Q&A Fridays: Documenting a Baby Birth

I’ve been lucky enough to witness 3 births in my life: My niece’s, my son’s, and my client’s. It’s such a special day and goes so fast that it’s hard to remember all the details after it’s over. Of course I never got a chance to take my own pictures when I was giving birth, but I do know that I wish I had someone in there to document it for me. All the little things that I missed, like the look on Juan’s face when he saw his son for the first time. Or even the look on MY face when I held LJ for the first time. Little moments like that. Here are a few tips and tricks for taking pictures of a baby’s birth.

1. No Flash. Giving birth to a baby is a very intimate and personal time. The mom needs some peace and quiet in anticipation of the labor she’s about to go through. Utilizing the natural or available light is best, because I’m sure she does not want to deal with a flash going off every few seconds. Not only  is it distracting, but the flash can be too harsh and eliminate the beauty of the photo. This picture below was taken without flash, the light is coming from the hospital light above the baby warmer bed.

2. Details of the Day. Definitely the most important things you want to capture are the details. The name of the hospital, the sign on the board, the room number, the clock indicating the time of birth, everyone hanging out in the waiting room, mommy relaxing in bed, etc…perhaps even a newspaper indicating the date. Below is a picture of the hospital my sister had her baby in, and a text message sent to my brother telling him that our sister was going into labor.

3. The Anticipation. There is usually a lot of down time before the labor really begins. I like to sit back and take pictures of the loved ones hanging out in anticipation for the baby.  Below is my sister and her husband comforting her while she was dealing with the painful contractions.

Another one is Tricia and her 2 yr old, relaxing on the bed waiting before it’s time to push.

4. Baby Details. Yay, the baby has arrived! Don’t forget to get the details of the hands and feet before the nurses wrap up the baby tightly in a blanket! The best time to do it is when they first place the baby on mommy’s chest, or when they place the baby on the warmer while he/she is being measured and weighed. The babies are extremely calm underneath that warmer so you can take the time to take those detail shots.

5. First Look. The most coveted shot of the day, the moment the parents set their eyes on their baby for the first time. So once that baby is born, don’t forget to swing the camera back around to mommy and daddy for the money shot. That is an extremely precious moment you will definitely want to capture.

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