With more and more women embracing the opportunity to capture those precious moments meeting their new baby for the very first time, we wanted to share an insight into what it’s like to witness birth from behind the lens.
By inviting a birth photographer into their sacred space to capture their labour and birth, photographers like Lana Bell from The Birth Day are allowing women to look back on images they will treasure for a lifetime.
If you are considering birth photography, this interview is a must-read.
What would you say to a someone who's considering birth photography but is also somewhat tentative around the idea of having a photographer in her space for labour & birth?
A well trained and experienced birth photographer is just like any other birth professional in the room. A good photographer is a quiet, unobtrusive presence and as you go deeper into your labouring space you don't notice anyone else in the room. Look for a photographer who has captured a lot of births and is familiar with the birthing space. We also choose not to use any flashes or have a lot of equipment so we are able to blend into the background. Anyone who has had their birth captured will tell you without hesitation that those images are some of the most precious photos they own.
What do you love most about sharing such a monumental time in a women’s life?
Witnessing women step into their power is always such an empowering moment to be a part of. Our strength and resilience as women is never more apparent than during labour and birth. Every birth is so different yet one thing we never fail to be amazed by is how incredible women are, regardless of how their birthing day progresses.
Every labour & birth is so unique, what’s the most eye-opening experience you have witnessed from behind the lens?
Being present for a surrogate birth was definitely up there with my top births. A previous client of mine carried a baby girl for her friend and that was an amazing moment to be a part of.
Another honourable mention goes to the wonderful midwife who insisted on checking a breech baby's position one more time just moments before a scheduled c section was about to begin. She confirmed the baby had indeed flipped head down on the way down to the operating theatre! They were then able to quickly break mum's waters and she gave birth vaginally that morning. Midwives truly are the salt of the earth.
Tell us what it’s like having older siblings present for the birth of their new little brother or sister?
Always fun, always extra heart warming and they always handle birth with such grace. We've had little ones taking a sneaky dip in the birthing pool, running around naked, being the ones to announce the baby's sex, cracking jokes, or sitting quietly by and taking in the whole moment. I've been at births with toddlers, older teenage boys, little girls who'd just walked in from ballet lessons. I love seeing birth through children's eyes, I think it's a blessing to be able to show them the normality of labour and birth.
You're there with the new mama for the early labour stage through to all the precious cuddles in the first hours of birth. Do you have a favourite moment in the process of labour & birth?
Transition! (although maybe not the favourite moment for the birthing mum ;) As we spend more time with birthing women you really get a feel for where they are in their labour by just watching and listening. Trust me when I say that everyone gets to the point where they utter the words 'I can't do it anymore!' and that's when the midwives start preparing for delivery and we get ready to capture the moment they meet their baby. The energy in the room shifts, hearts start racing and we know that we're about to witness a woman meeting the love of her life.