Courtney Kerr | Court Kerr Photography | Facebook
There are only a few portrait sessions where every photograph deserves to be in black and white. This is one of those sessions. Mischa was sent to me by one of my old friends who is now a birth doula at Creating Your Calm in Chapel Hill, NC. She is a pilates-based physical therapist and part owner at InsideOut Body Therapies in Durham. Cool, right??!!?! Well, it continues to get cooler. Her husband is a classically trained singer and made it to Hollywood on American Idol a couple of years ago! And he’s a personal trainer as well as a bartender. So, really this baby is going to come out gorgeous, strong, super smart, a people person, and multi-talentedMischa’s session took place at 2pm in Duke Gardens in Durham, NC. It was about 127 degrees and humid out, but it did not phase this mama one bit. She was completely calm and into the whole thing. She is my role modelWhen looking through her photographs I just visualized each and every one of them in a very simple and classic black and white. I felt that any color would be a distraction from how simply beautiful Mischa is at this point in her pregnancy.
Equipment used: Pentax K5, 70mm 2.4, 35mm 2.8 macro, 50mm 1.4
photo credits: Courtney Kerr
Birth photography has seen a surge in popularity over the last few years, and yet the intimacy and sacredness of this form of photography has remained. I have had other photographers ask me many questions related to capturing this important event, and I’m excited to share some of my tips and suggestions here.
First, I’m most often asked how a photographer can find opportunities to capture a birth. My suggestion is always to ask family and friends. Those closest to you are most likely to give you access to this very special time. If that’s not an option, try networking with some doulas and midwives. Let them know you are interested in photographing a birth, and you’re likely to get connected with some interested families.
Also, what does this typically look like for a photographer? Plan on being on-call for 3 weeks prior to and 2 weeks after the person’s due date. Babies come on their own time, and it can be in the middle of the night. Make sure you have multiple game plans for childcare if you have your own little ones, so you can be sure to stick with your commitment.
Another question I’m often asked is what kind of gear a photographer should have when photographing a birth. Some basic essentials are a DSLR that handles low-light situations well, a fairly wide angle lens that also has the ability to open to a wide aperture (35mm for a crop sensor, 50mm for a full-frame is a good bet), and a speedlight is also a bonus in case the room is very dark. A tip about the speedlight – make sure to discuss the mom’s wishes about this prior to the birth, and be prepared to explain that in very low-light situations, one may be necessary in order to capture the photos she’s looking for.
Some other topics to discuss with the mom-to-be:
- Does she want you to document the entire labor/delivery to record the story of the whole experience, or is she looking more for photos as she’s actively laboring/pushing and delivering?
- What is her feeling about photos of the baby as he/she is coming out? Where would she like you to be standing during this time?
- If she’s birthing in the hospital, have her find out if photography is allowed, and what the policy is for a c-section (elective or emergency)
- How long after the baby is born would she like you to stay? Does she want photos of the baby nursing the first time? Baby’s first bath? Baby being weighed?
And finally, I’m often asked what is a good price and package for birth photography. Obviously, this will vary greatly depending on your local market, but some things to keep in mind are your costs, your estimated time at the birth (and this varies greatly from mom to mom as well), as well as any products you’d like to include in the package. I’ve found that moms really like a comprehensive package that includes all of the digital images, and I think including an option for prints or an album is a really great option too. Births require a lot of time and work, both during the labor/delivery, as well as when processing the images afterward, so be sure to account for all of your time.
There is truly nothing more magical and spectacular than photographing the arrival of a new life into the world, and I feel so blessed that I’ve been a part of that gift for so many families, and hope that you get to experience that as well.
Tiffany is a photographer in the Greater Seattle area and has been happily married to her husband Ryan for 4 years. She is Mommy to Ben (3) and Henry (1). She started her photography journey 2.5 years ago, and shot her first birth, that of her nephew, nearly 2 years ago. Aside from her photography, Tiffany spends most of her time playing with and entertaining her two rambunctious little men. View her work at http://tiffanymae.com and
D’ialle came ALIVE during our session. When they say pregnant women have a little glow, they haven’t met D’ialle. She’s got a LOT of golden glimmery glow! She was singing and making me laugh and we were absolutely having a blast. I loved her confidence and she really made me just LOVE the final product.
Equipment used: I used a Canon 5D Mark II with my go-to 50mm 1.8!
photo credits: Ashley Knolla
Let’s all give some high fives to:
Julie Laszczak & Lauren Gilkey
They are the 2 winners of the giveaway posted below. Yay!!
THANK YOU everyone who entered!! I wish so much that I could send each & every one of y’all a planner. The kind things y’all had to say about the planner touched my heart so much. I am so excited for everyone to receive theirs!! The planners will begin shipping at the end of July.
Y’all, my mind is blown! Seriously blown!! This launch of the planner has been AH-MA-ZING!!!! You guys have been so supportive and wonderful, and I just want to hug each and every one of y’all! I wish there was a way I could personally say thank you to every single person… but since that’s impossible, I’ll just keep doing giveaways!
Tomorrow, July 10, is the FINAL day to preorder your planner. After tomorrow, you won’t be able to order a planner until after August. Yikes! That will be sure to bum several of y’all out, and I only want happy faces round here!
