The Call - Birth Photography
As birth photography is rapidly growing in popularity you may be asking yourself, Should I hire a professional to document my child's birth? Absolutely. There are a million reasons. For one, by letting a photographer document everything, it allows your loved ones to focus on you and your baby. Being in "the moment" is absolutely priceless. Is it uncomfortable to have a stranger photographing my hoo hah? Giving birth is the single most beautiful thing in the world. At that moment when you are in labor , you don't care anymore who sees you and all of you. All you care about is when will the pain stop and how much you can't wait to meet your baby. Will my photos be placed on the internet? Only if you allow them to be. I can't speak for every photographer but I know for myself, I only show off photos that are approved by my clients. You hire me for my professionalism and discretion. With that said, I am always honored when my clients want me to brag about their photos
The Call -
It's 2am and I'm woken up by the sound of my very annoying phone in the bathroom. I hear a man's voice on the other line, "Tennille?" He pronounced my name correctly which made me even more nervous haha. "I heard you do labor and birth photos" "Yes?" My wife just went into labor and we are heading to the hospital right now and would love for you to take the photos". I was shocked to receive the phone call and plus being caught off guard since I only spoke to his wife for a few minutes a few months back about the potential photo shoot and then never heard from her again. When you are a labor and birth photographer you are on call 24/7 a few weeks before the due date and are in constant contact with the proud parents. That wasn't the case in this situation. Luckily as photographer you have to be ready for anything. I had my camera bag near my bed with everything organized. I grabbed my camera bag, threw on comfy clothes, grabbed a few water bottles and almonds for protein. I raced out of the house and made it to the hospital by 2:30am. I arrived just a few minutes after my clients.
No matter how long you have been taking photos each session feels like it's the first one. At least it does for me. I was so nervous walking into the hospital room. Not knowing what to expect. Every doubtful question and insecurity running through my mind. Am I good enough. Will I screw this whole thing up? Is the lighting going to be good enough? What are the restrictions with photographing the birth? Will my camera batteries last? Did I bring my charger? Will I capture their dream photos? I will capture my dream photos? Will the clients like me? When was the last time I ate? Did I brush my teeth? Shoot I forgot gum. I wonder how long her labor will last? I better not faint, puke or both.
As a birth photographer there are only so many photos you can take during the labor so I started video taping her labor so I could make her a video that she will never forget. I brought 3 cameras with me and no tripod so I propped one of the cameras in the corner of the room by the tv with my 35mm lens and taped her labor. Hoping the doctor would allow me to tape the birth and if not, then hoping she wouldn't notice the camera. haha Nope she noticed and made me turn it off right before the birth. This is what I get for pushing the limits for my client. I learned a great lesson from my husband. It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission. I love taking chances with my photography but not in my personal life. Which of course drives him crazy.
Be as flexible as Gumby
I never know what may come up during a delivery so I roll with the punches. Everything can change in a blink of an eye and so can the rules. I was hired to take labor and delivery photos and as soon as she was about to give birth, the doctor told me I couldn't film or photograph the birth. Of course I was a little disappointed because that's the most important part of the process. Getting to document the first moment this little human enters the world is truly a remarkable moment. And not being able to document that is a shame. However I have to honor their wishes and rules. So I stayed above the belly and took photos of her pushing. I didn't have a chance to "ask for forgiveness" in this moment since I could feel the nurse over my shoulder staring at the back of my camera. hahah
The time has come and our little boy has graced the world with his big blue eyes and perfect little toes.
This precious little angel had a few mild complications so they unfortunately didn't give mommy much time to love on her baby before they took the baby to the NICU. Daddy went with Baby to make sure everything was ok. I stayed behind with Mommy so she wouldn't be alone. I knew this was her first baby and she had no family or friends here in Nashville so I stayed with her for as long as she needed. We knew she wouldn't be able to see her baby for a few hours so I told her not to worry, I would be by her side until she was in the same room as her husband and son. I always put myself in my clients shoes in every photo session. I wouldn't want to be sitting in a room all by myself after just giving birth to my first child. We waited and waited and finally it was time to be transferred to a private room. I packed up all of her belongings and helped transport her to her private room where we waiting a little longer for baby boy to come greet us. I have now been with them for about 10 hours and finally baby boy came in to see Mommy for the first time.
Aloha aku oe no ka a me iaʻu i loko o kou ohana - Thank you for including me in your family