BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Birth Photography?
Birth photography is about creatively and skilfully capturing the intimate and emotional story of a child’s path into the world. As the acceptance and liberation of a women’s journey into motherhood continue to build momentum here in Australia, parents are finding new ways to revel in the beauty and passion of the birthing experience. The profound impact the arrival of a new baby has on the lives of its parents is both anticipated and embraced. The full strength and wisdom of the women’s body is realised and celebrated. The desire parents have to be able to document this journey without compromising their focus or energy in anything other than each other is part of why birth photography is so sort after. It’s a considered way of capturing moments that can never be replicated and ones that will never be more cherished – the first touch, the first breath, the first cry.
How many births have you photographed?
As of Jan 2017 – 91 births. I have documented scheduled caesareans, planned home births and hospital births.
What makes you different to other Birth Photographers?
My client focus towards telling their story and incorporating words to create a complete piece of work that can be passed on as the family’s legacy.
Qualified under the Australian Institute of Professional Photography as a Master Photographer, bound to the organisations strict code of professional practice.
AIPP 2013 Australian Documentary Photographer of the Year and 2014 Australian Birth Photographer of the Year.
National and International keynote speaker at industry conferences on Birth Photography.
Workshop and Course Facilitator on for The Business of Birth Photography.
Most experienced Birth Photographer in Australia.
Connections and rapport with staff from WCH, FMC, MGP (North, South & Central), Gawler, Mt Barker, Independent Midwives, Doula’s and other birth service providers.
Do you offer OTHER sessions also?
YES! I have the skill and equipment to offer any studio and natural light session. I’m also a well awarded architectural and commercial photographer, winning the South Australian Professional Photography Award for Creative Excellence in 2015.
When is the best time to book during pregnancy?
Let me know as soon as you can and you will be placed on a list. Deposits are required to secure your place after your 12 week scan.
Do you have insurance to photograph births?
Insurance is VITAL as a professional. I hold a $20MIL PL Scheme as recommended by hospitals.
How far will you travel & how long does it take you to get to my hospital?
I am happy to travel up to 2 hours from home to attend a birth. Sending me an SMS when things may be starting will help me to organise my day ahead and equipment. I am located in Grange. As a guide, travel with parking times are generally as per below. An additional 30 minutes will be added to arrival times if no prior warning is received to attend the birth.
City Hospitals – Calvary, WCH, Ashford: NON-PEAK - 25 mins | PEAK - 45 mins (8-9.30am)
Burnside: NON-PEAK - 35 mins | PEAK - 50 mins (8-9.30am)
Flinders Medical Centre: NON-PEAK - 35 mins | PEAK - 45 mins (5-6pm)
Mt Barker Hospital: NON-PEAK - 1 hour | PEAK - 1hr 15 mins (5-6pm)
Modbury Hospital: NON-PEAK - 40 mins | PEAK - 45 mins (5-6pm)
Lyell McEwin Hospital: NON-PEAK - 40 mins | PEAK - 50 mins (5-6pm)
Gawler Hospital: NON-PEAK - 50 mins | PEAK - 1hr (5-6pm)
What is your cancellation policy?
“No refund is given for services cancelled within 14 days of the CLIENT”S due date unless CLIENT has suffered a pregnancy loss. Services cancelled prior to 30 days receive a refund of 50% of the deposit paid.”
Do you offer payment plans?
YES! Payment plans are negotiated prior to signing the contract.
Do you offer a gift registry?
YES! They are called Collection Contributions. A page is set up for you on my website and you can invite your friends and loved ones to contribute to your chosen products.
Why have you chosen to offer the products you have available?
The beautiful ceremony and meaningful story of birth and the arrival of a child has been lost in many regards. The process of writing, sharing and celebrating birth in itself is healing and empowering for women. My books, prints and collections revolve around the concept of respecting the power of birth for both mother and child as a legacy that should be passed on from generation to generation.
How many images will I receive in the digital collections?
For Birth Documentation, on average you will receive about 100 - 200 images, but this varies due to the uniqueness of each birth experience. For all other collections you will receive from 20 to 30+ edited images of each session. You will receive all images in both colour and black and white – thus the number of files will be double!
How long will it take to receive my final order?
The book and images will be delivered up to 4 weeks following your last photographic session, once full payment has been received or from when you provide me with your journey book story, whichever comes last.
When do you arrive for the birth and how long will you stay?
Each situation is unique. The best starting point is to work out how much of the journey you want me to capture! It’s more than just arriving in time to photograph the baby being born – capturing the support during labour shows the strength and bond you have with your partner as you take the journey together.
Some women have fast labours and timing will always be discussed beforehand. First time births can always be a little harder to predict but regardless of this being your first or fifth child, I strongly recommend communicating to me as soon as things start to happen (early labour). From there, updates as contractions get closer together until it looks like you’re moving into active labour (the time you would call your midwife or birth attendant in).
If at any time you are unsure about your labour, I am always happy to pop in and visit you (day or night) to capture a few images and check in. This is not an inconvenience to me and I fully understand that things can start and stop. Experience tells me it’s better to go in than it is to wait until what could be too late!
I will stay up to 2 hours afterwards to get as many photographs of the first cuddles as possible.
What happens if you’re in attendance but labour stalls?
Sometimes this does happen and it’s very important to know that it has no impact on your coverage. Case dependant and after discussion, I may leave you until you feel ready again or it may be a matter of everyone getting a rest for a few hours to see if labour picks up again.
