Professional birth photography is an investment. I get that and that is why I work so hard for my clients. For me birth photography isn't just something "fun" to do. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do. This love and passion is what drives me even after 24 hrs at birth. When you hire a professional, you get more than someone just there for the feel good moments, but for the hard times too. Here are just 5 for the perks to having a professional on your birth team.
This is a big one. Being on call is not something to be taken lightly. Birth is unpredictable and being on call requires me to be able to drop everything an leave for hours and sometimes even days. My phone is on and with me 24/7, I drive separately from my family, all my plans are tentative and my babysitter list is a page long. I take on call very seriously. It breaks my heart when I heard about parents who are left at the last moment by someone who thought photographing would be "fun" but end up deciding its just too much of a hassle to be on call. They are a left scrambling to find someone, when they really should be enjoying they have to together before they a great and wonderful change to their lives.
Even with all the precautions I take while on call I fully understand the unpredictability of life and that is why I have professional back up. My backup is someone I trust completely, because I know they are just as serious about being on call as myself.
Birth is not a new experience or environment to me. I am not saying I am an expert by any means. But I do know how to walk into a birth environment and work with what is presented to me. Really dark room? I can just turn on all the light then. Um no. The birth environment is not mine to control. It is all about mom. I also know when to put aside the camera and just be human. I feel like understanding and compassion go hand in hand. Sometimes what a mom needs is a hand to hold, not a picture.
RECIEVING YOUR IMAGES
Because this is my job and not a hobby, delivering your gallery on time is very important to me. Even with 3 babies born within 22 hrs of each other and then 2 in 24 hrs later that month, all my galleries were delivered on time. It is such a joy being to deliver these perfectly written birth stories and hear about the emotions parents felt as their revisit their little one's arrival.
BE FULLY INVOLVED IN YOUR MOMENTS
Having a professional document your story allows you and your support people time to be fully involved in the intense, emotional, peaceful and precious moments that make up birth. Be there emotionally. Be present physically. Be hands on (if that's what momma want). Be engaged. It's really hard to do a double hip squeeze with only one hand, I'm just saying. Stare into your newborn's eye, not at them through a screen.
Sacramento Birth Story
As a good majority of birth photographers scrambled around trying to figure out what to submit to IAPBP's 2017 competition one of our very talented collogues brought something to our eyes. These competitions while they do have awards to be won, something bigger is at work.
These competition raise the awareness to birth in a new way. Birth is something that needs to be celebrated. The options that birthing women have, need to be known. The beauty and the uniqueness each birth holds, is absolutely amazing on it's own. Then you add the creative eye and passion of a birth photographer and you cant help be stand in awe of what the beginning of life looks like. Every women. Unique. Every labor. Unique. Every baby. Unique. While there will be hundreds of images in this competition, I assure you, EVERY SINGLE IMAGE will have its own story. Take time to see the story written in the furrowed brows, the tears, the bellies, the eyes, the hand and whatever else the image holds.
I was planning on submitting two images this year one in the details and one in the labor category. The weather around here seemed to have a different idea and our power went out as I was submitting my second image. Competition submission or not, it has a beautiful story to be told.
What does it say to you?
My 2017 IAPBP Submission in the detail category is from my last birth of 2016. This birth was the perfect way to finish out my year as a birth photographer. A beautiful birth The Birth Center in Sacramento with one of my favorite midwives, Ruth Cummings, CNM. My reason for choosing this image for the detail category is all the details that work to tell a beautiful story. The gentle support of her husband, her relaxed hands even as she feels the surges of transition, the strech marks across the front of her belly, the shape of her contracted belly as it moves her baby closer to the outside world.
Mother of two crazy little girls. Photographer of life with a true love and passion for birth.