Meet Beckum. 16 days old. He's a handsome little guy! It's always good to have a post-partum visit with my birth moms!
Meet Beckum. 16 days old. He's a handsome little guy! It's always good to have a post-partum visit with my birth moms!
3. I am not self-taught. I majored in photography in college. This is where a lot of people say “Really? I didn’t know you could go to school for that!” Yes, you can. There are even very expensive schools you can go to to learn photography (alas, I did not go to one of those schools). While I originally picked that major because I wanted to take “fun” classes at college, I soon learned it wasn’t all fun & games. Photography 101 covered a lot of technical things that were hard for my 18 year old brain to grasp. I learned on a 20 yr old Canon AE-1 and spent many hours in the darkroom with my film & paper & chemicals. During those college years, I not only worked with black & white film and paper, but also color negatives, color positives (slides), printed on color paper, and used large format cameras with sheet film similar to what Mr. Ansel Adams himself used.
4. I’ve got more experience than the average Jane. After a few years of college, I had gotten to the point where I thought I would learn more from hands-on experience and so I went in search of a job. I’ve worked at a children & family portrait studio, done yearbook pictures at high schools, and assisted a wedding photographer in Las Vegas. I did my first solo wedding nine years ago. Nine years ago! (If you’ve been paying attention, you could take a good guess at my age at this point) I have been free-lancing weddings & portraits since then, and officially started my business Jessica B Photography at the beginning of this year.
5. Photography is not my passion. Did I really just say that?? One of the first things I’ve noticed some photographers say in their “bios” is “Photography is my passion!” Webster defines "Passion" as (among other things) an "intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction." I'm sorry, but I don't wake up in the morning and think "What can I take a picture of today????" While I do enjoy a good session, taking my camera out for fun, or learning a new technique, I would have to say that photography is not my passion.
6. What is my "passion" then? Having a good time. I enjoy laughing and having a good time with people (who doesn’t?) especially my favorite people, including my family and close friends. Life should be enjoyable, shouldn't your employment be enjoyable, too? In doing photography, I strive to have a good time, to make your session a fun non-stressful experience for you, to capture special moments of your life to last forever, and to enjoy the celebration of your wedding or birth with you, otherwise… photography turns into work. And we don’t want it to be work, do we? No. And in the end, I would like us to be friends. I have met many wonderful people through photographing them, and have developed friendships with many of them, and I like it.
7. If I could go back, I would spend more on my own wedding photography. We did not do professional engagements, professional bridals, or professional pre-wedding formals. On the day of the wedding, I did not hire my photographer for nearly long enough. I now have a minimum requirement for weddings, due in part to my own experience. I would spend more thought, more time, and more money to get exactly what I had envisioned and the photographer who suited us best.
8. I’m a casual person. I’m good with jeans and a T-shirt and my hair is most likely going to be in a ponytail or bun (I know, that’s totally not what I’m wearing in the image above). I’m not overly trendy, but I do have certain styles that I totally dig. While I do believe it is important to dress for the success of your portraits, I as the photographer will come dressed in jeans and tennis shoes (to portrait sessions. Yes, I will dress appropriately for weddings!) . I will most likely be running around or standing on things to get the perfect shot. I have been known to climb trees or lay in the dirt during portrait sessions.
9. I’ve given birth to all of my children at home. This is always a great conversation starter. The short of it is that even when I was young, hospitals were the place you went if you were sick or dying (however, I don’t think I want to die at a hospital, I’d rather die at home too). The process of giving birth is neither a sickness nor death, so why would I want to go to the hospital for that? There are many other things that factored in to why I choose to give birth at home, but mostly it’s because it is the best experience for me. I love giving birth. I get excited about it and actually look forward to the next time that I can give birth again.
10. Other random facts: I am a fan of strawberries, ice cream, Vans old skool shoes, Jimmy Eat World, hammocks, hot tubs, the beach, and snowboarding in a T-shirt. I LOVE vacations (destination photography = work + vacation, right?). I was once asked what I thought the most beautiful sound in the world was, and I answered “children laughing” and this was before I had any of my own. I am a Las Vegas native, but I’m a small town girl at heart. I looooove date nights with my husband. Anything outdoors makes me happy. Except for the blasted summer heat. I really think I could do without days over 110 degrees. I also dislike spelling errors.
