the truth about birth photography | amanda d photography

i received so many kind comments, messages and emails after i shared miller’s birth story {and part 2}, and so many of you had questions about birth photography, i figured i would wrap it all up into one post! if you have any other questions or comments, please feel free to email or comment below!

 if you would have asked me 5 years ago if i ever planned to have a complete stranger with me, documenting probably the most vulnerable event in my life, seeing parts of my body i only want my ob and husband to see… the answer would have been a big fat, ‘NO.’ so what gives on our drastic change to hire a birth photographer for our third child’s birth?! let me back up a bit and if you’re totally unfamiliar with the concept of birth photography, let me answer some basic questions i received and hopefully clarify some misconceptions!
if you’re local to the dayton area, amanda d. photography is your hook-up. amanda is literally the sweetest + most talented mama + photographer  i’ve ever met and i couldn’t be more thankful to have had the opportunity to work with her!

what is birth photography?

in short…it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, documenting the greatest miracle on earth..a birth. every birth is unique from one another…making it exciting and beautiful in it’s own way. birth photography is more than just a newborn or family session. your photographer is there to capture the miracle of the birth of your child…moments that you will never remember unless you see them in pictures, capture the emotion, beauty and events of the day. your photographer can document aspects that you never knew were happening around you. family member’ emotions, the time on the clock, when your husband holds your hands or your mom gets you through one more contraction.
birth photography isn’t just about the crowning picture, although people can request that…it’s so much more. its the lighting. the environment. the people. the details… the first time baby is on mama’s chest. the first time siblings meet the new baby. the wonder. adrenaline. joy.
it’s the making of a family…all documented beautifully, and it deserves to be captured.

why you should have a birth photographer

whether your first or third pregnancy, these moments are fleeting and you won’t remember most of it.  there are so many of my pictures i look at and realize i have already forgotten so much. between the pain and being ‘in the zone,’ you just don’t remember everything that happens. amanda was able to capture moments between zach and i that capture perfectly the beauty, laughter, and connection between us that i am so grateful to have documented.
it’s not about your hair or makeup. it’s about your baby. the journey of labor and the support persons who surround you. while i chose to share my pictures, there are so many that will never be shared because they are mine. they are ours and ones i will cherish forever.  so many families choose never to share a single picture but appreciate and cherish those images for their own reasons.
one person asked ‘why can’t dad or a nurse take the pictures?’… and while yes, they could…they deserve to be in the pictures too. i can’t imagine zach not holding my hand through virtually every contraction, but my most favorite pictures are the ones that zach is in.

what you’ll invest

this will vary based on location and photographer, but be prepared to compensate your photographer…and trust me, they deserve it. think of it like paying your photographer for your wedding…except they don’t know the exact date and time and could be with you for even longer amounts of time. i’ve seen anywhere from $600 – $1500 in the dayton area and i’m sure it varies even more so in other parts of the country.  with a quick google search, you will see that many photographers offer various packages and are happy to tailor to individual wants and needs and are flexible per situation.  it’s always important to contact the photographer to inquire about pricing.

what to expect

every photographer has different protocols, so it is important to communicate clearly with your photographer.  in my experience with amanda d. photography, we communicated via phone/text/email throughout my pregnancy and leading up to my labor.  i let her know progress after each appointment and eventually when i was scheduled for induction.  that day, zach and i both texted her updates and amanda eventually came to the hospital when i was 5cm dilated.  she quietly entered, said ‘hi’ and then really, i barely knew she was there. she was so quiet and in the background, i look at these pictures and have no idea how i didn’t know she was there.  she communicated when necessary but really, was a fly on the wall, working well with the staff and my mom + sister who were also there as my support team.  as progress slowed and my plans changed for labor, amanda was able to document it all… even taking pictures while we slept for a couple hours through the night.  i had stalled for a few hours, so i sent her home and told her i would contact her when we had a next step.  she quickly showed up within 10 minutes of me texting her and she was able to document the next steps.
amanda also includes a ‘fresh 48 session’, so she came back to the hospital after miller had been discharged from NICU and in our room.  we scheduled for the ‘big sisters’ to come at that time, so we have the sweetest pictures of them meeting miller as well.

