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. 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. Please send me a message when you feel like labor is beginning. 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 that my bag is packed, ready by the door and that childcare is arranged for my little one.
Once contractions have intensified and you’ve decided it’s time to call your midwife or head to the hospital, please send me a message or give me a call. 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 (but remember, active labor can 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 dwindle down to one word responses.
• Contractions are accompanied with rectal pressure
• Dilated to 5 centimeters
Remember, I might need up to 2.5 hours notice. Please don’t hesitate to contact me once you feel like active labor has begun.
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 put away. I'll be there for up to 2 hours 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 move so I can get the shot. If I miss it, the moment is gone forever and your gallery. I'll be navigating around a number of birth professionals and the less I have to work around, the easier it is to catch the moment. If friends & family interfere with my ability to do the job you've hired me for I reserve the right to leave and no money will be refunded.
What about lighting?
Some women like to give birth in a dark environment. My camera is a rock star at handling low light situations. That being said, I do need SOME light to capture those incredible moments. If I feel like there isn’t enough light in your birth space, I may ask to make some small adjustments--like turning lights is a neighboring room. If it's something you're against, just let me know.
During birth, I will 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 power setting, with a diffuser, and will never be directed near or towards your face. Most of my clients aren’t even aware that I’m using it.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
Wear whatever is comfortable for you! Many clients will wear a sports bra or swim suit top during labor and birth because they want to be able to share some of the images publicly. Solid-color sports bras, swim tops, & unlined/no underwire bra are great choices. If you feel the urge to take off your bra during birth, don’t worry. 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 or jewelry. These will not only provide amazing stories for you to tell your children in the years to come, but they can make your photographs really pop. If you are giving birth in the water, consider bringing a towel with special significance. If you are giving birth in the hospital, consider bringing your own swaddling blankets or baby hats.
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 in your family. Some of my favorite choices are solid color t-shirts-- comfortable but also great to photograph.
I encourage both you and your partner to pick out a separate set of clothes that can be worn after birth. Giving birth can be messy, and you may want to change out of what you’ve been wearing. Many of my clients will purchase a pretty robe that coordinates with something their partner or other children will wear. Those first family photos can be priceless. But at the end of it all, remember that what you wear matters far less than what you experience. Don’t stress too much about clothing!
WHEN CAN 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. These images are specifically sized for the web so that you can easily and beautifully announce the birth of your baby on social media. I'll arrive at your birth with my laptop and if time allows, you just might have your first two images before we part ways.
The rest of your images will be edited 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 purchase prints.
Where should I print my images?
The images you receive from the session come with a print release, which allows you to print photos for personal use. However, I work with a professional printer and I highly recommend that you consider purchasing prints through my site. My computer is specifically calibrated to his printer, which means that the images you receive will be of the utmost quality. You can buy cheap prints, but most of my clients find that the quality is incredibly poor. Remember that these images will be in your family for years to come. You may also purchase high quality photo books with the images from your session.
WHAT WILL YOU SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
I base my decision on what to share according to your responses on the questionnaire you filled out. I believe there is always something share-worthy, even if it doesn't include "those" moments.
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.