photographing a birth

by Amy Lucy Lockheart

I often refer to Clickin Moms as one giant family. It’s true! And families take pictures of one another. What better way to document a birth than to ask a fellow Clickin Mom to photograph the entire event. There have been a number of CM members who have photographed the births of fellow Clickin Moms members, myself included.

The birth of a child is an experience that you will never forget. Indeed, it is one of the most important and momentous times in a person’s life. In time, however, small details may start to fade from our memories. I have very few photos from the births of my three children, and what I wouldn’t give to have more. Photos from the birth of a precious child are certain to become a prized possession for the entire family. But the experience for the photographer is a profound, and perhaps life-changing, one as well.

Photographing the birth of my nephew was an incredible experience – it is actually hard to put into words just what an amazing experience it was. I was supposed to second shoot for an experienced birth photographer, but baby decided to come just a little bit early. I anxiously headed to the hospital by myself, running through a list of all the shots I wanted to get as I drove. Through a rush of adrenaline that seemed to last all day, I captured the story of my nephew’s birth from start to finish. From those first labor pains to the first cry to the first time meeting big brother, I was able to document it all. I left physically and emotionally exhausted, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I don’t view the photos as a gift I gave my sister-in-law (although I am certain she treasures them). Rather, I view the whole experience as a gift she gave me.

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

Leah Cook of Leah Cook Photography photographed the birth of baby Jack, born to close friend and fellow CM Sara Seeton.

“I had the honor of photographing sweet baby Jack’s birth.  His mama is my dear friend and fellow photographer, Sara Seeton.  This was my first birth EVER to photograph and, oh yes, I learned a ton.  I discovered that it’s all about blind faith when you’re shooting through tears…and the anticipation leading up to when mom will go into labor is insane!  This experience was super intense and emotional because I love Sara more than words.  The first thing I took away was to amp up the sweetness and charm…mainly towards the hospital staff.  L+D nurses are important to become friends with since you’ll be seeing them the most.  The hospital where Sara delivered actually had a no-picture policy, but we soon found out it was up to the doctor.  Thankfully, he agreed that we could shoot the delivery.  Next, I realized how important height is…something I don’t have!  I should have brought a stool, instead I found a side table that wasn’t being used and shoved it in the corner by the bed…long before it was ‘go-time’.  Lastly, I communicated with Sara about how she was feeling, what she was thinking, and if there was anything I was missing.  Now…that might not be appropriate with a mom in active labor or a couple that likes a perfectly quiet environment, but for us it worked.  I wanted to give her a comprehensive story of the day.

Since this session for Sara, I’ve shot one other birth…and it too was amazing.  I love the hospital light (as odd as that sounds) and working with what you’re given.  It’s refreshing to shoot what you see, capture details and document the day, instead of directing subjects or acting like a silly fool in order to get a smile.  I’m so thankful to have been there for my friend and even more blessed to have had Sara photograph my own baby Sam’s arrival.” – Leah Cook

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

Sarah Mazza of My Point of You Photography photographed the birth of fellow Clickin Moms member Carrie Nelson.

“When I saw Carrie Nelson’s post on our local photography FB group looking to hire a birth photographer, I was over the moon. While I’d never shot a birth before, I had been longing to so I decided to message her and express my interest. Carrie did end up picking me to photograph the birth of her daughter.

Carrie had a scheduled c-section and once I learned of the hospital’s very strict policy against anyone but the significant other being in the OR, my strategy shifted to being sure that I captured the very first moments after their daughter Juliet was born and the meeting between her and brand new big brother, four year old Ben, for the very first time. I make a point to meet my kiddo clients before my sessions so that they’re comfortable with me and I’m not simply ‘the lady with the big camera.’ We spent the afternoon playing and can I just say that I really have forgotten how active four year old boys can actually be!

The Big Day. I arrived at the hospital and everything was going as planned and on schedule. When the anesthesiologist came in to prep Carrie and asked if anyone had any questions, once the patient had answered I raised my hand like I was in middle school and said “I do!”. Letting him know I was their birth photographer, I very sheepishly asked if there was a viewing room that would give me even a glimpse of the actual birth. His response? “No, we don’t have a viewing room, but I don’t have a problem with you being in the OR as long as it’s ok with the head nurse and the doctor.” Well, that was all I needed to hear. I was going to do whatever I needed to in order to get their approval! As it turned out, everyone was in very gracious spirits that day because I did. Scrubbed up and ready to go, off we went and within minutes Juliet had made her entrance into the world, all 11 lbs. 9 ½ oz of her!

While nothing can compare to the birth of my own babies, this was still such an intense rush of emotions; difficult to even elucidate with words. The entire experience left me feeling so extraordinarily inspired and with such a renewed avidity. So much so, I knew I needed to give the idea of specializing in births quite a bit of consideration. I know that my heart is and will always be in lifestyle work and while I haven’t chosen a particular area of photography to specialize in, by documenting the birth for fellow CM one very well may have been chosen for me.” – Sarah Mazza

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photo

photographing a birth photoAmy Lucy Lockheart, Minnesota
Click Magazine Product Editor | CMU Instructor
Blog | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Mentoring | Ask a Pro
Residing in Minnesota with her husband and three children, Amy has “always had an appreciation and interest in photography, but my beautiful children inspired me to pursue photography and for that I am so grateful.” Shooting with a Nikon D4 and varying prime lenses her “first priority is capturing the fleeting moments of childhood. I love photographing my own children and showing them how much I love them through the images I create. I also enjoy capturing the connections between family members as they interact in unique locations.” Picnicking in a state park with her family or searching for vintage treasures at antique shows is how she likes to spend her day off but she also enjoys volleyball, gardening, a good book, compassionate people, and watermelon. Amy is also the instructor for one of CMU’s newest workshops, Shooting 101: First Steps With A DSLR.

Read all photography tutorials by Amy Lucy Lockheart.

 

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