Having a sister or friend take pictures for you is way better than having your partner leaving your side to do it and certainly better than having no pictures at all. But let me ask you: How well does she know birth? Does she know where to be to get the best angle? Does she know the rhythm and flow of birth to know what to watch for? Is she aware of the challenges of taking pictures in low light or how to work with the light in the room for the best results? And is she going to spend hours editing your photos to highlight the beauty of your birth or be able to help you create gorgeous artwork that will last for years with a place of honor in your home? Because those are the things I know and the things I will do for you.
Whatever you want me to. This is one of the important things we will talk about at our consultation together! If you want pictures of every raw, intimate element of your birth, I will do that for you. If you want to keep the pictures above the waist and just really focus in on the emotions and connection, I will do that for you. If there are certain shots you are really hoping to have, tell me and I will do everything I can to get them! I will be there to capture the things you want to remember.
The short answer is: only if you want me to. Some women love sharing with the world what real birth is like and are glad to have their images respectfully displayed so others can see their amazing experience. Some women want to keep their private moments private and simply cherish them in their own homes. Some women are comfortable with a few of their images being shared, but not all. But you are the one who gets to decide. When you sign a contract with me, I will give you a "model release" form to sign and on it you will be able to indicate exactly how you want your images to be used. I love being able to share beautiful images of birth, but I only do it with permission.
You're right, it is unpredictable! There are several things I do to make this less of a concern:
1. I make sure both you and your partner have my personal number and I keep my phone with me at all times from 37 weeks on (yes, even in the middle of the night!).
2. We will talk in advance about the best time to call to make sure you're not calling too late for me to make it (if you are in one of my childbirth classes, you probably already know when that is!).
3. I have several babysitters ready to come watch my kids at a moment's notice.
4. In the rare instance that I am completely unable to get there in a reasonable time (due to sickness or a car accident, for example), I have a back-up photographer available who is also skilled in birth photography. She will take pictures for the whole birth or until I am able to get there. I will still edit your photos and provide your artwork.
It can feel really discouraging when there is something important to you and your partner doesn't see the value of it. But honestly, it's probably because they haven't been given the opportunity to see and and really feel the value! This is one reason why I want both of you to be at our personal consultation. I want you both to see the beauty of birth and to envision your own labor and first moments with your child preserved for you as treasured art. I don't want you to talk with me on your own and then feel like you need to go back and convince your partner. I want you to make this decision together and feel excitement at the prospect of cherishing your birth through these photos together. And no joke, dads love these photos showing how he supported you and how he fell completely in love with his little one at first sight.