+ WHAT IS BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY?
Birth Photography is the story of your labor, birth and those first moments of you with your baby, documented through photographs. A birth photographer does exactly that, discreetly and professionally capturing one of life's most significant experiences, while allowing your support team to focus entirely upon you and your baby.
+ WHY SHOULD I HIRE A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER?
The experience of your child coming into this world and meeting you for the first time is one of the most momentous days in your life. The birth of your child transforms who you are, changes your entire outlook on life and turns you into something incredible - a mother!
Whether this is your first baby or your fifth, your Child's Birth Story is made up of raw, emotional and amazing moments that should be remembered. Documenting those breathtaking moments - the first breath, hearing the first cry, holding your baby in your arms for the first time - ensures that those moments are preserved forever.
You may think that having a friend or family member capture these moments for you will work just the same, but the truth is, even with a DSLR camera, photographing a birth is not very easy. Difficult lighting situations, making sure the right moments are in focus when things are moving quickly, and being prepared for the unexpected make hiring a professional, a must!
I have never had a client say they regret having hired me to photograph their birth story. I have however, had clients come to me after their birth and said they wished they would have hired me to document their story.
+ HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED PHOTOGRAPHING BIRTH?
The birth of my first son was a long, hard labor and delivery (37+ hours, my husband fainting and an emergency cesarean section... but totally worth it!) and once it was over, it left me feeling quite vulnerable and confused. I felt like I could not remember the most important moments, everything was a blur, even meeting my son for the first time was a foggy memory. Part of me felt like I had not given birth at all because I was so exhausted by the time I had ended up having the c-section and suddenly he was just there. I felt I had failed as a woman because my body had not done what it was supposed to do.
I stayed in the hospital for 5 days after his birth, and as we were getting ready to be discharged, a midwife handed me a CD. When I got home, I put it into my computer and there they were! Photos of my son's birth, taken by the midwife with a point and shoot camera. There was him being pulled from my belly. My husband's proud face when they lifted him over the drape. The tears rolling down my cheeks as I heard his first cries. The memories started flooding back to me, and I realized in that moment, I had in fact given birth. It wasn't all just a dream. Suddenly I could remember exactly how his cry had sounded, exactly what I said when they pulled him out (my baby... my baby... my sweet baby._Pause* Is he American? and the room erupting into laughter) and exactly how he smelled so sweet when they put his face up next to mine. As the memories came back while looking through the photos, I realized what a gift this midwife had given me. She gave me the gift of seeing and remember the most significant day of my life. She had given me the gift of knowing I had birthed my son.
After seeing the photos, feeling the emotions, and remembering how that day made me who I am today... I knew then, that I wanted to do the same for other women. I wanted to give them the gift of remember every moment and seeing their story.
+ WHAT IF I DON'T WANT ‘EVERYTHING’ PHOTOGRAPHED?
Every client has different wishes for how much they want photographed when baby is actually being birthed. Some mothers want everything photographed (baby crowning and being born) and others would prefer a more modest approach (in which case I stand in a spot that still enables me to provide images of the entire story while keeping within your comfort-level). We will discuss this in detail when we meet at your consultation and at that time we will decide what will work best for you and you feel comfortable with. I am able to tell them complete story of your birth no matter how much or little of the "graphic" moments you wish to be photographed.
The support between you and your Partner, your baby’s first breath, the moment they open their eyes and see you for the first time… Moments just as important as how they came into the world. I am more than happy to accommodate any comfort level.
+ HOW MUCH INTERACTION DO YOU HAVE WITH US?
In the weeks leading up to your due date, I like to interact a bit over the telephone, text message or email to find out how you are feeling, to help put your mind at ease and to establish a better relationship so you do not feel like a stranger is in the room with you during labor and delivery.
It is important for you to have a peaceful, comfortable and positive birthing environment. Because of this, during your actual labor and delivery, I can either blend into the background and remain quiet or I am happy to add to the birth environment as well. I will follow your lead and interaction will surely depend on what stage of labor you are in.
+ DO YOU USE A FLASH?
