Most of us have had a photographer take our picture at some time or other. (A professional photographer I mean. Not your Aunt Tami at Thanksgiving.)
Maybe at a wedding you’ve seen how that photographer moves around getting pictures of everything and everyone. (And if it was your own wedding, you were in most of them and spent a lot of time with that photographer!)
Maybe family photos?
At the very least you probably had someone tell you to face this way and smile for your school picture each year while you were growing up.
We all have a pretty good idea of what it’s like to have our picture taken and what the photographer is doing in the room.
But what about at birth? Not many of us have been present at a birth with a photographer. Maybe you’ve seen birth photos, but you don’t usually see the photographer in those! So maybe you’d like a better idea of what it’s like to have one there in the room with you.
I love a good story and I’m someone who digs into aaaallll the info before making a decision. But if you just want a brief feel for what it’s like to have a birth photographer in the room I’ll give you the quick version here. If you want more, keep reading after that!
Having a birth photographer in the room is easy. It doesn’t feel like someone’s peeping into your privacy or like you’ve got the paparazzi flashing in your face. Most parents barely notice that’s she’s there. A birth photographer is a supportive member of your birth team who wants to document your story without disrupting your birth flow or getting in anyone’s way.
Now, more of the story if you want it!
I’m gonna start with a little pre-birth action to set the scene.
Your birth photographer will go “on call” for you in the weeks leading up to your birth. Different photographers begin that at different times. It may be adjusted for your particular situation, but I typically go on call at 38 weeks.
Going on call means that your photographer will never be far from their phone and they will be available for you to reach them day or night, 24/7. If a situation arises where they cannot do that for some amount of time, they should have a back-up photographer ready to go in their place during that time. (I always do!)
During this time, we love it when you send us updates about labor-type things going on in your body! Or even any updates/changes of plan when you meet with your care provider. We love to get excited with you!
And when you think you’re getting pretty close, we’ll be getting our kids ready for while we’re away and packing a few snacks so we can go as soon as you say “go!”
Once we arrive, no matter where you are giving birth, we’ll enter the room quietly and get a feel for the situation.
Unless your baby is about to fly out, we won’t start clicking as soon as we walk in. We want to see how you are, how the room feels, say hello to your team. We’ll find a convenient place to put our things and get our equipment ready.
Of course I can’t speak for every photographer, so here’s what it’s like to have me in the room.
I’ll usually start with a few photos from the edges of the room. It helps as we all get used to being there together.
Some photographers use flash and some do not. I’m one who does because of the higher quality photos I can get with it. However, it’s not what you usually think of with flash where you get that bright spot right in your face. I actually turn it away from you and bounce the light off the walls and ceiling. It’s just a bit brighter in the room for a moment and most parents barely notice it, if at all.
After that I’m moving here and there, maybe a little closer, maybe getting low or raising my camera way above our heads for a new perspective. It’s not click-click-click all the time though! I choose moments carefully. And I know you need space to just be, and sometimes you need some privacy.
But I’m not posing you or giving direction. This is documentation of your experience, and I want to help you see it just as it was, in the most beautiful way.
Sometimes if things are feeling slow, we all chat a little. I won’t usually start the chatting though. I let the parents initiate that so no one has to talk when they don’t feel like it.
When we get close to the moment of birth, I’m trying to get to a spot that will give me the best view of what you’ve told me you want to see in your photos, without getting in the way of any of the rest of your birth team.
Some moms want photos of their own reaction and/or dad’s. Some want the focus on the baby as she’s being lifted up. Some want the complete details of baby emerging. Some want as much of the moment as they can get without anything too intimate showing.
I’ll admit, this is the moment I get a little click-happy. Things move fast and I want to make sure I document what you want to the very best of my ability!
Once baby is wrapped in your arms, the feel in the room shifts, but you won’t see me packing up my bags yet!
One of the most fun things about seeing your birth story in photos is how it moves from the powerful work and emotion of labor into almost a mini newborn session.
We’re still not doing poses, but we can’t miss those brand new fingers and toes, the first time they open their eyes and meet yours, dad’s first time holding baby in his own arms, your first steps into breastfeeding, how your whole team loves on your baby with every touch and smile, that fresh wet hair… and so so so much more.
Y’all, I am watching for every special thing through your whole labor. Things that you may not even notice happening! And I do not stop when your baby is here. It’s like the most loving, cutest, meaningful game of I Spy ever!
Usually about 2 hours after the moment of birth, I’ll pack up my bags, tell you how amazing you were one more time and head home. (Likely for a nap, which I know you’ll be doing too!)
You get settled in at home with your baby and I work on editing your photos. Different photographers do this next part in a huge variety of different ways. I’ll give you the skinny on my personal approach.
I want the first time you see your birth story to be a special occasion. And I want you to feel emotionally prepared for the experience, which can be quite moving for a number of reasons.
About a month after the birth we schedule a time for me to come to your home where you and your partner get to share in that story experience together. (I’ll even bring fancy snacks and make it a mini date for you – hard to come by at that stage!)
And if you’re okay with it, well, I wouldn’t mind getting a little baby snuggle in at the same time. 😉
Maybe you still have a few questions about the experience? Try my FAQ!
Go ahead and Contact Me if you like how this sounds and want to explore birth photography for your birth!