What to expect when you've hired a birth photographer
Updated: Sep 10, 2018
- Utah birth photographer -
So you want a birth photographer. Great! What does that mean?
When you hire me, you get another reliable member of your birth team. No, I don’t do anything directly with you during labor and delivery. I have been known to help hold a fan to my client’s face for some relief or speak encouraging words when the going gets tough.
Before the craziness starts, before the whatever hits the fan, we will talk. We will meet and discuss what you want photographed, what you don’t and how to handle the unexpected, like an unplanned C-section.
After our meeting, I will be (im)patiently waiting for you to pass your 38 week mark. That’s when I go on call. That’s when my phone will be turned up loud for whenever the call from you will come. That’s when I will avoid going out of town, even if it’s to see loved ones.
When you start active labor or your water breaks, I want to know. Call or text me or have your husband or partner text me. That way I’ll be alerted that things may be getting serious and I may need to hop in the car. It’s so important to keep communicating with me.
Once I get that text that from you, then I’ll run to wherever you’re giving birth, hopefully in record time, but not so fast that I have to get pulled over. Because that would stink. My adrenaline will be going crazy and I’ll be excite enough for the both of us.
As I arrive I’ll say hi and find out how you’re doing and how hubby’s doing. We will chat for a bit as I get the settings on my camera figured out, depending on the time of day and how dark your room is. I may have to use a flash, but don’t worry, you won’t even notice. I bounce the flash off the ceiling so it won’t be directly in your face.
Once I’m in my groove, I probably won’t talk much again. I’ll pay special attention to how your labor is progressing, how baby is doing as he or she is dropping into the birth canal. I’ll take various pictures of you working through contractions, or resting if you chose an epidural. I’ll snap pictures of your husband or partner massaging your back or kissing your forehead, or holding your hands. I’ll photograph your nurses or doula or midwife interacting with you, checking on you, supporting you. They’re an important part of this event too. You’ll want to remember them as well.
As things progress and transition occurs, the atmosphere of the room will change. It will be more electrifying and intense as you get into position to push or bear down with each contraction. Baby will be inching ever so carefully closer and closer to the opening your body has made for it. The anticipation will be killing us as we all work together cheering you on and encouraging you as you push and push and push.
Finally, baby is out and all of a sudden I might not be seeing very well through the viewfinder because of the tears. I’m feeling all the emotions as baby is laid on your chest. I’ll be moving all around to get shots of you and dad looking at baby and at each other, stroking baby’s head and counting each finger and toe. I’ll grab the shot of dad cutting the umbilical cord, of him gazing lovingly at his superwoman wife, of concern flitting across his face as you work to painfully get the placenta out. I’ll capture his look of awe and wonder as he looks upon his new offspring.
Meanwhile, as you’re soaking up all that baby goodness, I’ll be documenting the relief and joy on your face, at the realization that you did it. That you brought a miracle to the world. I’ll be capturing baby as he or she begins vocalizing his or her feelings about this new world. During the next little while, I’ll document the measurements, baby getting a diaper on for the first time, and daddy holding baby for the first time.
This is the golden hour. The time when things stand still, and you and dad aren’t aware of anyone else in the world but you and your new baby. Perhaps you will try latching for the first time. I’ll be there documenting that and capturing baby trying to open his or her eyes as she or he takes in the new surroundings.
Once things settle down, I’ll quietly offer my congratulations and say my goodbyes. I’ll promise to have the pictures to you soon, as I’ll be sitting on pins and needles, anxious to look over images again and feel the excitement again of the miracle that just occurred.
When you hire me, you don’t just get a professional photographer, you get another family member, someone who will have just as much care and concern and love for you and your baby as the medical professionals taking care of you. I’m not just there capturing one of the most important events of your life. I’m there as an extension of the team that helped get your baby safely earthbound.
As you look on the images for days or weeks or even years later, it will bring understanding to you, comfort, joy, love, and admiration for yourself as you take in the accomplishment of having a baby. It will be part of the healing that takes place as you comprehend the event in its entirety. The birth of that child won’t be just a birth anymore, but you will view it as more than that: that you took part in being the bridge between heaven and earth and was one with the Gods.