Do you have a backup photographer and can we meet them?
Yes, I have an AIPP Accredited backup photographer experienced in births who I use if you require this option. There may be occasions where I am unable to attend a birth due to personal reasons or because I’m already attending another birth. A backup photographer is only utilised after discussing the option with you and we have arranged a meeting together so you can decide if you are comfortable with the photographer. It is of the upmost importance to me that you feel 100% comfortable with the people you invite into your birth space. Above all else, this is what should be considered when deciding on whether to utilise the backup as an option.
What happens if you don’t arrive before my baby is born?
I only take a few births a month to allow me to have the greatest chance of attending each birth. If I miss your birth due to my error (ie: due to illness, attending another birth, unforeseen emergency), and you don’t utilise the backup photographer, you will be entitled to receive a full refund or I will offer you an Early Days Session and an additional session of your choice within 12 months of your child’s birth.
If I or the backup photographer miss your birth because it was too fast or you did not call me in time, there is no refund and you will receive an Early Days Session instead.
Do you already have a good rapport with the hospital staff, midwives and birth workers likely to be attending my birth?
I certainly do! I have always made this one of my priorities since pursuing birth photography in 2010. After many births now I have forged some beautiful relationships with birth workers after the wonderful and intense experiences I’ve shared with them. As an admirer of their skills and knowledge, I’ve always enjoyed the company of these professionals.
Are you aware of the policies surrounding photography at my hospital?
I have a copy of the WCH policy on photography at birth. I am versed in the policies held at Flinders Medical Centre, Ashford Hospital, Calvary Hospital, Burnside Hospital, Northern Community Hospital, Lyell McEwen Hospital and Gawler Hospital. There are limitations to what I'm allowed to photograph within hospital, most commonly any procedures. Some staff will decline to be in any photographs also, so I work around this through my ability to photograph past them or so they are unrecognisable through utilising a shallow depth of field.
What if I have a C-Section? Can I still have a birth photographer?
If you are having a planned Caesarean birth, you will want to ask your obstetrician beforehand if they will allow a photographer in the operating room with you along with any other support persons you have. Many doctors do allow this!
If your caesarean is unplanned, you may still ask, but it may be unlikely a photographer can go in with you. However, there are still plenty of beautiful moments to capture after the birth as the baby is taken to the nursery with Dad in tow! I am more than happy to stay at the hospital to document those first few moments in the postpartum room, or I can come back later to photograph those sweet bonding times with your newborn.
I want shots of …… and ……. Can you show me examples of these shot’s I want to have at my birth?
I’ve had a vast variety of experiences and am likely to have photographed something like you are after. Please let me know and I will send you some examples. If I haven’t shot it however, I look forward to the opportunity to achieve what you have in mind!
Why are some birth photographs bright, sharp and crisp while others are dark, soft and grainy?
Bright, crisp images are achieved by a low ISO, a fast shutter along with a flash that is bounced off a wall or ceiling to create the effect of a window light or well lit room. Birth lighting is never great for photography so a flash is generally used as baby is crowning and after baby is born.
Dark, soft and grainy images are achieved with a very high ISO, narrow depth of field and slower shutter speed to allow enough time and sensitivity for the ambient light to hit the camera’s sensor. I mainly use this effect during labour so as not to distract or impact on the environment at such a sensitive time.
I am concerned about “private shots”; I don’t want graphic pictures, what assurances can you give me on this?
The questionnaire I provide you will give you the opportunity to tell me exactly what you do and don’t want photographed. I will always follow this guide ensuring I don’t document anything you have requested not to have whilst endeavouring to capture the specific items you would like to have.
Have you been in a situation when things go wrong, what did you do and how did you cope?
Yes, I have had a variety of situations like this. Generally, I keep shooting to a point where I personally choose not to or if someone tells me to stop. My job is to document the journey and no matter what the outcome, having photographs to process as you heal from your journey will benefit you.
As a Heartfelt Photographer, I am faced with infant mortality and various scenarios that challenge me personally. I have a network of support for this level of experience.
What if I change my mind and don’t want the actual labour and birth documented, but I do want pictures of those special first hours?
You are most welcome to change your mind at any time from birth to an Early Days session. Any money payed will be credited towards your session along with any products you would like to purchase.
Will my images appear online anywhere – website, social media, etc?
Your images will only appear online with your permission.
Is there anything we can do that makes the photography easier for you?
YES please!! I always appreciate a quick Text Message (day or night) If you think labour may have started, understandably this isn’t always possible & in the event of a false alarm Don’t Stress, It’s all part of the Journey!
During Labour I ask that you allow at least one light on… even if it is the ensuite light or a lamp. I don't like to use flash during labour as it can be distracting for you, however, sometimes it is necessary. Please mention if you specifically DO NOT want flash. (It is bounced off the ceiling so never directly on you). One thing that’s important to understand is that your images can look very grainy and soft when shot in low light, whilst images shot with flash are generally clear and sharp.
Please ask your birth support to wear a neutral coloured top (fathers have a tendency to wear the most distracting t-shirts!).
Also, please consider using neutral / lighter coloured towels as they come up lovely in photos and don’t produce a “glare” bouncing light that white towelling does, it'll make a big difference to your Birth Sessions.
Can we arrange a time to meet in person to discuss my expectations?
Yes! This is ideal so we can discuss your ideas privately. You can book a Birth Photography Information Session through my websites Booking page.