How a Photographer Fits Into My Birth
(Photographer Guest Post)
Kaitlyn is an amazing birth, maternity, and lifestyle newborn photographer in Davis, Weber, and Salt Lake counties! She has been on a beautiful journey of birth, motherhood, and photography that has placed her in a unique position of understanding and support when it comes to documenting your birth. She is passionate about everything birth, empathetic to individual needs, and extremely personable. Kaitlyn would be a great addition to your birth team in helping preserve the joyous moments of birth!
If you want to learn more about Kaitlyn's own birth story you can read about it here on her blog. I’ll let her introduce herself more and then she will share her ideas on what it looks like to have a birth photographer before, during, and after birth.
Hey there, friend! My name is Kaitlyn. I’m a birth & motherhood photographer here in Davis County, and am here today to chat with you about what it looks like to have a birth photographer!
I started my photography journey 3 years ago, in search of some creative balance to my engineering-filled life, with NO idea that it - along with the birth of our little girlie in 2018 - would pull me out of engineering to birth work (you can read more about that journey of mine on my blog). AND HERE I AM. I TREASURE being trusted in documenting and honoring my fellow mama’s motherhood journeys, and LOVE getting to pour love and knowledge and empowerment on them along the way.
You’ve probably already heard that getting yourself a birth photographer is a good idea - even invaluable (if not, wellll read this!). I 110% believe that your birth experience is worth remembering, documenting, and honoring as a life-changing event.
But what does it even look like to have a birth photographer? What do they do during your birth? Won’t it be awkward - or even distracting - to have someone with a camera in your most vulnerable space? Is it really worth it?
While every photographer and birth is unique, and only you can decide whether you should invest in a birth photographer - I can walk you through what having a birth photographer might look like!
You can reach out and book your birth photographer at any point during your pregnancy (though it’s smart to reach out to us sooner rather than later to make sure you get the photographer you want). Typically, we’ll meet for a free consultation before anything’s official - this gives you a chance to get to know us and make sure we’d be a good fit for you and your birth! It’s a great idea to interview multiple photographers and find the best one for you! From there, we’ll have you double check with your provider that it’s okay with them that we join your birth team, and, to officially have your due date down on our calendar, have you pay a retainer (a part of the total package fees) and sign a contract.
What happens between booking and your birth really varies from photographer to photographer. Most will have you pay in full before 38 weeks, when we typically go on call, but we're flexible with payment plans, using gift registries, or even trading services to help fit your budgeting needs. Many will also meet with you again closer to your due date to chat about your birth plan and team, what details of your birth you want documented (or don’t), and just get to know each other so we can enter your birth space as a friend instead of a stranger. I also LOVE staying in touch with my mamas throughout their pregnancy and postpartum to provide extra encouragement, resources, recommendations, and knowledge.
As your due date gets closer, you’ll keep us in the loop with any potential signs that birth is getting closer (kinda like your doula)! We’ll use the little details to help us be ready to leave at just the right time so we can be with you and document your birth from active labor, usually about 6-7 cm dilated if you’re being checked, until after the birth.
Once we arrive and gently enter your birth space, we get to work documenting and telling your birth story! Most of the time, you won’t even notice us; we work hard to be a cohesive - and not distracting - part of your birth team and environment. That looks like carefully moving to both stay out of the way of your birth team and finding the vantage points for the most powerful images to tell your story. We keep our noise to a minimum, taking each image purposefully, and using flash in a discreet & sensitive way.
We’ll stay with you most of the time, but also will step out of the room if you need some space (or, if we’re breastfeeding and we need to pump!). And though we’ll let the rest of your birth team do their job in supporting you physically, mentally, and emotionally, we’re also sensitive to your needs and will come support you if and when you need us - whether that’s just a hand to hold or an encouraging word.
That will look different from birth to birth, and photographer to photographer; some photographers feel that they’ll serve their clients best by staying completely out of the way, and some want to support you however you need. Some photographers even offer both doula and photography services! Though I feel you’re typically best supported by a dedicated doula alongside the rest of your birth team, I also am a part of your birth team, and care deeply about your birth experience being an empowering one. As a trained doula, I’ve done the work to come join your birth space prepared with resources, tools, and knowledge to help serve you however you need me.
Regardless, we’ll be with you to patiently and respectfully document your birth story, however that unfolds. Once that long-anticipated moment has arrived, and you finally meet your precious newborn babe, we’ll typically stay for an hour or two to document the golden hours and newborn exam before giving you our congratulations and leaving you with your beautiful, new family.
In the hours and days after your birth, while you’re getting to know the newest little family member, we’re working with the raw images (and/or footage, if you hired us for videography) from your birth to tell your story and get those images and/or video back into your hands. How long that takes, what we do, and how we deliver them varies. I’ll send you an image or two within 24 hours to announce your baby's arrival and then send you an email with the link to your online gallery with all their images within a couple weeks. (I’ll be offering birth films soon, and am still figuring out details there!)
I also believe there is deep power in not only remembering your birth experience, but in seeing your journey - from pregnancy to that sweet newborn babe. So I’ll typically see my mamas both before and after their births - before for their maternity session, and after, in their home, for a newborn/postpartum session.
Though I can’t predict exactly what your birth will look like, I hope this gives you a better sense of what having a birth photographer in your birth space might look like! As you work on making your decision, know that any of us would be more than happy to chat about your concerns, questions, budget, and options! To chat with me, reach out via my website, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, DM me on Instagram, or message me on Facebook!