I have had 3 completely different births with my boys. I experienced a very long and traumatic birth with my first one. This was a planned home birth but I ended up giving birth to him in hospital. My middle son was born on the bedroom floor within 1.5 hours of my labour starting. My youngest son was born in a birthing pool in our front room. I was very lucky and had an incredibly amazing experience giving birth to him. I had photographs taken during his birth and I am absolutely in LOVE with those images. I often go back to look at those photographs to relive those incredible first moments of my son's life. One day, while looking at my birth photographs, I wished deeply that I had hired someone to photograph my first two births. This was the beginning of my journey into birth photography.
So you are on the fence? You really dig these amazing birth photo's but you are just not sure if this is something for you? Why have somebody take pictures of you while you are at your worst, you might be thinking.
There are only a few events you will experience in life that you just can't stop talking about and birth is one of those. This is something that is hard to grasp if you have yet to give birth to your first child. You will be overwhelmed with a feeling of triumph and pride once you have (whether that is a 'natural' birth or a c-section - your all badass!)
Why have pictures at your worst? No, you are at your best! It's a bit like climbing Mount Everest, you might not be looking spick and span when you get to the top, but you are SO proud of what you have accomplished. Pictures of women in labour are empowering.
You might have asked your partner to take pictures during the birth, but why take the risk as they might be too emotionally caught up in everything, particularly during the 'moment suprême'. Let's face it, it would be so much nicer for them to enjoy this moment through their own eyes rather than a camera lens.
Birth is beautiful, hard, unpredictable, rewarding and exhausting. Things go fast and you might not be totally 'in the moment'. It is amazing to have this accomplishment and the wonder of birth captured forever.
I like to arrive when you are in active labour. If you are having cervical checks done, this is when you are around 4cm dilated. I like to be there when there is an active pattern of contractions you can't talk through. I will photograph your labour, birth and stay around for the first hour or so after the baby arrives to capture many of the first moments. Hopefully, your baby is born within 10 hours of me arriving while you are in active labour. If not, I might have to call a back-up photographer to take over. Just to make sure I can make it home safely and you get the professional and artistic photographs you signed up for.
I am based in Crewe (Cheshire) and it might take me a couple of hours to arrange childcare and get to your home or hospital. This is why it is super important that you contact me and we speak on the phone (not just contact me via text or social media) to let me know about any early signs of labour. I can't stress enough how important this is, even if you feel like birth could still be days away. Call me, for example, if it's the middle of the night and your waters have broken but you are not having any contractions at all. But also call me if you've just lost your show (mucus plug). Birth is so unpredictable, this gives me the heads up. It could still be hours or days but at least I know I need to get childcare in place as soon as possible. In those cases, I might go back to sleep and leave my phone on and wait for you to call again to update me on any changes. I aim to arrive when you are in active labour. For some this can be quick for some, it can be days away. If you have booked my on-call package I will make sure my camera bag is ready at all times and I stay around the area of your birth from 38 weeks onwards. It is a big commitment from my side, hence I only take on a limited amount of on-call births. Even then, I need you to contact me as soon as you are experiencing any early signs of labour as I have to make sure I get childcare arranged. Early signs of labour are: losing your mucus plug, broken waters, persistent lower back pain, abdominal pain, pre-menstrual cramps, contractions or tightenings, loose bowels, etc. Again, this can all be false alarms, but please do let me know anyway.
I hope you understand that labour and birth are one of the most unpredictable events to document and it is impossible to guarantee 100% that I will be able to make it.
If I arrive at your place of birth moments after the baby is born I will still take pictures of your babies first moments, first time nursing, being weighed, skin on skin time etc. I will then leave you in peace and come back within 48 hours to do a Fresh 48 session. Any payments towards my birth photography package that have been made upfront cannot be refunded.
If you have booked my on-call package and you have kept me in the loop about your early signs of labour, there is still a chance I won't be able to make it to your birth. I only take a very limited number of bookings but since I never know when a baby is going to be born there is a chance of two of my clients being in labour at the same time or me being sick on the day. In this scenario, I would send a back-up photographer. If a back-up photographer also can't make it, your session will be turned into a Fresh 48 session.
It is really important, and your responsibility to call me and keep me updated as soon as you have any signs of going into labour. I don't mind false starts, don't worry. If you do not call and make sure you have spoken to me over the phone during the early signs of labour (even if that is in the middle of the night) and I miss the actual birth, the session fee is non-refundable. But I can still come and photograph a Fresh 48 session.
You call the shots! This is one of the many reasons why it's so important for us to meet up and have a chat before your booking.
I am totally cool with capturing your baby's head crowning, I think it's absolutely beautiful. Some women ask me to take photographs from the opposite angle, I'm totally fine with that. Although they can change their mind when it's time to push and still ask me to get down there to take a crowning shot. Those shots are pretty spectacular. Black & white makes most images look good, particularly when there is a bit of blood in the shot. It's up to you, whatever you feel comfortable with...