Calindria is a stunning beauty, level-headed, smart, fun and likes to hang out with her parents. What teenager does that? I love the relationship she has with her mom & dad and wish that more familes could have that. Look for more of Calindria in a week or two, and Malia is soon to come as well!
Spent my morning with these folks.
I was so stoked to see this couple come in with not one, but TWO mastiffs. I had never seen one "in real life" before!! This dog weighs more than I do!! Well, these were definitely the biggest dogs I saw today, there were also some tiny dogs and lots of in-between dogs. There were dogs in dresses, dogs in hats, and a dog in pajamas. There were dogs named Calvin Klein, Bella, and Spaetzle, Schnitzel, and Struedel. It was a dog festival, what can I say.
See Spot Run hosted a Celebrity Dog Walk as a fundraiser for an off-leash dog park to be built here in Boulder City. There are many dog enthusiasts out here that would really enjoy having such a park in our town. Although I am not a dog owner myself, it was quite fun to be there this morning. I was asked which is harder - taking pictures of dogs or kids? My answer: I'm not sure... (they both have their difficulties!)
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!
WPP... what??? WPPI - Wedding & Portrait Photographers International. It's a photographer's conventioin held every year in Las Vegas, and every year I think about going but then don't. Except for this year. This year I got tickets to the trade show - my photo friends all said you learn just as much there as you do in the classes. Well, they were right. Besides being overwhelmed by the vast number and variety of photography services out there, I also got to listen to some pretty cool speakers at some of the booths, including Kevin Kubota, Doug Gordon, Louis Pang, David Beckstead, Carrie Sandoval & Brittany Woodall, and a bunch of other people whom I can't remember their names.... :) I learned some new things and also was surprised by a few things that I was already doing that these pros do (yahoo for me!). I got to try out a few lenses that I've been eyeing. I finally signed up to be a part of the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep organization. While sitting at the Nikon booth listening to Cliff Mautner, he advanced his slideshow to an image of a bride sharing a rose with her grandmother. He tells the story of this bride and how her grandmother was sick and wouldn't make it to the wedding. The bride asked to go to the hospital first, before going to the ceremony site. He captured those few moments between the bride and her grandmother, then they proceeded with the rest of the wedding day. The grandmother passed away a week later. He went on to say (I'm paraphrasing here) it's not about making a million bucks as a fancy wedding photographer, it's about creating & capturing a moment that will be special to that client, moments and memories that mean something to them. And it really is. Many times I've have had the thought "Why do I do this???" I always come up with the same answer. All these years, I could've had a simpler, less expensive, less time-consuming hobby that I could've kept to myself instead of sharing with my friends & family. Why have I spent so much time working on other people's portraits instead of my own kids? I could've been doing a million other things... But... I like photography... and I like making beautiful images... and my kids can only handle so much camera time... and I like helping you freeze those moments of your life that you want to remember for ever. I want to help you have great memories of your life. And that's why I do photography.
I walked into Leanne's birthing room when she was right at 10 cm. However, she was told not to push because the doctor was not there yet!!! Luckily he got there pretty fast (within 15 minutes).
1:20pm Sunday afternoon
1:37pm Pushing. The team effort was really cute! (if I am allowed to call this situation "cute") When Leanne was taking a big breath, Kevin & her mom were taking a big breath. When Leanne pushed, Kevin & her mom "pushed".
This is for out-of-state family & friends, including two siblings who are on foreign missions, and can't wait to see the new baby! Beckum was born today at 2:05. He weighs 7lbs and 2 ounces and is 19 inches long. More pictures and story will be posted later tonight, so check back for more!
Trevor was slightly sleepy when I got to his house, but he endured the session well before conking out at the end. Which let us have the best of both worlds! - fun interaction with Mom & Dad + sweet angel sleepiness. BTW do you recognize Mom & Dad from last May? I love it when my brides have babies!!!