AND…even bigger news to report is that there are ONLY 105 planners left to even order. Once those 105 planners are gone, that’s it folks. I have only ordered a certain amount from my manufacturer, and unless I order in that same huge bulk number, I can’t order anymore. Let me tell y’all a little secret… Last year the majority of orders were AFTER the preorder period & my theory on that is once the planners were shipped and in your hot little hands, everyone realized how awesome they were and HAD TO HAVE ONE. Y’all, I expect this year to be no different because this year’s planner is exceptional. (well, there is one difference…this year, preorder numbers have been utterly amazing and blown last year’s out of the water…so there are even less planners this year than there were last year after preorders!!)
That 105 number goes down every single day, and who knows…maybe we will sell out with preorders….so if you want a planner, don’t delay!!
AND, remember!!!, EVERY preorder is automatically qualified for a chance to be shipped in a new Jo Totes camera bag with an ipad mini and the Preveal App, with a $100 promo card from Black River Imaging, a $50 gift card from photo card boutique and a special surprise from MpixPro (PLUS a few goodies from me!!)
ANYWAYS!!!! On to the good stuff
How about a giveaway!!!!
TWO winners will be chosen via rafflecopter to each receive a free planner (& be qualified for the surprise giveaway!!). The giveaway will begin immediately and end tomorrow night at midnight! Winners will be notified on Friday, July 12. If you have already purchased and you win, I will happily refund your money
How to enter: You can have up to 5 entries! Enter using rafflecopter below, and here is a summary of each entry.
1. Like Girl Hearts Camera on facebook 2. Like Paper & Camera on facebook 3. Share the photo below that will be posted on Girl Hearts Camera facebook page (you can do this more than once!) 4.Leave a blog comment that you’ve completed these entries. 5. Leave a separate blog comment about the planner. Tell me what you’re looking forward to most about owning the planner or how the planner will help you!
Boom, Bam, Done. Easy Peasy
(pssstttt…this photo below is the one that you’ll need to look for on the Girl Hearts Camera facebook page & share)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
After working with pregnant mamas for 14 years, one thing I know for sure is that while women may not necessarily feel amazing pregnant, they sure would love to look it! This is where a well-prepared photographer is really important. How can you be well prepared? By not only having great outfits and materials that work with the woman’s ever growing, glowing body, but knowing some key elements in posing as well.
When I began to photograph pregnancy I used every material I could get my hands on, until I realized that only materials that either stretch or are light enough to flow over the curves work. Toss out the sheets, or anything too stiff or shiny, and bring on polyester and silk. I also learned to be bold and ask women to dig in their closets and bring out items that are true to their style. People come to you for YOUR expertise, but they also want to look like themselves – only in better lighting.
Some things that are great for them to bring are:
Jewelry, scarves, lingerie, button down sweaters, jean jackets, skirts or jeans below the belly, hats, boots, cute shoes and tight dresses. We also have my entire line of TAoPaN Thredz maternity clothing available, so we direct them to bring nude undergarments or boy shorts and we provide bandeaus in several styles, colors and textures for them to use. Clients love that they can come with nothing and allow me to dress them, or we can mix and match from their closet and mine and just be creative.
Knowing what items to have on hand, or guide your client to bring is only the first part of the equation. The other part is posing your client.
Clothing + Style + Posing = Great Imagery
When women are pregnant, their whole equilibrium is off and trying to appear graceful, casual, or just simply pretty is often quite a challenge. Having someone inside your belly kicking your uterus and then being told to arch your back and smile is harder than it looks. The idea is to be quick with the transitions of poses, direct their movements, and be complimentary along the way. Rather then focus on just one pose, then the next and so on… work with fluid transitional movements and compliment them with each one so they are assured they are doing it well. When shooting inside we always have a fan on hand, not only because every woman looks gorgeous with a fan blowing, but also because it keeps them cool and will often prevent them wanting to pass out! When we are on location I keep m in the beginning but also bring something for them to sit on to give them a rest.
Wherever I am shooting, I am constantly talking in a session, guiding them with each movement. Some directions I may give will require things such as:
• Chins down and out (no double chins)
• Arching the back (to achieve a round belly)
• Soften the hands and lift them up in the air to get rid of veins (just for a few minutes)
• When laying down breath into the diaphragm to increase the belly (gravity will pull baby down)
• Transitional movement (look down, now up, now to the camera, now off to one light, etc.)
• Use the hands to show the roundness of the belly
• Bend the leg closest to the camera (makes any figure look great)
• And give a little smile…this is a happy time!
It’s possible to make every pregnant mama look and feel gorgeous for her pictures. That’s your job as a photographer, and it can be accomplished by a simple combination of the right outfit and good direction in posing.
Ana Brandt, a native New Yorker, now lives in Southern California and specializes in maternity thru the first year in her busy storefront studio and baby boutique. She is a Mama of 3 and currently speaks each year to PPA groups and holds workshops from NY to California, teaching photographers the art of pregnancy and newborn. She has designed a line of Maternity clothing that is sold to photographers in 25 countries. She believes in specializing and honing your craft. You can see her pregnancy and newborn work on her website and Facebook.