begged asked my best friend, if I could be there for the birth to take pictures. Luckily, she said yes! I wanted to share some of the pictures and the lessons learned from this birth photography experience.
1. Don’t need to bring every lens.
Yes, I brought every single lens I owned. I had never done this before and didn’t know what I needed. My bag was so heavy from all my gear! I only ended up using my 50mm f/1.4 and my 105mm after he was born.
However, once the baby is home here is a list of lifestyle newborn photography gear we recommend using.
2. Stay out of the way and be quiet.
This is hard for me! Especially if you know me, quiet is one of the last words anyone would use to describe me. However, I told myself when I arrived that I was an observer and even though she is one of my dearest friends, I would only speak if spoken to. I broke my rule a couple of times but for the most part, I tried to get out of the way and pretend I wasn’t there.
3. Capture the details during birth photography.
There are so many little things you want to remember about that day. My friend had her trusty iPod that she kept in the whole time to listen to her Hypnobabies, Adele, and Mumford and Sons. I wanted to capture those little things because aren’t they the first things we forget.
4. Bring extra memory cards or a computer to upload your images.
I currently only have one memory card I trust. I have another but the first time I used it it corrupted over half my photos. I decided instead of risking it, I would bring my laptop and upload my photos as my card filled up.
Keep in mind you don’t want to be uploading photos while the mom is pushing. Therefore, use the time she is resting and the download to upload your images.
5. Take snacks and something to do.
I got the call at 5:45am that she was pulling into the hospital. This is her fourth child so we thought this baby would come out right away. I arrived at the hospital thinking I may have missed it. However, this baby was in no hurry. I waited in the waiting room for about 2 hours while she was in triage. I didn’t mind because I brought things to do. Also, being 7 months pregnant at the time, I needed snacks. I did not eat in front of the laboring pregnant woman though (that would be mean).
6. Edit quickly when it comes to birth photography.
Since I was the only one in the room taking pictures they were waiting on my photos to be able to share the news with family and friends. I got her about 25 photos the next morning for her to share with everyone who isn’t able to be here. (Keep in mind, I was doing this for a friend and not a client, so you may need to discuss your turn around time).
7. Discuss ahead of time what she is hoping you will capture.
You do not want to be asking a woman in labor what she wants you to get. We talked about how she wanted photos of her laboring as well as the birth.
Planning ahead will help you to know what to shoot. Write down certain shots you definitely want to get. During the down time review your list as once things get moving you won’t have time to stop and look at your list of birth photography ideas.
8. Don’t forget about Dad during birth photography.
9. Be ready to go.
Get your metering and everything set on your camera before she starts pushing. My friend pushed her baby out in 1, yes, 1 push. There was no time to redo the shot if my settings were way off. As the doctors were setting up to catch the baby, you better be setting up your camera to capture this once in a lifetime moment.
10. Follow the baby after the birth.
As a little something fun for y’all, I thought I would share my embarrassing moment when I photographed my sister’s birth two years ago. Remember how I said, stay out of the way and be quiet. You want to be an observer, not the one getting the attention. Well, I almost fainted when I was photography in my sister’s son’s birth. I don’t do well with blood and needles. My sister’s advice to me before I did the above photos was “Do not faint!” Yup, that is me in the chair, trying as hard as I can not to pass out. Thanks Mom for capturing this moment :O)
Have you photographed a birth? Share the a lesson you learned while doing birth photography.
Want to read more about birth photography or photographing newborns?
– 6 Tips to Photograph your Baby’s Birth
– Newborn tips for on-location photographers
– New baby photography ideas
– 10 Tips for photographing your baby
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