I always bring my flash with me in case of the very rare instance that there is no available light but typically, I try to avoid using flash. If for some reason there is not adequate light and I feel the quality of the photos will be affected, I will simply turn on/up a small bit of light and quietly ask if it is okay. If for some reason the light is not okay for the laboring mother, I will respect that wish and try my best to capture photos using the minimal light and bounce my flash behind my shoulder if necessary. More details regarding this can be discussed in our consultation.
+ HOW LONG DO YOU STAY AFTERWARDS?
I stay until all important things have been documented such as the baby being weighed and measured, the foot prints taken and the first cuddles with mom and dad. This usually ends up being an hour to 2 hours after birth. If your labor and delivery is extremely quick, I may stay a bit longer to collect more photos and add more to the birth story (such as you contacting family to let them know baby has arrived, extended family coming to meet the baby, the first bath, etc).
+ WILL WE MEET EACH OTHER BEFORE THE BIRTH?
Absolutely! I like to schedule a consultation once you have decided to book, and at that time we will go over in detail what my services include, any questions you may have and also spend a bit of time getting to know each other. I then like to schedule a meeting for when you are around 34- 36 weeks (this may also be the time you choose to have a maternity session). At this meeting we go over the details of your birth plan and what you are expecting from me and how to go about contacting me once labor starts and any other details you may need. These meetings really help to establish our relationship so that the birthing environment remains relaxed.
+ WHEN SHOULD I BOOK?
Because birth is unpredictable and I need to be on-call in the weeks leading up to your birth, I take a very limited number of births per quarter. To ensure availability, you will want to book as soon as you know you want your birth photographed!
+ WHAT AREA DO YOU SERVE?
I live in Jena, Thuringia. So I generally I serve the Jena/Weimar/Erfurt area but, I am willing to go anywhere as long as the birth allows and I am given enough notice to allow for travel time.
+ SHOULD I LET ME DOCTOR OR MID WIFE KNOW I'VE HIRED A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER?
Yes, you should. It is important that the birthing team knows you have hired a photographer and to ensure photography is allowed in the clinic. If they have any questions for me, they can call me or email me at any time.
+ WHEN I GO INTO LABOR WHEN SHOULD I CALL YOU?
Since every labor is different, as soon as you feel any changes at all, please let me know! I like to have as much notice as possible. It is important to let your partner or support person know to keep me updated while you are laboring (or you can keep me updated too if you are feeling up to it).
I like to arrive when you reach about 5 cm, or before transition or active labor begins. If you are not having cervical checks, then you really need to be in tune with your body and let me know when you feel I should could or when the midwife feels it is a good time for me to come. Communicating with me via text leading up to and during labor is a quick and easy way to keep me informed.
Please note, if you are birthing more than 30km outside of Jena, this process may be different. We will discuss this in detail at your consultation.
+ WHAT IF I GO INTO LABOR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?
Just like that above answer, as soon as you feel any changes at all, please let me know no matter what time it is. I will be ready! You will receive a business card with all my contact numbers on it. I suggest putting it in your phone, and your partner’s phone right away.
+ WHAT DO YOU DO IF SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY BABY?
This will be discussed in detail during your consultations but it is ultimately your choice if you want me to keep documenting or not. I am okay to keep shooting if that is what you decide. If you decide you would like me to stop and or leave, I respect your wishes. If for some reason this is not specified and if the situation allows for it, I will continue shooting.
If the loss of life occurs, post-birth photos will be given to you in a separate file so that you can decide when and if you are ready to view them. While these photos may be hard to see, they may be helpful during the grieving and healing process.
+ WHAT IF I GIVE BIRTH PREMATURELY?
If you go into labor before 37 weeks, please call and I will try my very best to get there. If I cannot attend the birth, the deposit will be used towards a "Just Born" Session.
+ WHAT IF YOU CANNOT MAKE IT TO MY BIRTH?
As long as I am given enough notice (and except in the case of any medical emergencies) then I should be able to get there in enough time. If any circumstance should arise that is not the fault of the client (such as pre-term labor) which prevents me from making the birth, you have the choice of using your deposit towards another session of your choosing such as a "Just Born" or "Newborn" Session.