And please don't worry about poo, shit happens. Midwives usually whizz it away within seconds so you (and I) will most likely not even be aware of it!
Yes! Please explain to your midwife you have booked a birth photographer. Birth photography is quite common in the USA but it is still a fairly new thing here in the UK. Please explain to your midwife that I will work in a very professional manner and will work sensitively and stay out of their way when I need to.
There is usually no problems when you are having a home birth as you can have as many people with you as you like. But if you are giving birth at a consultant led ward in hospital you can most likely only have two people with you. This would mean you'd have to include me as your second 'support person'. If you are planning on having two people with you, it might be worth still speaking to your midwife and/or the head of midwifery at your local hospital, as they might still make an exception for a birth photographer but you will really need to stress how much it means to you to have your birth photographed.
If you are giving birth at the Midwife Led Unit at my local hospital (Leighton Hospital in Crewe, Cheshire) they will try to accommodate your choice of number of birth partners. But you will still need to inform your midwife.
And always (no matter where you give birth)... always put you are having a professional birth photographer in your birth plan. This is very important. Explain how it is you wish for your birth photographer to be with you wherever you end up during your labour. Explain I work in a very professional manner, will get out of the way when told and will try and make sure medical staff are photographed in a way that makes them as unrecognisable as possible.
Cesarean births are some of the most dramatic and rewarding birth stories to capture. Some woman have weeks to mentally prepare themselves for this moment but others only have minutes to get their heads around what is happening. Everything you envisioned your birth to be, goes straight out of the window. Having your c-section photographed can be a great way of reliving a quite intense and sometimes super rushed moment in your life.
In the UK, typically only one person is permitted into the operation theatre with the birthing mother. If you are having a planned c-section you will need to speak to your midwife, anaesthetist (he or she often calls the shots) and head of midwifery at your hospital and explain how important it is for you to have the c-section birth of your baby photographed. Sometimes they will make an exception and let a photographer in with you.
If your c-section is not planned I will try and speak to the medical staff but I cannot give you any guarantees. But don't worry, I will be there waiting for you to come out with baby in your arms.
Yes, I will try my best to be there. I fully expect you to call me (even with first signs of labour) in the middle of the night. Many, many babies are born in the middle of the night, it is part of the job. It could take me a couple of hours to arrange things at home, including the travelling time to some hospitals. This is why it is so important that you keep in touch and call to let me know about any early signs of labour and keep me updated with any progress thereafter.
Light is needed for clear and sharp photos. I use professional camera equipment with prime lenses that can deal with very low light situations without having to use flash. But image quality does suffer when it's too dark. Your photographs will be shot with a very high ISO. Your images will have a bit of grain in them if no flash is used. This cannot be avoided but will add character to your photographs.
If you are giving birth in a room that is super dark, I might have to use indirect flash in order to get the photographs in focus. But in those situations, most midwives will either use a torch or ask for the lights to go up a tiny but just so they can assist you better.
The length of your labour, the number of birth partners and any restrictions put on photography can affect the number of photographs I will be able to deliver. This can be anywhere from 50 to 150+ photos.
Your photographs will be delivered in a mix of colour and black and white. Although the majority will probably be in black and white. Black and white images draw the viewers attention to the emotions and moment. It will distract from any harsh hospital light, and hospital equipment.
No, not without your permission. I love birth photography and enjoy sharing powerful images of birth, but your privacy and wishes are more important.
So, only with your consent (and a signed model release) will I be able to share your birth photographs. Some clients want all images kept private and that is fine. I encourage women to consider sharing their birth stories and images to help educate and empower other women. But your wishes and privacy are my priority.
No, sorry. Even though I've have given birth 3 times myself, I am not an expert and I do not offer any advice. I'm not medically trained and not a doula. When I arrive you are most probably already in active labour and not feeling very chatty anyway. I prefer to leave you in your zone and pop in and out of the room to give you and your partner space. I will not give advise (on for instance whether to go into hospital or not) and recommend you always communicate with your midwife about important decisions. I will stay out of these as my insurance, of course, does not cover this. I cannot be held responsible for the outcome of any of those decisions.
No, a fast birth requires the same amount of commitment, expertise, equipment, hours after the birth and editing time as a slow birth.
Yes, I can. I call this a Fresh 48 session. This session takes place in a hospital or at home (if you had a homebirth) within 48 hours of your baby being born. I will try and be there at the first reasonable hour in the day. These sessions give you the opportunity to have a shower, freshen up and maybe even have some pictures of siblings first meeting the baby.
Yes, I do accept credit card payments but there is a 3.6% fee for this.