"A person's a person, no matter how small."
- Dr. Seuss
I remember when my sister asked me to photograph the birth of her third child. There was this thrilled and excited feeling welling up inside me when I was seeing where the conversation was going, and it took all my strength to hold in my definitive,"YES" until she had actually asked me.
It would be the first time I would photograph a birth, and as it dawned on me, the first time I would witness an actual birth in real life.
What made me so drawn to the idea of capturing a birth? I couldn't say for sure, but I think my soul just knew that it would change me for the better - and I would fall in love with something raw, completely unbelievable, and yet one hundred percent real.
The moment baby Cedar was born, I remember thinking (very loudly), "Did anyone else just see what I just saw?! There's a new little HUMAN in the room!"
It was in that moment that I was smitten with births.
And, as chance would have it, I was visiting my sister when she was told she needed to be induced for her fourth child - so I was asked again to capture new life, and got to meet little Sparrow.
"It was in that moment that I was smitten with births."
It wasn't until I experienced the loss of our first child, our daughter Kate, that I realised just how much I wanted to get involved with photographing birth.
With my first humbling experience of giving birth being that of delivering my lifeless baby girl (at 32 weeks gestation), you'd think I'd want to never set foot in a hospital again. I was surprised to feel the opposite - I wanted to capture life for other people, to see their lives changed for the better.
I also knew I wanted to do something to help support mothers, fathers, and families who have experienced pregnancy loss, or difficulties from pregnancy. If there wasn't a foundation that did this, I would have started it up myself, but thankfully Pregnancy Help Australia is already doing incredible things!
Pregnancy Help Australia is dedicated to ensuring that quality pregnancy support services are available to everyone, and provides support to individual agencies that offer positive choices for women, their partners and their families.
$100 from each birth session will be donated to Pregnancy Help Australia to support them in the amazing work they do all over the country.
You can learn more about Pregnancy Help Australia HERE.
Birth photography works a little differently to my other services - because I never quite know when it will happen!
Because babies can be so unpredictable, I've answered some common questions below...
Birth Photography FAQs
DO YOU ONLY CAPTURE HOSPITAL BIRTHS?
Thinking about doing a home birth? No problem! I am definitely not limited to hospital births - I will be there, wherever you intend to be!
DO I HAVE TO TELL MY MIDWIFE OR HOSPITAL THAT I PLAN ON HAVING A PHOTOGRAPHER?
I highly recommend you tell your hospital, midwife, or doctor. Including it in your birth plan is also advised.
I find it's not only respectful to keep these people informed, but it also prevents any surprises - this is especially true for mothers who end up having a caesarian section, as some hospitals have regulations regarding the access of persons other than medical staff (and the father) from entering the operating theater.
If you plan on giving birth in a hospital and would like to know their policies on allowing me into those types of scenarios, just ask your midwife or doctor.
WHAT HAPPENS IF CIRCUMSTANCES CAUSE THE BIRTH TO GO UN-DOCUMENTED?
Births are often very unpredictable.
Sometimes phones go flat, people become distracted, flights are delayed (or not fast enough), traffic causes a hold-up, or babies just decide to arrive very quickly!
If something does happen that causes me not to be available for the birth - I offer to, not only try and be there directly after the birth to capture some 'first cuddles' but also, do a newborn/family session (ideally) within the first 9 days of your new babies life; so you still get some gorgeous photos while baby is still in the "fresh" phase.
DO YOU TRAVEL FOR BIRTHS?
Certainly! But again, because things can be quite unpredictable with births, long-distance travel can often make things tricky or go un-documented (see reasons in the above question). I make every effort to ensure my presence at the birth, but things can not always be guaranteed.
DO YOU GET ALL THE DOWNSTAIRS ACTION?
Unless requested by the parents, I don't normally take photos that show a direct view of the mothers private parts. I am tastefully discrete at the crowning/birthing stage, and instead get shots from an angle that still portrays what's happening, while still maintaining some privacy for the mother.
WHAT IF THE WORST WERE TO HAPPEN?
In the sad and unfortunate event that your baby doesn't survive the birthing process while I am taking photos, I will use my respectful discretion to decide when is appropriate to cease photography, unless told otherwise by the parents.
If this happens (or has happened to you), my heart goes out to you and your family.
You can contact me via the form below if you would like more information on what would happen in this unfortunate circumstance.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW?
Most (but not all) photos are delivered in black and white. I find it works beautifully to remove any colour distractions (whether is a brightly coloured set of scrubs on a midwife, or blood), and instead allows the focus to be on what emotions and feelings are happening in the image.
My photography style is, and always will be, very candid. I'm not there to pose you or be in your face, I'm very good at being invisible and capturing the emotional vibes and moments of the birth. Quite often I get told that they don't even remember me being there - which is good!
WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER GETTING A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER?
There's something incredible that happens during labour and birth - the word amazing becomes a tangible, visual thing.
I see strength and endurance given a whole other dimension.
I see raw, unhindered emotion.
I see parents made.
I see new people take their first breaths and be instantly loved.
I see moments of bonding - between husbands and wives, parents and babies - that show you just how incredibly capable people are, even if they don't know it themselves.
I'm there, capturing all the emotions and happenings, so all you need to focus on is each other, and your new family. No more frantically asking the dad (or midwife) to take a photo, you can enjoy and be in the moment and know that I'm there getting it all.
If you're interested in having me capture the birth of your next child, or have any questions about birth photography, please contact me via the button below.