1. When did you start photographing births? And why did you choose this field?
My first birth was March 5, 2010, and interestingly enough, I actually ended up photographing 3 births that month! Once I photographed the first birth, I absolutely knew it's what I wanted to do. I was thrilled to be able to merge my love of photography and birth, into what I call, my dream job. I had always been interested in anything and everything birth related, I even went to college and started taking classes for nursing, but I fell in love, got married, and had three kids and school got put on hold. Maybe one day I will go back, but for now, I am thankful I get to do what I love.
2. What's in your bag? (What camera and equipment do you use at births?)
I shoot with a Nikon D700, with a D300s as my backup.
For births, I mainly use a Sigma 1.4 35mm and a Nikon 1.4 50mm, but I also have a Nikon 2.8 28mm, and a Tamron 90mm 2.8 macro in my bag as well.
3. Do you prefer color images, black and white images or both?
I tend to lean towards color, as long as it's not too distracting, but there are definitely some images that look amazing in simple black and white. I add both files when editing each birth because everyone is different.
4. With being on call for births and having a child of your own, how do you make it work?
I am surrounded with a amazing support system. My husband, who is also self employed, has some flexibility with his schedule and can come home at a moments notice. If I need someone right away, I have some wonderful friends and neighbors who live within minutes of me who have offered to help me whenever needed. If that doesn't work, my parents aren't too far away either. I've never missed a birth due to lack of childcare, and for that, I am so thankful.
5. Do you meet with clients prior to the birth?
Yes, typically around 36 weeks or so, we usually meet for coffee, or I come to their house and meet the family, whatever they prefer. It's fun to get to know my parents-to-be before the big day. Nothing like having a stranger walk into the delivery room with a camera and not knowing anything about them! When we meet, we go over their birth plan, what they do and don't want photographed, when I usually show up, and what I typically do during a birth. It's fun getting to know them. They are free to ask me any questions and I usually have a few questions for them as well.
6. How do you plan and prep for each birth?
I make sure all contact numbers have been exchanged between everyone, sometimes we'll even send out some practice texts to make sure we're ready to go. I always have my moms-to-be keep me posted on any progress or change. It helps to give me an idea of a possible time frame (but that's never a guarantee) Also, if they head to the hospital, or the water breaks, I just have them shoot me a quick text so I can let whoever will be watching my kids know they're on call. Around 2 weeks before their due date, I make sure memory cards are emptied, batteries are charged, and bags are packed. I also have an extra phone charger as well. After attending some really long births, I quickly learned food and drinks are essential to have as well, if you don't have enough time to pack, a few bucks in change usually works too.
7. How do you handle doctors, nurses, staff, etc.?
I always have my moms-to-be run it past their doctor towards the end of the pregnant and just confirm it's ok if someone is there to take pictures. I haven't had anyone complain or object so far. Part of my job to not be a distraction, the last thing I want to be is the annoying photographer. I try and stay as quiet as possible, I've also been to a lot of the local hospitals so I'm a familiar face now. I respect their space and they respect mine. Bringing treats to the staff also helps too!
8. What advice would you give to other photographers considering birth photography?
Be prepared for anything, have a set plan for childcare, keep your schedule open, don't go too far away from the hospital unless you have a backup photographer. Don't undervalue your time and price accordingly, some births will call you away from your family for many hours, your time is worth something and you should be paid for it. Don't over edit, birth is beautiful, let the images you capture, speak for themselves! Invest in a good camera, you can't re-do a birth, you get one shot, that's it. Make sure you know your equipment well beforehand.
9. What do you photograph besides births?
I also enjoy photographing kids and families as well!
10. Tell us about your mentoring sessions, what do you teach and what will students learn?
The Birth Photography Workshop will be a weekend workshop for photographers wanting to start or build their new birth photography business. Sessions will cover what it means to offer birth photography & how to successfully integrate it or specialize in it; conduct of a birth photographer in different birth settings; branding, marketing, & pricing; editing & work flow; a hands-on “practice birth”; and 2-3 sessions specifically focused on shooting & editing video. It will be an intimate group, only around 10 attendees or so. We are looking into the possibility of live broadcasting each session as an individual purchase option for those who do not have the means to travel to the workshop, or would like to tune in for only specific portions. It will take place this fall in Seattle, WA. With hopefully more workshops in the future!
11. Please share with us your top 5 favorite images!
12. What is your photography site and NewbornPhotography.com url?
Website | Facebook | NBP Profile
Would you like to be our next Spotlight Photographer? E-mail us at email@example.com with the subject “Spotlight Photographer.” We look forward to featuring you!