Here are a lot of common questions about birth photography and how we work. If your question is not answered below, please feel free to contact us and we'd be happy to answer your questions or set up a time to come meet us and chat about your special day.
Q - I really do/do not want graphic images. Is that okay?
A - Absolutely! We are there to tell the story the best we can, however you want us to. If you really do not want any graphic images, we will not take them. We will be sure to position ourselves so that we can capture your special moments in a very discreet way. If you are the type who really wants those images for you (we do not share those, ever), we are completely comfortable capturing your birth with a little more details than usual. There may be times when we are not able to capture something you wanted though, due to the position you are in, or the position we are stuck in because of the rest of the birth team. We will try our hardest to get what you wanted. Birth photography is more about capturing your special moments as you work with your partner to bring your baby earth side and those first few moments you get to meet that little one face to face. It's way more about capturing the moments rather than the 'graphic' side of birth.
Q - Will you be shooting the entire time? My partner is worried the camera will distract us.
A - The answer to this depends on the circumstances of the birth. If we get there and things are very slow and steady and you are happy and chatty, we will often get our things out but not necessarily start shooting right away. We like for everyone to get acclimated to us being there when that's possible. If things are a little slower and you are feeling really chatty still, we may just take a few images here and there to tell that part of your story, but we don't want to burn you out on taking too many if it looks like it may be a while until we see baby. Same with if you are sleeping or resting in one position for a while. If you are laying down in bed or relaxing in the tub for several hours and nothing is really changing (position and things like that), we will often just take a few every now and then to tell that part of your story, but then sit back and let you rest/labor and just watch from a distance ready to capture any special moments.
We think people imagine it will be like the paparazzi and the camera going off every single contraction, but we try not to do that especially if things are slow and steady. If we get there and things are really moving and you are progressing quickly, we will work a little more quickly trying to capture all that is going on. If things are moving quickly, you will often not even realize we are there (or care).
We also begin to take more as labor progresses and you get closer to transition and birth, and again, most mamas and their partners do not even notice what we are doing because they are so focused on what they are doing. We try really hard to mold into your particular birth and get a feeling for what you need us to do (or not do). If things are really hard for you, we may sit back a little more and give you the space you need but staying close enough that we could quickly capture something we think you would want. We have the experience to sense when we should take a step back and give space and when it's appropriate to step back in. We anticipate the moments often before they ever happen so we are able to be ready and only get what we need vs shooting just to shoot. This is how we are able to blend in without being noticed.
Q - What if my birth progresses too quickly for you to make it?
A - That does happen sometimes but is not common. Usually when that happens, we are already on our way but the baby decides to come quicker than we can get there. We will still come and document as much as we can. Most of the time when this scenario happens, we walk in moments after the baby has arrived so we're able to still get some of the sweet first moments such as first bath/herbal bath, newborn exam, family/friends meeting baby. His/Her story is that she/he was in a hurry, so that is what we document. We certainly don't turn around and go home if we think we won't make it. We still come and will often stay a little longer to get a little extra since we didn't get labor images (if you want us to). Bottom line is, that you hire us to document your story and sometimes that story is a quick one and that is what your images will reflect. We are still able to deliver plenty of images (often very close to the same as a longer birth) to tell your story however it unfolds.
Q - What if I need a C-section?
A - Many hospitals will allow us to accompany you to the OR and we have experience in doing so. It is important that you advocate for yourself if you'd like for us to go in with you, we cannot do that. If we're not allowed back, we will try to stay until after the c-section and you are in recovery. We will sometimes send your partner back with one of our back up cameras with some quick pointers and they can try to get as much as they can for us to use. There are rare instances where they will not allow us to go back to recovery or tell us that we won't be able to see you or baby for many hours. If that happens (or your baby is in the NICU and we can't go in), we will often talk to you about coming back either later that day or the next day to complete your birth story with some images of the baby. Unless we're asked to leave by a hospital (never happened), we won't leave your birth without discussing it with you and/or your partner.
Q - What if my birth is very long or I am transferred from home/birth center to a hospital? Do you stay and/or go to the hospital with us?
A - Yes! Some births are very quick and we may be done within 4 hours. Some are long and we've been there as long as 40+ hours. If your birth slows for a while and is close to our home, we may discuss giving you some privacy and coming back when you are ready. We will discuss the best plan for you and do what you'd like us to do. That may be staying or it may be just going home for a short rest while you rest (so you don't feel like a watched pot), and then keeping in touch with you and coming back as soon as you are ready. It is very, very rare that we leave births (like ever), but we have left for a little while when things are very slow and mama was planning to rest for a few hours and we lived close enough to do that. If your labor is progressing, but is just longer than you expected, we still stay until your baby is born unless there was some kind of emergency that prevented whoever was there from staying in which case one of us would come and switch places to continue documenting your birth. It is important to us that your birth story is complete and that you are always aware of our plans, so we will always discuss things if there were any kind of special circumstances. If we can follow you to the hospital during a transfer, we will and we will stay with you until your baby is born.
Q - How will I know when to call you and when do you come to the birth?
A - As we get closer to your due date, we'll be in touch more often. We may send you a little text asking how you're doing if we haven't heard from you just to touch base but we try to leave you alone otherwise and let you update us as needed. We ask that you send us any kind of updates that are labor related even if you aren't sure. Even if it's just a "I'm feeling a little crampy today" or "I had a lot of contractions last night but I'm not sure if this is it". Even if you don't think you are in active labor, sometimes little clues can help us prepare our day/week so that we are able to get to you faster when the time comes that you are ready for us. It's not often that we don't have any kind of warning that you will need us that day/night but we do know it happens so we do our best to get there as quickly as possible and there is still usually plenty of time even with little warning. The key is just keeping us posted. We would rather have too much info than not enough.
Q - What happens if you are sick or at another birth when I need you?
A - That's the beauty of what we do and how we work. IF for some reason one of us is not available (we're at another birth, illness, emergency, one of us is on vacation and another is sick...), we do have many experienced backups that we can trust. They would give us your images and we would pay them and then we would edit and complete your package. We keep it very simple and easy for you. The chances of one of our associates to not be available is extremely rare though.