Why Hire a Birth Photographer?

I was caught off guard today when someone asked me why I got into doing birth photography. (No, sorry I didn't have a speech prepared!) I stumbled out a answer of "Well, I had never done one and wanted to..." and then backpedaled and told the story of my births and how over the years I've gotten more and more excited about birth. Now that I've had a few more moments to reflect upon the question, I know I have a better answer. I became interested in birth photography because I wanted to help women have positive birth experiences. By providing moms with beautiful, artistic, story-telling, I hope that I can help them remember their birth as beautiful, energizing, life-changing, and spiritual.
Common excuses I hear:

#1. Husband can take the pictures. Sorry, but no, he can't. You want Husband/Boyfriend in the pictures with you. He was involved in the process of making the baby, he should be involved in the process of the arrival of the baby. :)

#2. Mom/Sister/Friend can take the pictures. If you have a M/S/F with an eye for photography and some experience with taking pictures, this would be an option. However, most people just pick up the camera, aim it in the general direction of the subject, and click the button. Most people do not consciously compose their photographs. Even some people who call themselves "photographers" have a hard time with this. I will document your birth in a tasteful, respectful manner. I do not get "in your face" nor is my flash blinding you every other minute (I refrain from using a flash as much as possible - see this birth for very dark conditions). I try to be as non-distracting as possible. I also shoot in black & white for a more artistic, documentary effect. This eliminates distracting elements.

#3. So-and-So will take pictures, but she's never even seen a birth before. I have three children of my own, all born without an epidural or any other interventions. I've attended births in the hospital and in the home. I've seen a variety of positions used for laboring and delivery. I've seen a few things I had not expected, but I did not pass out. I'm not going to be shocked by anything.

#4. Ew, Gross! I don't want pictures of blood & guts! Well, you shouldn't be "bleeding", unless your doctor cuts you or you tear, and the only "guts" involved is the placenta, which I don't normally take a picture of. Birth is a normal life process, it's not cutting off an arm.

#5. I don't want to see pictures of myself like that. When you are in labor, you generally don't know what you look like, and you most likely won't care either. Also, chances are you won't remember much, simply because the process of birth is a varied mix of feelings, emotions, and sensations. But later, days after the birth, you can look back on those pictures and "remember" moments that you may not have known was happening, whether I capture something when you weren't looking, or from a different angle that you couldn't have seen, etc. Hopefully, you can look back with joy (and a little pride) and say "I did that. I birthed my baby" no matter what kind of birth you have. I want to show the journey of going from a woman to a mother, from a husband & wife to becoming a family

#6. I didn't do this when the other kids were born and I don't want them to feel less special. All the more reason to do it now! Especially for those who are pregnant with their last child, what a wonderful way to preserve your last time being pregnant, your last time giving birth, you last time welcoming a new member of your family. Just because you didn't do it with the first, doesn't mean you "can't" do it with later kids. We all know there are plenty of things we did or didn't do with our firsts, that we allowed or didn't allow with our later kids.

#7. My doctor or hospital won't allow it. That would be a red flag for me, I'd want to find a new doctor. :) I've attended births in a number of hospitals in the Las Vegas Valley, each with a different doctor. They've all been pleasant and agreeable. If they request that I not photograph something, of course I comply.

#8. I'm not cool with having a stranger at my birth. Um, well, if you give birth in a hospital, the nurses are most likely going to be strangers. And you will probably interact with three or four of them. Then there's always a chance your doctor doesn't make it to your birth and you deliver with whoever is on call that day. So unless you are delivering with a midwife at home, where you have complete control over all your surroundings, you will most likely have strangers walking into your birthing room whether you like it or not. :) If you choose to hire me as your birth photographer, I guarantee you we will not be "strangers". There will be a consultation where we meet (preferably your husband will be there too) and make sure that you like me and want me at your birth. We will keep in touch through out your pregnancy through emails. Depending on when the first consultation was, we may get together for lunch as you near your due date. And of course, you will call me to let me know when you feel those first contractions, giving me a little heads up, so I will be ready to drop everything when your labor is in full swing. Many of my clients I now consider friends, and love to get together with them, whether it is for the next portrait session or just to hang out. So, no, we will not be strangers!

Can anyone come up with any other excuses? I'm losing my Excuses Creativity....

The moms I have attended have all loved their images. Some were not so sure before the birth, but afterwards, they were very grateful to have those moments captured. They have said things like "I didn't even know you were there, I don't remember you taking that shot, Oh I'm so glad you got that one, I love the look on his face, These mean so much to me, Thank you for being there."

I love photographing births. I love being a small part of this wonderful experience. I love that you love it and will treasure it for years to come!

- The Virgin Author!  – (March 14, 2010 at 8:34 AM)  

Brilliant concept of yours about taking the birth photographs. And a mind blowing snap clicked by you! And hey, the counter you said for all the excuses: Genuine. And deals well. Greatly written.

I would surely like to have you around when I get married, and my wife's having a baby! You click great, lady! :)

Amy  – (March 15, 2010 at 6:49 AM)  

I just want you to know that when I first heard about photographing a birth I was in line with numbers 4 and 5. But after seeing your beautiful pictures and the special moments that you capture in each picture it seems weird to me that someone would not want that documented. My best friend/cousin just gave birth and I had to hide my surprise that she wasn't going to have someone photograph it. I definitely want my births photographed (preferably by you because you are my favorite!)

Jessica B  – (March 21, 2010 at 9:05 PM)  

This is from my midwife Margie Dacko. She posted this comment on Facebook. I love her perspective and value her opinion so much that I wanted to post it here!

Margie says:
There is a huge difference between birth photography and birth pictures.

Birth pictures are the pictures, blurry, unfocused, unflattering, taken without much thought, that are the result of someone at a birth grabbing a camera and snapping a few pictures.

Birth photography is the artful composition of the moments of your birth that will make your heart sing every time you view them for the rest of your life. A professional photographer will be focusing on capturing the moments of your birth that will never happen a second time, and those things that the parents, who are too caught up in the experience, won't even notice happening. Only a photographer who is experienced in births will remember to take a picture of the father's expression as the baby is born, or pictures of the babies hands and feet. Little things like the expression of relief and joy on a new mother's face as soon as the baby is born. So many things are going on during a birth, but a professional photographer only has one role and one responsibility, so she can capture the birth like no one else can.

As a midwife I highly recommend a professional birth photographer, and Jessica is exceptional.

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Rules for leaving comments: Have manners. :) Be nice to my clients. I enabled the "Anonymous" option so that a few certain people could leave comments. If you log in under "Anonymous", please leave your name. If you abuse this option, your comments will be deleted and the option will be turned off. Thanks for your encouragement and happy comments!

jessica B photography

Specializing in Las Vegas birth photography and newborn photography. Jessica B is also available for weddings and portrait sessions.

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