“Why would you want THAT photographed?” is a comment I have heard many times after explaining what I do.
After all, it is something so animal and raw; when we feel vulnerable and transparent and unsure of how we will act.
Also, beautiful and wonderful and empowering and emotional and revealing and temporal and impacting us forever.
Birth changes us.
Once we have gone through the growing and the laboring and finally – FINALLY - hold that little squishy baby in our arms, we have been changed.
Every birth is unique and a once in a lifetime event.
It has become increasingly more popular in recent years to have births photographed, whether by a close friend, partner, or a professional.
Hiring a photographer and inviting another person into your birth space may not be a preference for some, but if you find yourself considering the possibility of it for your own labor and birth, or are just trying to understand why someone would want a photographer present for such an event, here are a five reasons that may help.
1. HAVING SHAREABLE AND TASTEFUL IMAGES
Hiring a skilled photographer you trust ensures tasteful images which can be shared with family and friends. Not only will they have the equipment needed to work in small spaces and dim lighting, which allows them to get crisper and higher quality images, but you also won’t end up with a bunch of images showing off more than you desire to share even with close family members.
2. SEEING THE BIRTH FROM A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW
Most are aware that when you are in the process of giving birth, you are generally so focused on pain management and what your body is doing that you aren’t necessarily 100% aware of what is going on in the room. Time can seem slower or faster than reality and you may miss out on what is going on around you. It can be very meaningful to be able to look back on images showing what is going on in the room – the strength you have as a laboring woman, the support you are receiving from those around you, the emotions and expressions in the room.
3. Having a sequence of narrative images with which to share with your child the story of their birth
One of my favorite things to do with my daughter, whose birth I had photographed by my sister in-law, is to go over the images in order and tell her the story of the day she was born. She asks me again and again to read her “birthday” story to her. It is a special time of bonding and also helps normalize the process of birth for the next generation. Some individuals never have the experience of witnessing a birth before that of their own child. Seeing images from their own birth is a natural way of teaching a child about this beautiful and natural process from a young age to help make more supportive partners and educated mothers.
4. Freeing your support team to focus on being present and available for you
You may pack the camera in your birth bag with good intentions, hoping a support person or nurse can snap a few pictures here and there, but one of the most beautiful parts of hiring a birth photographer is that it frees up your support team to completely focus on you and take more ownership in their role of supporter, rather than spectator. A good birth photographer will attempt to make themselves as invisible as possible during the birth so as not to disrupt the process, allowing everyone present to be fully engaged.
5. Having images of those first moments recorded forever
Birth photographers capture the very first instant you meet your baby. The look on a mother’s or father’s face when they first see and hold their newborn is emotional and priceless. Personally, my favorite part of the birth is capturing those very first and raw moments, as they truly remind us of the intense love we feel for our children and family.
Hiring a birth photographer is a very personal choice and isn't for everyone. Be sure that you are certain the photographer you are hiring is a good fit for your family and will honor the birth space you are inviting them into.
If you still think you may be uncomfortable with a photographer present for your entire labor and birth, be sure to check out the “Just Born” session option to see if it may be right for you!
Also, check out this quick post for a few additional reasons:
International Association of Birth Photographers: 10 Reasons to Hire a Birth Photographer