Author Archives: Adelaide Birth Photographer

About Adelaide Birth Photographer

Adelaide Based Portrait Photographer specialising in Maternity, Birth, Newborn, Child, Family, Boudoir, (& anything else you want to throw at me!!) photography...

Go Get Censored!!!

It’s inevitable…. posting images of child birth are going to be revered, judged, reported and then torn down from the online social media world. There is so much to consider as a birth photographer, holding the rights to your images, but not always the right to share the story. There is something outrageously tempting about wanting to spread the visual word, promote informed birth choices, empower and entice others with the reality of birth. Sometimes I do feel it’s becoming more about the photographer than the woman and child in the images. The irony is that my very success stems from an act of censorship gaining large scale social media exposure and bolstering my presence into the public eye.Censorship Outcry

Every woman has a precious and powerful story to tell and share, if she wants to. These moments are intensely personal, and are taken at a time when a woman and child are at their most vulnerable. As is the balance of life, it’s the decisions which involve risk that bring about the greatest impact on your journey.

As photographers, the risk of censorship (getting banned and ridiculed) seems to bring about some kind of reward, somewhere in the vicinity of industry fame and popularity. So as birth photographs become accepted and birth itself normalised, censorship reduces, and the waves that photographers ride will become smaller and less helpful in thrusting our agenda into the limelight. Some days it feels like the race is on!

If you are a woman, giving permission to share your most private and powerful moments, consider how you and your child might feel reading the good, bad and ugly comments and opinions of strangers. Consider your emotional state and how you will balance and ground yourself if an image of you and your child goes “viral”.

If you are a photographer, read the above comment and put yourself in your client’s shoes. Then make sure your client understands that too. No matter what, this isn’t your story or your birth, it is hers. And it is your job as a birth photographer to hold that birth space, not just as it was happening, but forever more.

Here are a few special moments shared with full and informed permission. Each birth has its own story and celebration. Consider them all with honour and compassion in your heart as you play your part in normalising birth and helping us talk about the lessons we learned and wisdom we have to share as mothers.

 

A Dignified Birth – Ashford Hospital Caesarean

There seems to be a regard within the corporate hospital culture that professional photography in theatre is unacceptable. Yet the irony is that often the husband or midwife is allowed to photograph the experience, thus taking them out of their own joyful moments of the very experience they wish to be a part of. I find this to be so very sad, and disappointing.

It is my job to photograph this experience, without identifying the hospital staff and keeping out of their way. It is my job to focus on the mother, her baby and any loved ones who are there to support her. It is my job to ensure the mother has a beautiful documentation of the love, care and support that was flowing the day she delivered her child. And it is my job to ensure that child has photographs to look back on and see how cherished they were on their birth day – the biggest celebration of their lives which they will in turn journey through for their own children.

The fact is, a professional photographer is skilled in their genre. An Accredited Professional Photographer is even more accountable and skilled in shooting only what is acceptable and approved. And an Accredited Professional Birth Photographer abides by a special Code of Conduct that ensures they perform their job in full adherence to not only industry standard, but also hospital policy and client requirements. The Accredited Professional Birth Photographer is not to be feared – we are here to support and honour the experience of birth for EVERYONE.

If a woman choses to have a birth photographer – that is one of her birth choices. With so many choices being limited for a growing number of women, it breaks my heart when hospitals don’t take the time to understand these simple requests.

This was the beautiful entry into the world for little Maleah Rei. It was a calm, dignified experience for Maleah’s mother, with such care shown by all in attendance. I just love documenting births with this Obstetrician and Anaesthetist. And I love the vibrancy and joy captured during these important moments in a caesarean, where Mother and Father are free to enjoy the moments and be a part of their daughter’s arrival.

Adelaide Birth Photographer

International Babywearing Week – Adelaide Birth Photographer

Recently I had the pleasure of undertaking a commercial shoot for Ankalia – and Australian Owned and Operated business who proudly design, weave, and hand finish their products locally. Alexandra and Kellie are a power team who bring their unique products to a socially conscious, fashion aware, attachment parenting, consumer.

Ankalia’s latest wrap design featured in this session was created and modelled by Elizabeth Close, and Australian Indigenous Artist. Her daughter is the beautiful model accompanying her in this stunning wrap. You can view more of Elizabeth’s work here: Elizabeth Close – Aboriginal Artist

Ankalia Nganana || FUSION

Nganana – “all of us” (pronounced NUN-nun-nah – in Pitjantjatjara words, the emphasis is on the first syllable) Aboriginal Australia is made up of over 500 Language Groups – we are far from one homogenous group! We don’t have tribes (the word tribe has specific anthropological connotations – namely having a ‘Cheiftan’ – think Native American) rather, we have Countries.


I am a Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara woman from the APY lands in Central Australia. These two language groups together collectively refer to ourselves as ‘Anangu’ – the P/Y word for ‘people’. These two languages are largely the same.


This design reflects and celebrates the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their countries. It reflects the rich tapestry which is Indigenous Australia. These language groups are all so different; all with their own history, language, art, dance, song, dreaming, stories and law.


