(long but worth it)
I started my photography business in 2013 while my family was living in the small town of Delta Junction, Alaska. I loved what I did, but something was definitely missing. I shot my first birth in 2016 in Fairbanks, Alaska. There it was. I knew immediately what was missing. Unfortunately, I was looking at a 90 mile drive one way to get to the hospital. That was around a 2 hour drive in the Winter. We moved back home from Alaska to Alabama in 2016 so I could follow my heart and specialize in birth photography.
Birth photography is like nothing else. It’s so much more than a professional camera and a nice piece of glass. First off, it requires you to really know what you are doing. There is no time for guessing what settings you should be using. You have to know when your situation changes quickly what settings you should be at to make the shot. Many times this takes me back to my late nights out in the pitch black shooting the aurora to be honest! I am very thankful for all of the knowledge I took in photographing the lights. As they are constantly changing you have to be able to adjust your settings very quickly to get it just right for that particular shot. There’s no rescheduling. There’s no reshooting. It’s now and you have to work with whatever situation is handed to you. Lets just be honest for a minute….If you don’t like working with poor lighting, cramped spaces, hormones, and very stressful emotion filled situations, I can tell you right now, birth photography is NOT for you.
Birth photography requires you to be on call. That means even if you only have one birth booked for that month, you are not allowed to drink any alcohol (I don’t drink anyway but still) or travel over so many miles because you may have to leave at the drop of a hat and race off to the hospital. Oh you booked a April birth and now the due date has changed to March? Better mark off the month of March also! In the middle of a session? Gotta go! Middle of a holiday with the family? Gotta leave those kids there and go! In the grocery store gathering groceries for the week? Girl you better leave that buggy there and run! This means you either turn down the birth the month of your kid’s sporting event or spring break trip or you will probably miss out. Hello there, you are now on baby time. You may be there 20 minutes or 20 hours. My longest time at the hospital so far for a birth was 23 hours.
I have seen beautiful rainbow babies come into this world and fill the room with love like you have never seen. I have witnessed first time parents, first time grandparents and new big brothers/sisters placing their eyes on the new baby for the first time. I have also watched mom’s birth the baby that makes their family complete. Those moments and those reactions are nothing short of perfection.
Unfortunately, it is not always pretty pink bows and tears of joy. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it is VERY HARD. You have to be tough and hold back those tears when things don’t go exactly as planned. As much as you want to cry, in that moment you can’t. Your crying will let them know you are currently scared to death for them. I have had this happen several times and it never gets easier. I have watched one of the strongest people I have ever met scream the most horrific screams I have ever heard in my life. Her epidural did not work and she had to be sent in for a cesarean. She felt every single thing. I have left the hospital on several occasions and cried my entire way home because that is when all of the emotions I had been holding back hit me. That is when I realized what all happened and how blessed they are to be holding that precious baby….. and sometimes just how scared I actually was for them in the moment it all happened.
I am there for my clients and whatever they may need from the time I walk through that door. They need ice chips? Got it. They need the nurse? I’ll be right back. Husband couldn’t put your hair in a decent ponytail if his life depended on it? I’ve got you girl! I have held a leg with one hand and shot with the other. I have held hands. I have washed faces. I have prayed and I have cried with. As your birth photographer, I am NOT just your photographer. If I’m not your friend before you go into labor, we will be after! My birth babies always forever hold a very special place in my heart.
I love shooting births! It is by far my favorite part of photography. It is not for everyone… but It IS for me. I would not have it any other way. I will take those moments, no matter how raw and emotional, as the blessing that they are. No matter how hard they are for me to shoot or how worried I am from time to time. I will be there. I will shoot those moments as I see them. I will turn them into the most beautiful story I can possible. For no other reason than that is what I love to do and it is what my clients deserve. Thank you all for allowing me to do what I love. I have grown so much over the years of shooting births. I am so excited to see the amazing growth I am able to make with my birth stories in 2019.