That moment when you hear the baby crying for the first time always brings a lump to my throat. Watching the slideshow of a baby’s birth day is an emotional experience no matter how often you see it. And being there to photograph it for the family is one of the most rewarding things I have been doing for the last two and a half years.
Birth photography is a new concept in South Africa. And yes, it does mean that a photographer is there and taking photographs at the birth of your baby.
There is no posing or direction. It’s not intrusive and interfering. It’s respectful and honest. It’s about the relationships and events as they unfold. Many couples even forget that we are there. But they will never forget the birth of their baby because we’ve been there.
Birth photography is about storytelling. The story of a birth told through images from the hour/s before the birth when anxiety levels are high and stress paints the faces of the parents, through the nerves of the birth itself, the relief and excitement following the birth and the sheer love and calm of bonding and getting to know the newest member of the family.
Whether it’s a natural or C-Section delivery each birth story is unique and special in it’s own way and a professional birth photographer’s goal is to document YOUR exclusive story in a way that enhances your memories of your baby’s birth.
Here are our top 8 reasons for commissioning a birth photographer…
- There is a lot happening during labour and birth and most labouring Moms are inwardly focused during this time. She has a big job to do. The photographs from the birth help the birthing Mom to see the details, the support offered as well as even her own strength and courage. She will most likely not be aware of her surroundings at the time. Many clients say they treasure seeing how their partner’s emotions change through the birth process and realizing how involved they really were and equally how strong and powerful they themselves were.
- Births typically take place in an environment with low light. There may only be a few candles to light the room and flash photography may not be allowed or may be too distracting. Your professional birth photographer will have the equipment and experience to take beautiful photos in this tricky lighting situation. It’s no piece of cake being able to take photos in the near dark and it doesn’t make sense for the birth partner to be struggling with this or finding afterwards that the photos didn’t come out well.
- Speaking of birth partners, when having a baby, you choose a birth partner to be present with you and FOR you. Having a professional birth photographer there allows your partner to do just that, and not be distracted by taking photos. It’s especially wonderful for their involvement to be recorded.
- Another area where experience really counts is that your birth photographer will have a good idea of how events during a birth are likely to unfold. This means that they are more ready to get those ‘once in a lifetime’ shots that are so special and important to you.
- A professional birth photographer is also aware of the medical environment that the birth is taking place in and will be able to ensure that they are not in the way of the medical professionals involved and pose not threat to the health and safety of the new baby.
- Let’s be honest. Birth is visceral. A birth photographer works hard to make sure that your photos are a tasteful reflection of the birth with as much modesty as you require.
- A difficult birth can be very traumatic. Seeing what happened from a different and perhaps more objective viewpoint has been very helpful in assisting with healing and acceptance after a traumatic birth experiences.
- After giving birth your primary focus is your little one. There is a lot going on and life as you knew it has changed and become fuller in every way… including your time. It’s definitely more limited. It’s a huge benefit having someone else take care of putting together yourbeautiful birth story for you so that you don’t land up with photos on different devices, which are probably not backed up and will most likely never be compiled into one succinct and easy to access memory for you to revisit again and again. With a box of tissues most likely.
But don’t take our word for it. Our clients say it best. “How do I put into words how perfectly Bronwyn encapsulated the birth of our son into a moving birth (photo) story? Our proudest moment yet, so beautifully and modestly portrayed, for us to visit again and again (and again). Bronwyn was so discreet in the delivery room, and picked up on every emotion felt. Besides every one of our brand new baby, my favourite pictures are those where she captured my husband’s emotions. A relaxed composure at first, then he looked a bit stressed (with wild hair) as the delivery got more intense, and then the utter relief once Harvard was born. I am so grateful that she was there to freeze that perfect moment in time for us.
Thank you Bronwyn.” – Jodi
Next time I’ll go into a bit more detail about what you can expect from your birth photographer and how you can go about finding the right one. In the meantime you can visit www.gabp.co.za or look for Gauteng Association of Birth Photographers on Facebook for more information.