Preparing for Your Birth Session
Thank you for the opportunity to capture your birth day! I have no doubt it will be a beautiful, love-filled day with many amazing moments both big and small. This guide is mostly a collection of suggestions. Birth is a mysterious force and it often has a mind of it’s own. Don’t worry: as your birth photographer, I’m able to adjust and adapt to whatever course your birth will take. My hope is that this guide will prepare you for what it’s like to have a birth photographer in your birth space and give you the tools to best plan for what will certainly be a memorable day.
When should I contact you?
Please keep me posted after your weekly check-in's with your OB or Midwife. If you feel like labor is starting please send me a text message, even if it turns out to be a false alarm. This allows me to think about the next few days with your birth in mind. I won’t get in my car, but I will make sure my bags are packed and that childcare is arranged for my little one.
Once contractions intensify and you’ve decided it’s time to call your midwife/doula or head to the hospital, please message me. My goal is to arrive when you are in active labor. This ensures that my presence won’t distract you or prevent your labor from advancing. If you aren’t sure if you’re in active labor, your care provider will be the best gauge. Below are a few rough guides that can hint at active labor (please remember active labor may look different for each woman)
• Contractions are 4-5 minutes apart, for approx. one hour
• Contractions are too intense to walk or talk through. Your responses or requests will likely dwindle down to one word responses.
• Contractions are accompanied with rectal pressure
• Dilated to 5 centimeters
If it's not clear what's happening or if it's time for me to be with you I will always call to assess the situation. If you're already at the hospital, please message me your room number. Remember, I might need up to 2.5 hours notice. Please don’t hesitate to contact me once you feel you're in or approaching active labor.
The Unplugged Birth Experience
I strongly suggest letting friends and family (and even your birth professionals if they plan to take pics) know ahead of time that you've paid a lot of money for a professional photographer to document your birth story and to please keep their phones & cameras to a minimum. I'll be there for up to 1 hour after birth to capture those first moments, too, so they can be included, too. Everyone deserves to enjoy & be fully present in the moment--it's a pretty special day. Once I arrive, I'll assess the situation and if things aren't moving quickly, I'll send out my first photo update to your friends & family listed on your questionnaire.
An unplugged birth is a good idea because labor & delivery can move at a fast & unpredictable pace. I need the ability to move quickly without having to ask others to please move so I can get the shot. If I miss the shot, the moment is gone and there's you might run the risk of having your gallery filled with photos of others taking photos or video of you. I'm navigating usually in small spaces around a number of birth professionals so the less I have to work around in that split second, the easier it is to catch the moment & deliver an outstanding final product to you.
What about lighting?
Some women like to give birth in a dark environment. If I feel like there isn’t enough light in your birth space, and you've given me permission, I'll make small adjustments and use my camera flash accordingly. If I make a lighting adjustment that makes you uncomfortable please let me know. During birth, I often bounce my flash off the ceiling or a wall behind me so I can capture the quick and fleeting moments of birth. My flash is very different from the flashes that most people are accustomed to. The flash is usually on it's lowest power setting and will never be directed at anyone. Most families and laboring Mama's don't even notice the adjustments made.
What should I wear?
Wear whatever is comfortable for you! Many Mama's wear a sports bra or swim suit top during labor and birth because they want to be able to share some of the images. Solid-color sports bras, swim tops, & unlined/no underwire bra are great/comfortable/lightweight choices. If you feel the urge to take off your bra/clothing during birth, don’t worry, do what you need to feel comfortable. I’m often able to get creative with angles and still capture moments that you can share with family or friends.
Some clients will bring meaningful items (baby swaddles, blankets, stuffed animal, etc) to make their birth space more personal & cozy. These items really add a nice personal touch to your images. If you are giving birth in the water, consider bringing a towel with special significance. Your partner should also wear comfortable clothing. Solid colors are often preferable as loud patterns or logos can distract the eye from the beautiful moments that are unfolding.
When should I expect my images?
Your birth package includes 2 sneak-peek images that I process and edit within 48 hours of birth. My goal is to get sneak-peeks ready for you as soon as possible, but depending on the birth and my workload, it might take up to 48 hours. The rest of your images are delivered within 4-6 weeks. You’ll receive a link to your private and custom gallery where you’ll be able to view all your images and even purchase prints.
Where should I print my images?
The images you receive from the session come with a print release, allowing you to print photos for personal use. Should you choose to print on your own I'd recommend MPix or Artifiact Uprising. I also work with a professional printer and recommend purchasing through me if you're looking for high quality prints that will last for decades. All prints purchased through me are printed on archive paper with a life expectancy of 100 years (if displayed out in the open) and 200 years (if stored in a dark & dry place).
What will you share on social media?
I always share based on your preferences in the signed model release. If you've opted to approve your images after seeing them, you'll receive an email from me with instructions when you receive access to your gallery.
Please click this link to download a helpful reminder that includes my contact/emergency contact information and common symptoms of active labor to look for. Above all else, always trust your instinct.