what is included

i’m sure every photographer has their own packages, but amanda’s package included showing up to the hospital when i was 5cm dilated, staying through my labor until delivery.  in my specific circumstance, i had stalled out and we had taken a few hours to give my body a break.  we knew i wasn’t going to make any progress, so i sent her home and we called when it was time to get going again.  she was back within minutes of me calling and then stayed through my surgery until miller had made his arrival and she could get a few more pictures.  she also includes a ‘fresh 48’ session where she comes back to get those adorable squishy baby pictures after baby has been born and mama has gotten a little ‘rest’ {as if that happens in the hospital…and a newborn}.  we planned to have our girls come and meet their baby brother at that time, so we were able to get some adorable pictures of that!
many people ask about timing and i can assure you that if your photographer does birth photography, they understand that labor, even planned ones like mine, don’t always go as planned.  go into labor at 2am?! your photographer will show up {assuming you have communicated with them}.  your labor lasts 24 hours?! your photographer understands. a planned vbac winds up a c-section and your photographer can’t be in when the baby is actually delivered? it happened to me and i still would have a birth photographer time and time again…your photographer knows what he or she is in for and from experience, amanda never once made me feel bad about the hours she was at the hospital, how long she was there, or that she had to come back just hours after she had left with maybe 15 minutes of sleep.
i’ll say it is so worth it!

what if i have a c-section?

each hospital + doctor is different and has their own set of rules.  in my situation, our hospital only allowed for one ‘support’ person to be in the operating room with me.  i would have had to choose between my husband and our photographer, amanda.  i clearly chose my hubby and some of the nurses took some pictures during surgery. amanda was able to meet us in recovery and take pictures as soon as we were there. she documented those first special moments in recovery and never missed a beat. i still am thankful for our pictures! i have seen some birth stories where the photographer was allowed in the ER and that might be the case for you!

special circumstances

births are unpredictable. babies are unpredictable.  i learned this early on in my twin pregnancy and it was re-confirmed with my scheduled induction for a vbac.  natural, unmedicated births can turn into a c-section in a matter of minutes. what was supposed to be an induction can turn into spontaneous pre-term labor.  it can take minutes for a baby to be born or literally days.  even with great communication and the most thought out, educated plan…babies sometimes just have their own plan. in my experience, and what i have head about other birth photographers, it is their job to be flexible.  amanda literally stayed at the hospital for hours, slept in our room and was back within hours when our plans changed.  she was able to capture images from every stage of labor.

how to find a photographer

if you’re in the dayton area, i would highly recommend amanda d. photography based on experience.  i honestly couldn’t have been happier and continue to look at my pictures and think what a blessing it was we connected.  a quick google search in your area will give you a good starting point, but like your wedding photography, you need to make sure it’s a good match.  i knew instantly when i met amanda that i would be comfortable with her being in the room with me and that was reaffirmed with each on-going conversation.  i honestly didn’t give amanda any sort of direction or make any requests regarding the pictures…i just let her do her job.  if you do have a specific request, however, you absolutely should make that known to make sure everyone is comfortable with that and your wants are known. call a few different photographers, meet with them and then make your decision. ask for portfolios and references!

is it worth it?!

the short answer is YES!! search birth stories on pinterest and you’ll get the idea. it’s not distasteful or gross or an invasion on your privacy…it’s your story. your baby’s story. even the most perfect labors and births aren’t the same as one another… they’re unique and they deserve to be told. if the idea of having a complete stranger in the room with you totally weirds you out, remember, if you deliver in a hospital, i promise you’ll have strangers in your room. i’m not saying birth photography is for everyone, but i can assure you that a skilled photographer is able to meet you where you’re at with your concerns and fears and deliver the most beautiful pictures documenting a once in a lifetime event. you won’t be sorry you did…i most certainly wasn’t!

**a HUGE thank you to amanda d. photography for partnering with fueling mamahood for this post.  i truly feel so blessed to have such beautiful photography documenting one of the most important events in our lives and would shout it to the moon if i could**
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3 thoughts on “the truth about birth photography | amanda d photography

  1. Thanks for sharing Lindsey – this will be very helpful for those who are contemplating labor and birth photos. In years to come you and they will be so happy you did it! Kudos!

  2. I love your perspective on this. I’m getting ready to do a live birth shoot for a good friend…it’s my first! But I’m so excited to capture these moments for her.

  3. These pictures are amazing. So raw and beautiful. I did not have a birth photographer for any of my births. It wasn’t really a thing that I knew about until I was pregnant with my 4th. I kind of wish that I could have done this now. Thanks for sharing!

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