideshow will be password protected until you give your input and final approval. You may chose to keep it private indefinitely if you would like.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU HAVE?
I shoot with all professional level gear, namely a Canon 5D Mark III and L-series Canon lenses and Art series Sigma lenses. Typically during a birth I use my 35mm 1.4 Sigma Art because of it’s incredible low light capabilities and wide angle for those tight birth spaces. I also pack my Prophoto A1 flash, along with a backup camera body. It is my preference to use a soft diffused and bounced flash, but in the event that you decide it is distracting I will use the available light instead. We will discuss the technicalities and your desires about flash during your consultation.
DO YOU SHOOT VIDEO AS WELL?
I do. Most of my moms like to add video clips on to their birth package for a tiny fee. Still images will take precedence, but when appropriate I like to capture more details in video.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT I AM PICKING THE RIGHT BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER?
This is a phenomenal question! Birth photography is a rapidly growing genre of photography, so the photographer choices available to you are also growing. There are a few practical things to consider when seeking the right photographer for you. First, you will want to explore their body of work. You will be looking for consistency in the quality of images and style of shooting and editing. It is best if your birth photographer has experience in the birth environment so that s/he understands how to read the room and react appropriately and safely. You will want meet any prospective photographers in person. This will allow you to ensure that you will have the opportunity to ask all your most important questions, but it will also give you the opportunity to make sure that you will be comfortable having that person present with you in your delivery space. Most of my clients have expressed that they just “know”. Your photographer should feel like an old friend and you should have confidence in his/her abilities. I tell all moms that I am happy to share the names of other photographers so that they can explore all their options. It is important to me that you are comfortable and happy going into your birth. If that is with me by your side, that is such an honor. If that is with someone else by your side, that is great too. My business is also my ministry. I therefore don’t serve my clients from a place of competition with others. I pray my passion for photography blesses the families I work with and that is how I am blessed in return.