Expect the Unexpected
One of the things that you learn becoming a parent is to expect the unexpected. No one could have ever expected or predicted the state of lockdown that our country is facing today thanks to COVID-19.
As apart of this time of high alert, hospitals will not allow your photographer there to document the birth of your baby. Don’t worry, we are here to help guide you and your family member who will be in attendance in how to best capture your story. Creating photographs is a great distraction from the news. We encourage you to practice some of these techniques before your arrival to the hospital. Wether it is with your camera or smart phone, don’t be afraid to try! Something is better than nothing. One day your child will thank you for preserving these moment.
Lighting and Angles.
The first thing you want to be aware of is LIGHTING! Hospitals tend to give ugly yellow tints to photos. This, among other reasons, is why we LOVE converting photos into black and white. Not only does it take care of the issue of the yucky yellow light, but it also brings all focus onto the moment. Natural light is always best. When possible, open up all of the curtains to bring in as much natural light as possible. Experiment with only using window light by turning off the lights in the room. Through out this post, I will go into more details on how to utilize lighting in different situations.
First things First
Before you get to the hospital, make sure that you have PLENTY of room on your phone or camera. This will allow you to take an abundance of photographs through the day. Do not be surprised if you take well over 1,000 photos. In fact, my biggest advise you to you is take double that! Take photos with different angels. Get close up and then move far away. Shoot from above and shoot from below. What exactly are you shooting? Well, I am glad you asked. Below I will walk you through a typical birth and moments to expect to capture.
There are SO many beautiful aspects to a birth story to photograph. We are going to break it down 4 categories. * Labor * Birth * Post-Birth * Fresh 48
Before things get intense, we love to capture one last belly photo before changing into the dreaded hospital gown. This can be a formal photo of you looking at the camera, or a candid one like this momma checking in.
Labor can be several hours long. The great thing about this (for the person taking the pictures) is that this give you plenty of time to experiment with lighting and angles. Also, during this time, we like to photograph small details such as baby clothes laying out or any signs that include the baby’s name and date.
In addition to the details, is the story of waiting. This can include bouncing on the ball, walking the halls or miraculously getting some shut eye. No matter what, each moment of time is apart of your birth story.
This is when it is GO TIME! Contractions are strong and close together. Your baby’s grand entrance is about to arrive! The doctor and nurses prep you and the room. The energy in the room get’s tense.
This is the time that you want to be in place to capture it all. And by all, I mean have the discussion before hand of what that means. Some mom’s want the full on photograph of the baby coming out to be photographed. Other’s may feel more conservative and not want the FULL thing being documented. If you as a mom are unsure, I say to be open to how ever it unfolds. These are your private photos and not everything has to be shared.
My favorite place to stand is just above the mom’s head. I like to shoot wide enough to get the mom, dad and baby into one image. If I cannot stand behind the bed, then my second favorite is always opposite of dad.
This is when allot of the fun stuff happens! There is still allot of excitement, yet you can slow down a bit. Here is a list of my favorite moments that you want to be prepared to photograph as a part of your birth story.
- Mom holding and seeing baby for the first time. ANGLES! Shoot from high above and down below. TRUST me, the mom will thank you for taking allot of photos.
- Cutting of the chord. In the hospital, this is typically done before handing baby to mom. If they allow, you can request delaying of the cutting of the chord.
- Dad seeing the baby for the first time. Wide shots and close up shots.
- Weighing and measuring. Again, this photo is a great reference tool and a must have photo.
- Close ups of the baby’s head, hands, feet and face. It is amazing to see how much a baby changes over night.
- Shoot ALLOT during these moments. The mother is going to be laying in the bed attended to by the doctor. She is not going to be able to fully see and take in everything that is happening with her sweet baby.
AHHHH…. Breath. This is the moment when time stands still. When it is just the parents and the baby. A time before heading home and back into reality. Mom is freshen up and able to focus on being herself and a mom. This is the time, when you have more control over the photos. You can control the lighting, the poses, and take your time with the angles.
As shown above, utilize the window light. A bed was in place by the window for the dad to sleep. It was perfect for me to capture the following Fresh 48 photographs. Below are images straight out of the camera to show more real life scenario. These images can easily be lighted for more bright and airy look.
As you see here, we did a few different angles giving each photograph a different look and emotion without having to move the baby. Notice the top left photo? It is naturally brighter than the rest because the baby’s face is towards the window. This here is the power of how proper lighting can change a photo .
Taking the hat off also is an easy way to show a different look .
Bath time is a favorite moment that I love to capture. This moment seems to always be done at a different time. Sometimes it is right after birth and the nurses will wash the baby. Other times the parents request to wash their own child.
Details of baby heads are the sweetest! Especially post bath.
This shows you the difference between the awful yellow hospital light, color correction and black and white.
While most of the attention is all on baby, don’t forget to capture a moment of mom with baby and dad with baby.
If there are no extra family members allowed in the room to take photos, you may want to ask a nurse if she would be able to snap some on your phone. I have found that most nurses are absolutely kind, giving, and just as excited as you are.