+ Birth photography? How does it work?
I like to meet with my clients prior to your birthing day to chat in person about your expectations for documenting your child’s birth story, your birth plan, and get to know each other better. You can decide if you also want to add on maternity photos or an in home documentary session to your package and we can chat about when I come to the hospital or place of birth during labor. Most clients like to keep in touch with me throughout pregnancy, I love to hear about check-ups and how pregnancy is going. When I arrive at your birthplace, I become part of your team. I am there to support you - whether it’s giving you space when you need it or offering encouraging words to you or your partner, I am happy to help out while taking photos that you will cherish. When baby comes, I stay for 1-2 hours after birth to capture the newborn checkup and first feedings. For families which prefer a more private birth, I offer ‘Fresh-48’ sessions, which are done in the first 24-48 hours following birth at the hospital or birth center (no photos taken during labor or birth).
+ How did you start doing birth photography?
Nine months is a long time to set expectations for what your birth story will be. And unfortunately, even after all the planning in the world, babies still enter on their own terms. I did not have a photographer for the birth of my son. I packed my camera, with the intention of having my husband take a few photos, but that didn’t go as planned. I honestly didn't expect Joe (my husband) to be so involved in the actual birth - he held my leg while I was pushing, not leaving an option for photography. The whole experience still feels so surreal. It honestly wasn't until labor started that I really felt the gravity of this monumental occasion and felt a desire to preserve this day.
After Jacob arrived, Joe did take a few photos. While I'm so glad to have these images, I only have a few pictures of these first emotional moments and Joe isn't in them. Our new baby just arrived and these were his first magical moments as a dad. I wish that I allowed him to be in the moment more, with someone else available to capture the three of us as a new family. This experience was the driving force behind my desire to document other’s birth stories. I love learning about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care. I’m planning to pursue a doula certificate in the near future to add to my birth knowledge.
+ How many images can I expect, and what is the best thing to do with them?
You can expect around 150 - 250 professionally edited images. The exact number depends on the unique length and unfolding of your story. The images are going to capture your story, the details, and your first moments with your child. All packages include all of the best hi-resolution photos which are professionally edited and delivered through an online gallery for downloading and printing. I also include a slideshow of selected images, set to music. You receive a print release and may print your photos anywhere. Many clients create albums, make small prints for a memory box, or a large print to hang in the nursery. You have the option to print through a professional photo lab, through your online gallery to ensure that your prints are of the best quality. I’d be happy to walk you through creating an album or have prints made and delivered to you.
+ I want it to be very dark during birth, how will you take pictures in the dark?
I have professional camera gear that works in low light situations. I do like to have some light in the room, whether that is a small lamp or window light, to get the best images possible. My focus is to get great photos, but also for you to have the birth you desire, and if that is in the dark, that’s fine by me. I will work to accommodate you. We can also talk about using a flash, or not, during a dark labor and birth. My preference is to use some flash in the first quick moments that baby is born. This helps me freeze time and get the clearest images. Any flash used will be bounced, indirect light, and many moms do not notice, as they are so in the moment.
+ What happens if you miss the birth?
I have not yet missed a birth, but birth can be unpredictable. I make every effort to arrive with enough time to capture your labor, birth, and first hours together. In the event of a truly sudden labor, I still aim to tell your story (in this case, your story was a fast, unpredictable birth!) I'll stay as long as I need to get the same amount of images you would have received if you had a longer labor. I always ask that you alert me as soon as you feel labor may be starting so I can prepare to meet you as soon as possible.
+ When do you arrive?
I plan to arrive when my clients are in active labor. If your care provider is doing cervical checks, I aim to be with you from 6 centimeters onward. If you are not being checked, I come when you have an active pattern of contractions that you can't talk or walk through. We will be in communication before and during your labor to ensure that I come at just the right time. If this is not your first birth, and you have a history of quick labors, I’ll plan to be with you earlier in the process to avoid missing anything.
+ How long do you stay?
I stay between 1-2 hours postpartum. I like to document the newborn exam, as well as your first experiences breastfeeding and bonding. If you are interested in further coverage, including the arrival of siblings, grandparents, etc., we can add that to your package. Depending on the time of baby’s arrival, this may meaning adding an extra hour or two to your birth session, or coming back the next day for a Fresh 48 session.
I love sharing empowering images of birth. Through these images, we can change the way our culture views motherhood and birth. However, I absolutely respect families that wish to keep their birth images private. During our consultation, we'll discuss exactly what you do or don't want shared. For example, you may want crowning images for yourself, but prefer to not have these images shared publicly. I will always honor your requests for privacy.
+ How many births do you take each month?
I take on a maximum of two births per month, and this may vary throughout the year (sometimes less, never more).
+ How far will you travel for birth?
I am located in Collingswood, NJ and will take births in South Jersey, Philadelphia, and the immediate surrounding areas. My goal is to be no further than an hour from your intended place of birth. If you have a planned induction/c-section that is planned ahead of time, I am willing to travel farther for a travel fee.
+ What if I have a c-section?
C-sections are births. Some hospitals allow for a photographer in the operating room, some do not, it depends on the situation and day. I encourage you to seek permission from your birth practitioner in advance whenever possible. If I am not allowed in the operating room, I will still be there to document your labor, getting ready for delivery, and after baby is born. If this is a concern, please let me know and we can chat more about this.
+ What kind of gear do you have?
Currently in my camera bag: Canon 5D Mark III, 50mm 1.2, 35mm 1.4, and 85mm 1.8 prime lenses, and a YN 600EX-RT flash. I edit your images on a MacBook Pro.
+ Why should I book with you over using a friend or other person who has a good DSLR?
Working in low light situations is not easy and even with a good DSLR camera, the capabilities in low light are not the same as a full frame professional quality camera. It also takes a lot of time and practice to take pictures in near dark situations, quickly changing circumstances, and challenging hospital lighting. I’ve take a lot of time to learn how to make a photo beautiful in these conditions, both with photography techniques and professional editing.
+ Will my birth photos be in color, or black and white, or both?
I personally love a combination of both. My style is to give images that work for that birth and the lighting, mood, and circumstance. You can see a variety ot this in my portfolio. If you have specific editing requests, please just ask.
+ Can we get together to meet first?
Absolutely! I'd love to take you out for coffee or ice cream and answer any more questions you have in person. I live Collingswood, NJ. Send me a message (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll find a time to meet!