Capturing a Birth Story

One of the questions I am asked the most when discussing births is how do you know what to shoot? Most birth photographers have a list of shots that they always try to get. This list can vary somewhat from photographer to photographer depending on their style, but for the most part they are generally the same. Most photographers will take shots of the room to document the look and set the scene of the birth. I try to get a shot in of each laboring position as they change while I am there also. The connection between mom and baby, mom and her support person, and support person and baby are all shots that I do my very best to include. They are a very special part of capturing that emotion behind the birth story and help set the tone. If a client asks for a specific shot, I always try my best to get the shot they request, but I never promise that or any particular shot will be in the final image gallery. Every birth is different and things can change so very quickly. It is very important to keep your client's wishes in mind throughout shooting the birth and always try your very best to capture those moments for them, if possible. You want them to fall in love with their birth story. You want them to feel that you listened to them and know that you did your very best to capture their birth story in a way that they will always want to remember it. There have been times I have been times I have stayed longer than my client had paid for simply because I felt there was a missing piece to the story that I had not yet captured. I know that I will be telling my age here, but I suppose the most important thing I do is always the same with each birth. When my children were born, birth photography was not really even heard of. At least not in Alabama that I knew about. So, when I walk into a birth, I always try to keep that in mind. If I could go back to the day my son or daughter was born, what would I want to be captured? I allow the Mother in me to lead my eye, and I follow my heart with my camera. I try to capture each birth I shoot as I would want to remember my own child being born. The way everything looks is important, but the most important thing you can capture during a birth, is how it felt. That is what is going to send those same tears of joy down Momma's face, when she watches her video or looks back through those images, years from now. That is the true emotion we are trying to capture when we capture a birth story.

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