I was recently asked a really good question by a labor doula…
…"What's the appeal nowadays with professional pics taken during birth?”
This is actually a really important topic we should talk about together as a community, so I brought it here to my birth blog…
7 life-impacting reasons expecting couples decide to hire me as their professional birth photographer
Memories & Emotions are Important
It’s so important to my birth clients that their transformative experience is documented — for the emotions they experience in becoming such a powerful woman during their labor, to remember the bond they shared with their partner during this experience, to capture their completely raw and unplanned emotional reaction to seeing and touching their baby for the first time.
2. Risk of losing everything
Another thing that most of my birth clients tell me is one of the reasons they choose to hire me is because they don’t want to risk leaving it in the hands of someone who might be taking pictures of a birth for the first time, or someone who may be emotionally compromised in the moment, such as grandparents, friends, dad or the other parent who is witnessing their baby being born. I’ve heard this from many of my birth photography clients with regards to photos from their previous births — as in they don’t have any — their partner was so captivated when they saw their child they forgot to take photos of the moment. Many of my birth clients are having their second or third baby and they remember what their photos look like from their previous birth where dad, grandma, sister or friend took the pictures: most pictures are blurry and this makes sense, an inexperienced hand that belongs to a really excited family member, tends to also be an unsteady hand. Birth clients also recall cell phone / cheap camera pictures from previous births being either too dark or too bright, which makes perfect sense to me, since without knowing the birth process and how different medical providers work during birth, you may not know when to expect sudden bright lights or the opposite. Fluorescent lighting in hospitals is especially tricky to work with and can cause pictures to come out with weird bands, or oddly green/yellow photographs.
3. Not Being Part of the Story
I think that the #1 thing my birth clients tell me is the reason they hire me is because they want to know what his reaction will be, they want to see what his reaction will look like, they want their partner or spouse to be PART of the birth story.
Did you know that most pictures taken at births are taken by dad/partner/spouse? That means usually the only pictures of them are holding the baby way after delivery, when you’ve had the time to get comfortable, and that initial raw reaction of his PURE AMAZEMENT has faded. The family pictured below did not want to give up that moment a second time so they hired me to capture them meeting their second daughter.
This family pictured below knew that an experience like becoming parents for the first time ever was something they couldn’t miss and chose to hire me for the birth of their first child, a baby boy.
4. Umm.. that’s not exactly what I wanted a picture of…
Often times when a family member or friend is taking pictures at a birth, the pictures end up being not exactly what the mom had in mind.
Many of my birth clients tell me that to them — the most important FEELING about their birth story photos was to see the emotional bonding between mom & her partner, between mom & baby, daddy & baby; but often times when it is someone who is inexperienced in photographing a birth story, they often focus on the wrong things — they might photograph the baby crowning (and often at a very unflattering angle!) but totally forget about mom’s face in the moment she realizes she’s really doing it! They may photograph the doctor holding up the baby but not mom and dad’s faces lighting up and crying and smiling like crazy at the first sight of their baby.
When it is a person who is inexperienced in capturing these exquisite once-in-a-lifetime moments, they may not know how to look for the important highlights of a birth story, and so often, not only is it common for the quality of non-professional birth photos to be compromised, but the photos may all together be of not quite the special and emotional moments the parents wanted to remember from this day.
5. This is the picture I wanted:
Is what most of my clients who are having their second or third baby say to me when they describe the lack of photos of these special memories from their previous births. And it is also one of the moments and photos my first time moms are looking forward to seeing in their birth story once they give birth.
6. Family Matters
Family matters to my clients, and these kinds of reactions below would NOT be possible without quick acting and knowing your camera gear and what to look for and when to expect it.
7. Forgetting Most of the Day
For most women, labor tends to be long, and towards the end — quite intense. It is easy to quickly forget most of your labor. Having it captured by someone who exclusively photographs birth, understands the physiology of birth and works really well with your doctor, midwife, nurses, doulas and family members — it is the best investment and the best way to document and remember this incredibly life-changing experience forever.