Your birth story MATTERS.
And stories are always better with pictures :)
I might be biased, but I think everyone should have photos from their birth - whether those are taken with a cell phone camera or by a professional birth photographer.
Your baby’s birthday is like your wedding, only better. The planning starts early, the anticipation builds, and the emotions run high. It will feel like forever before you get to meet your baby - until the day comes. Then it flies by in a blur.
Professional photos are ideal - duh. If you can get yourself a birth photographer to capture the best day of your life, definitely do it.
But if you can’t, you can still recruit your partner or doula to capture the key moments along the way. Share this blog post with your designated picture-taker so they're ready to document your story when the day arrives!
Whether mom is laboring outside or not, try to get some shots of the outside of the birth place to show what the weather was like that day. This helps to set the scene for baby's birthday, as well as the timeline for when labor began.
2. Birth Place
Try to take a shot of both the outside and inside of the birth space, before things really start getting intense. This is a great way to use the slower moments during early labor to continue to set the scene for baby's birthday. And remember the details! Are there lights or affirmation cards hung in the birth space? What about a playlist with labor music on the laptop? If you're in the hospital, you can capture the monitors, hospital room number, etc.
If there is a clock nearby, try to take as many images as you can with the clock in the background. Or take photos of your phone/watch in between moments to help document when certain events took place. Often, a laboring mom's sense of time is completely warped during labor - so this is a great way to look back and remember when key moments happened.
4. Mom during labor
These are some of my favorite moments to document. Look for special moments between mom and her birth team (or other kiddos!), as well as moments where she's "in the zone" working for her baby. She will feel so empowered looking back on these! Pro tip - Try to shoot from above looking down. Think "selfie angle", which is much more flattering for mom ;)
5. Moment of Birth
This is what most people think of when they think of "birth" photography. It is a special moment indeed, that goes by FAST! Do your best to capture the moment mom embraces her baby for the first time, and the look on her face when she realizes what an incredible thing she just did! Also try to capture the moments that often happen immediately postpartum - such as cutting the cord and delivery of the placenta (if mom wants to see it!)
6. First Feeding
Whether mom is choosing to breast or bottle feed, the first time you nourish your baby on the outside is a precious moment indeed. This is a great way to capture LOTS of images of baby bonding with the feeding parent. Try to take images from different angles - some of baby's face, some of mom's face, both close up and farther away.
Baby is here!! Make sure to document when baby is weighed/measured, as well as if/when footprints are taken. Baby's size at birth is something moms always talk about any time they tell their birth story :)
8. First time dad/partner/siblings hold baby
It's dad's turn!! If your partner has been taking photos up until this point, recruit a nurse or other member of your birth team to capture the first moments between the non-birthing parent and baby bonding on the outside for the first time. If older siblings are around, I love to capture them oooh and ahhhh over their brand new baby sibling.
9. First family photo
Again, if your partner has been in charge of the photos, grab a nurse or other birth team member to snap your first family photo together.
10. Baby Details
Snag as many images you can of the star of the show - baby!! I always try to get in close for detail shots of the face, hands, feet, little wrinkles. Basically all the things we love to boop and smooch anytime we see a squishy new babe!
If you want to dig deeper into how to take great images using just your cell phone (or whatever camera you have), I created a 30-page DIY Birth Photography Guide for Doulas and Birth Partners. This guide goes through everything from lighting, to angles and composition, to cell phone settings tips & tricks. You can get more information here.
If you’re overwhelmed with the idea of adding “take photos” to your list for your baby’s birthday (and you're located near southeast Nebraska), then I’m here for you! Send me a message with your due date and we can set up a coffee date to discuss all the details. Your initial consultation is always free - and the coffee (or tea/water/delicious treat) is on me :)
Also, are we hanging out on Instagram yet? Come follow me! But only if you like birth and babies and don’t mind a little bodily fluids now and then ;)