Monday, November 3, 2014

Why would someone want to hire a Birth Photographer?

As I was sitting in a waiting room today, waiting...oddly enough, I picked up a Parenting Magazine.  At the end of the magazine was one of those pro/con articles where they told both sides of a story.

The title was 'Would you hire a Birth Photographer?'


The first part was from a Mother of 2 who said, 'Hell no'.
She said she would basically rather die than have someone in her face with a camera yelling, 'Say CHEESE!' during a contraction.  Or worse, a close-up shot of her vagina as the baby's head is crowning.

As a Photographer and a Mother of 3, I was writhing in my seat.  I mean, this woman went on and on about how having a birth photographer would be such an invasion on her privacy and what sort of sadistic person would want to 'get in there and see everything'? Obviously visions of paparazzi selling her pics to the highest bidder were abounding. 

~sigh~

So that's what made me think there may be a slight misunderstanding among the masses.  And I would like to set the record straight.  Please bear with me.

First of all, a Birthing Photographer is not looking to 'go in for the money shot' like the misinformed Mama claimed.  True...we, as Photographers, are usually positioning you and telling you where to stand and when to smile.  That much is true.  However, a Birthing Photographer is something entirely different.

We are there to capture a story, create a 'baby book' of pictures.  Picture the first image, Mom's belly a couple of months ahead of D-day.  A picture of the nursery ready and waiting...Daddy sitting in the rocking chair 'reading' a book to the soon-to-be baby.  The due date circled on the calendar!  If the birth is in a hospital or birthing clinic, a picture of the outside of the building or the sign announcing the name.  A moment capturing the strength of Mom experiencing a contraction while Dad holds tight to her hand.  A kiss on her forehead.  The clock on the wall showing the late hour, hopefully not a sign that the baby will be a night owl.  And then, the first expression on the baby's face as he/she is held up to Mom's face.

I didn't even realize I was holding my breath till I let it out at the thought of the baby's safe entrance into the world.  Can you see it? Can you feel the excitement?

Oh and I almost forgot, we are not in your face saying, 'cheese!'  A Birthing Photographer blends into the background.  We get the candids.  We don't wait for the smile.  We get the crucial moments.  And if we do our job right, you won't even know we are there.

I've been there done that, three times over.

The drives to the hospital.  The pain and struggle.  The long walks down the hall to speed things up.  The loved ones in the 'waiting room' falling asleep.  And the final gentle plump of the baby resting on my chest and looking up into my eyes for the first time.

And you know what?  Every single time, the camera sat unattended on a nearby table, waiting patiently for someone to remember it.  Oh, and we did.  But always much later.  And by the time we did remember, the baby had already changed in its looks from first glance.  The transformation from birth to one hour is amazing.  And if you don't have a photograph to prove it...your mind will change with it.  And you will forget what happened.  I find the birth of a baby is a whirl of excitement and activity, much like a wedding.  Everyone is present, there is crying and cheering, kissing and cake...and before you know it, it's all over and you have a blur of memories...and a baby. Okay, so maybe it's not the exact same thing.

If I could go back, knowing what I know now....I would have hired someone not related to me to take pictures.  Why not related to you?  Because if you are emotionally attached to the situation, you may get caught up in the flurry and forget all about that contraption in your hand.  It is hard to get a good clear photo if your hands are shaking and you're crying.  Believe me, I've tried that too.

So in conclusion, there are not many moments in your life that change you forever.  Not ones that you want to remember anyway.  Your first kiss as Husband and Wife.  The first time you look into the eyes of that baby you've been nurturing and loving for 9 months.

These are the moments you want to hold on to.  This is why it is worth the cost of hiring a professional.  This is why I love what I do.

Oh and p.s. the other side of the article was written also by a Mother of 2, but she was a Birth Photographer....

~for the moments there are no words, let the photographs speak for you~