Hi, I’m Lisa from Little Beanies Photography. I specialise in bumps, births, babies and families in your home or a location of your choice. No posing, just capturing the everyday, the real you.
I’m sure you would agree that for most women, birth is the most significant life-changing experience. Even bigger than your wedding day. So why don’t more people want to capture it? I will always treasure the iPhone pics I have of my first birth but for the second I decided to go for it and document it myself on my SLR. When one of my clients, Vicky, asked if I would capture her delivery, I was over the moon. Here is my story from behind the lens.
Vicky and I had a pre-birth meeting to get to know each other and build a relationship. It’s really important to meet the person before they come and take pictures at such a personal time. My style is very much capturing the key moments, not all the blood and gore which many people think. When I met Vicky we instantly clicked. She was so excited to hear about the birth of my son and I even showed her some images that I managed to capture on the day. In between my own contractions I had set up my camera – believe me, hypnobirthing helped a lot with this!
I texted Vicky at 10pm the night before her due date to remind her to text or call as soon as she felt anything. Vicky’s response was ‘this baby is staying put’. In truth I was so excited that I honestly couldn’t sleep waiting eagerly for a bit of news. This could potentially be the first ever birth I had the opportunity to document, and these opportunities don’t come up often.
As we know births are so unpredictable. Vicky’s waters broke the early hours of the following morning. I got the text at 6am and was told to be there at 9am when the midwife was set to arrive. I should have just gone with my instincts, got ready and camped outside, but I headed over so I could arrive about 8.20am, with the plan to sit in the car until I was needed. My heart was pounding. I was thinking, is this how doulas & midwives feel? I honestly couldn’t wait to experience this birth and more importantly capture it on camera. I was loving it!
When I arrived, I was greeted at the door by Vicky’s husband with a baby girl in his arms. I had missed it.
The birth happened before the midwife arrived and Vicky actually delivered on her own. Unfortunately this is just part and parcel of being a birth photographer. We couldn’t have planned it any better but when the little girl decided she wanted to come out, there was no stopping her. I immediately set to work snapping away, after giving my congratulations and big hugs to all. Vicky was so calm and just so happy and I felt incredibly lucky to be a part of this day. We’d always agreed that if for some reason I wasn’t there for the actual birth that Vicky still wanted the photographs as soon as possible within minutes. This was when ‘My Fresh 48 Package’ was born.
Little Lottie was only minutes old when I met her and hadn’t even opened her eyes for the first time. She still had the vernix (the white coating a very newborn baby has to protect the skin in the womb). This is when I realised the best bits were to come. Although I’d missed the actual birth, I got to capture all the firsts when the baby was minutes old. I was still tingly inside.
Then the family began to appear as the news spread. It was such a happy place to be and had I goose pimples the entire time. I even made sure that I hung on to get her big brother meeting her for the first time but I was also keen to let the family get on with their life with a new addition.
Now you are probably thinking, who would have a birth photographer? Who would want someone there whilst they’re giving birth? Honestly for those that have given birth already, I think you’ll agree when the actual time comes you actually do not care. You just want that baby out safe and sound. Vicky had planned a home birth so generally everything was low risk but you can have birth photographers in hospitals too.
A birth photographer isn’t necessarily there to get a photo of baby crowning – unless that’s what you want. Instead I wanted to capture the empowering journey through labour and the experience of meeting the gorgeous bundle of joy for the first time. It’s such pure and raw emotion. I truly believe there is nothing like it on this earth to capture a baby coming into the world. I will definitely be having a birth photographer next time if I’m lucky enough to have another baby.
According to a recent poll on Baby Centre UK over 50% would consider or have already booked a professional birth photographer to document their labour in all its intimacy. Would you ever hire a birth photographer? A few years ago I would never have considered it, but I’m definitely in the yes camp now.