If it is my fault that I missed your birth (ie: you are unable to reach me, I am ill, etc.) you are entitled to a FULL refund. No questions asked.
+ WHAT IF I CHANGE MY MIND AT THE LAST MINUTE AND DECIDE THAT I DO NOT WANT BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY?
If you change your mind, that is absolutely no problem. However, your deposit is non-refundable. If you change your mind prior to the On-Call time, your deposit can be used towards a different session of your choosing within 3 months of your scheduled due date.
+ WHAT IF I'M HAVING A SCHEDULED C SECTION?
I need permission from your OB and the anesthesiologist. It is your responsibility to obtain this permission and to express to the operating team that you are requesting that for my attendance in the OR. This permission must be secured in advance and there is a better chance of me being allowed to attend if you and your partner discuss this with them and how much it would mean to you. If I am there to photograph your birth and have not been given permission, you will not receive a refund. But I will photograph moments leading up to and moments afterwards. There are ways to tell the story without being in the room.
+ WHAT IF I HAVE AN EMERGENCY C SECTION?
Emergencies do happen from time to time. It is important in this situation as well, that you express your wish that I am allowed in the OR to photograph the birth. If they deny the request, I will photograph the moments leading up to and moments immediately after the emergency c-section.
+ WHEN WILL I GET MY PHOTOS?
Your birth story photos are typically ready within 3-4 weeks.
+ WILL MY PHOTOS BE IN COLOR OR BLACK AND WHITE?
Most photos will be provided to you in black and white. There are always a few photos that I think look best in color, but with the ‘less than ideal’ lighting conditions of most births and the at times graphic nature of birth photography, black and white photos tend to be more aesthetically pleasing. Black and white photos also lend a more documentary feel.
+ WHAT IS A “JUST BORN″ SESSION?
A Just Born session can be booked anytime within 48-72 hours of birth. I’m there to photograph all the precious interactions between you, your partner, and your other children with baby. It also allows be to get up close and personal, quietly photographing all of baby’s tiny details, clean, fresh and new without the excitement of just being born.
This can be done in the hospital or in the comfort of your home. These are storytelling portraits that are meant to document and serve as a reminder of those first few quiet days just after delivery.
+ WHAT IS INCLUDED?
· All collections include on-call time from 38 weeks until you deliver. (I'll be on call, ready to go whenever you are.)
· Travel within the Jena/SHK/Weimar area is also included, however, a small travel fee will be applied if you are outside of this area (but we can chat about that later).
· Photography of labor and delivery of your new baby as well as post-delivery details and bonding time. Your entire birth story will be artistically documented for you to remember years from now.
· An online password protected gallery of 100-125 images.
· The option to purchase an art piece such as a storybook album or fine art prints.
· A special gift for choosing me to document your story.
+ HOW MUCH DO BIRTH STORIES COST?
Birth Stories start at 950€. (For a limited time, exclusive discounts will be given while I build my birth portfolio. For more information, please contact me.)
Maternity and/or Newborn Stories added on to Birth Stories are available at an exclusive price. Please contact me for further details.
Additional products may be purchased and include items such as: your images beautifully printed and then placed in a hand crafted keepsake box or bound together in a fine art album.
*Please note payment plans are available! I know how important it is to have this special story documented and the worry that birth photography is another expense during a time when you are purchasing items for your new baby’s arrival. For more information about payment plans, please ask.
+ HOW DO I BOOK?
In order to secure your birth on my calendar, a 300€ (non-refundable) retainer is needed, and the remaining balance is due after the birth and before the delivery of any products or digital files. (If a payment plan has been arranged, these terms are different). The retainer locks in your due date, and as I take so very few births a quarter, this is especially important.
+ I have been told there is a strong possibility my child will not survive outside of the womb. Will you still photograph our family and the experience?
Suffering the loss of a baby is one of the most difficult experiences parents could face. I believe it is just as important to remember that child’s entrance in the world as it is any other. I would be honored to be there to offer images to support your future healing and grieving of your child. Believe me, you will want to remember every detail of your child and the pictures will preserve those tiny features for you. There is no cost for this service.