However, we come together and stand together as one. As much as we are different, in many more ways we are the same. As much as single countries we are beautiful, collectively – we are breathtaking. ‘Nganana’ is a Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara word that means “all of us”. This word perfectly reflects the artwork.

The Birth of Julien – Adelaide Birth Photographer

When I get an email enquiry like this, I get truly excited because I know this couple are empowered and value what I do. No mention of money or packages. Rather a simple communication about why they want their birth photographed, when, how and where they will be supported. Afterall, these elements are what’s most important about their experience.

Hi Victoria, I hope this finds you well. I really hope that we aren’t getting in too late, but I know this may be the case with you being in such demand! My husband and I are expecting our first this July. After having lost many pregnancies, we have been hesitant to book too many things until we got further along than ever before. We have now reached the 24 week mark and all looks good! If things continue on this path then we will be birthing at home with two WCH MGP midwives and a student midwife. Again, I understand if you are already all booked for this time, but you come highly recommended by good friends of ours, so I couldn’t help but at least try! Thanks, Hanna

Not only did I go on to photograph the birth of their precious rainbow baby, Julien – I was also asked to do a pregnancy and newborn session with them. It was a very magic experience and the collection of images I am able to give this family honour their experience beautifully.

The Business of Birth Photography – The Book!

I’m super excited to be launching my new book – The Business Of Birth Photography

I began writing the content for this book in 2013 and I’m thrilled to finally have it published for the world to see!

Through this dynamic collection of photographs and written concepts, The Business of Birth Photography is a guided glimpse into the emerging genre within the professional photographic industry, drawn from the experiences and insight of Australia’s most recognised birth photographer.

This well-equipped book contains vital information about photographing birth from a conceptual, technical and social point of view, with a business management guide to help you plan and build your photography business.

This resource serves as the foundation of The Business of Birth Photography Online Course and Workshops.

Book Contents include:

  • The value of birth photography
  • Your reason
  • Your client’s reason
  • Etiquette – societal
  • Etiquette – photographing birth
  • Client meetings
  • Contracts
  • Client questionnaire
  • Products
  • Client faq’s
  • Managing your health & safety during births
  • Birth shoot checklist
  • What’s in the bag?
  • Technical tips – composition
  • Technical tips – cropping
  • Technical tips – lighting
  • Birth scenarios – home birth preparation
  • Birth scenarios – hospital birth preparation
  • Birth scenarios – foetal demise
  • Birth scenarios – crowning
  • Professional practice verses awards
  • File backup system
  • Workflow
  • Time evaluation and scheduling
  • Time evaluation and scheduling
  • Financial evaluation
  • Pricing
  • Business
  • Online presence
  • Client satisfaction

 

The Business of Birth PhotographyWant to buy the book? CLICK HERE

Want to learn more about birth photography? CLICK HERE

Telling the Birth Story – Sashini and George Part 2

The journey Sashini and George took together on this day was something so powerful to witness. The bond of love and support was an incredible foundation for the two of them becoming parents.

Arriving at the hospital on a rainy Friday afternoon, I found the now familiar couple in the throes of labour. Sashini was doing all she could to manage each wave of contraction, with George always close by with supportive concern. The midwife on shift was such a caring and enthusiastic professional. Sashini had a great birth team on board, ready for action.

As an empowered and informed woman, Sashini allowed herself to experience the full force of labour and the amazing power of her body. The fatigue and strength she battled through was incredible as we watched on, offering our support in quiet and careful ways. After some time the journey to bring this baby into the world via cesarean was decided on.

To add to the excitement of the imminent arrival of their baby, Sashini and George requested of the hospital staff that I be present in theatre to capture the first moments with their new child. Permission was granted by all concerned and we prepared for that moment.

We couldn’t have predicted the full power of Sashini’s body and the way it would react to the anesthetic. As a result, George and I had to both wait outside theatre until the little baby boy was brought out to us. To be honest, it was an agonising wait. We sat in the sterile waiting bay listening… and then we heard the virile cry of a child. The first theatre nurse burst through the doors and holding her hands apart she indicated baby’s size, stating he was as big as a 3 month old! The Midwife soon followed announcing the baby was the size of a toddler! One thing was certain, this precious little life was strong and ready for the world!

When his father first laid eyes on his new son, it was a moment that took our breaths away. We all had tears in our eyes as this very alert baby boy could not take his eyes of his daddy every time he spoke. As soon as Sashini was stable in recovery, we were all allowed in to see her and I was so grateful to document her meeting her beautiful baby boy. I know Sashini’s recollection of this time was hazy, but having the images is really such an important part of piecing together her journey for her own mind.

I feel so strongly about the value of documenting birth. Going through the most profound event of birth changes us in ways that leave a lasting impact. The ability to piece together that journey can really build the bonds between family members, heal from painful elements, understand the lessons, grow and move forward with greater wisdom and respect for ourselves… not to mention giving us the ability to pass on this story and all it’s lessons to the next generation so they might know the truth of love and power that we experienced to bring them into this world.