Learn: Documenting a Birth Photography Tips beginning to end. Whether you are interested in DIY birth photography or birth photography tips for beginners you will learn what you need right here! With the basic birth photography equipment and a birth photography checklist you’ll be on your way to birth photography.
When I had my son two years ago, I never even considered a birth photographer. I honestly had never even heard of birth photography. I knew I wanted those special photos of his first oh so sweet moments in this world. I remember begging my family to please get good photos of him. After his birth, I realized how much those first pictures would mean to me, and how high in demand birth photographers were in my area.
My husband bought me my first DSLR for my birthday two years ago because I wanted to take nice photos of my little fellow. That is when I decided to take the leap and also try out birth photography. From the time that I shot my first birth, I was hooked. Birth photography is my heart and soul and I couldn’t imagine a better job in the world.
I have made 6 steps to take you through an average day of a birth photographer and how I go about documenting a sweet little loves very first day in this world.
Documenting a Birth
• 1. Booking and scheduling with clients.
When a mama to be contacts me about potentially booking a birth session, I send her my packages and all the details of what she can expect from me on the day baby arrives. Once she decides that I am the photographer for her, I add her to my calendar with her potential due date and we discuss my contract.
• 2. Waiting on baby.
My contract states that I am on call from 37 weeks until baby arrives. I end up spending every one of those weeks on edge so excited for baby. You would think that I was a family member, with all of my excitement. But I can truly say that I ADORE my job. Being on call though means that during those weeks I have to carefully arrange my schedule so that I am always available to go as soon as mom calls.
• 3. Arriving at the hospital.
Once mom has let me know that baby is coming, I usually do not head to the hospital until mom is 6cm. However, we live in a rural area so sometimes I have 1-2 hour drive to the hospitals. In those cases, I may leave earlier. But generally, I have been successful in timing my arrival by leaving around 6cm. Once mom is at this point she is usually in active labor and baby arrives in 4-6 hours. Due to the nature of birth every experience is different. Upon my arrival, I get all of my shots of the birth environment. My goal is to make the viewer feel as if they are actually there. I like to try to capture every detail that sets their experience apart.
• 4. Capturing the birth.
Once it is time for the actual delivery I can’t help but get excited, it isn’t everyday that you get to witness a sweet baby born. For the actual delivery, I usually stand on a stool behind moms head. I have found this to be the best place because it gives me the perfect place to capture pictures of mom, dad, baby, and any other family members. Those first moments and reactions from everyone are so priceless and usually my favorites.
If you are unsure of camera settings here is a great and quick read on suggestions to get your started. Many hospitals and delivery rooms will be in a low light settings so be sure to read up on that and I’d say make sure you have a great lens with a low aperture i.e. a 35mm 1.4 or a 50mm 1.4 (kuddos if you have a 1.2!)
• 5. Baby’s first moments.
Immediately after delivery I focus on getting images of mom and baby bonding, and dad and mom marveling over their new addition. After this, I basically try to just be baby’s shadow. Wherever baby goes, I go. The next little while usually includes baby’s first bath, foot prints, and getting all checked over. Once baby has a clean bill of health and returns to mom, I usually get the first feeding shots, dad holding baby, siblings meeting baby, and all of the visitors.
• 6. Delivering images.
Once I am confident that I have all of the images that I need and leave the hospital, I try to edit sneaks. I always love delivering those first few images for the parents to share with everyone. After sneak peeks, I usually finish the entire gallery within a few weeks and deliver the images to the new mom and dad. All of my new parents also have the option for newborn photos so I usually get to see baby again within the next few weeks.
Overall, I can honestly say I love every aspect of birth photography. Everyone’s experience is completely different but equally as special. I truly enjoy knowing that I am able to provide the family with quality images that they can cherish for a lifetime. The day your baby is born only happens once and I find that you usually do not remember most of it. I have so many parents tell me that if it wasn’t for their photos there would be so many details they would have forgotten. I love being able to say that I capture memories for a living and completely believe that I have the best job on the planet.
Loral Lewis photography is a natural light based and film style, specializing in lifestyle, birth and documentary photos. We are based in South Mississippi.