“Quick! The baby’s crowning! Did you get a picture?!”
That’s not a direct quote from me. In fact, I couldn’t think of anything worse than having a camera in the delivery room, recording every ‘precious’ moment. But according to a recent article in The New York Times, there’s a growing trend for expectant parents to hire a birth photographer for the delivery room.
You may not have heard of ‘birth photographers’ however they do have their own association – the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (a group started by a Texas photographer who was inundated with inquires from women across America seeking photographs of their monumental occasion). The Association has approximately four hundred members, including fourteen photographers based in Australia.
If you’re anything like me, I quickly accepted the concept of birth photographers and moved on to the nitty-gritty. For example, where does the photographer stand? If a good photo is all about angles, you can be darn sure that delivering a baby is ‘not your best angle’! (The answer to this one is the photographer stands near the mother’s head, unless she has requested a crowning shot.)
Next on my list was wondering just how long the photographer has to hang around to get the winning shot. My first labour was over twenty-four hours long – if photographers are working on an hourly rate, that could get pricey. Plus, I wouldn’t have needed a visual record of me sucking ice-chips and pressing on my TENS machine. Apparently the rule-of-thumb is to start snapping once a woman is approximately six centimetres dilated.
Lastly, I’m keen to know what you actually do with the photographs once you have them – screensaver? Christmas card? Framed for the grandparents?
I can’t resist including a quote from the original news report on birth photographers – a mother said that now that her son is a teenager, she’d love to have photographs of the birth to look back on, however, her son would probably disagree. “He doesn’t even want his picture taken now,” she said. “He’s not going to want one on the way out of my vagina.”
All that said, take a look at some of the stunning images on the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers website and in photographer Lynsey Stone’s gallery…. It’s making me wish I had captured those first few moments!
Would you hire a birth photographer?