Tag Archives: birth 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.

 

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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.

2014 Canon AIPP Australian Birth Photographer of the Year – Victoria Berekmeri

Sincere thanks and appreciation must go to the AIPP members and in particular the Awards crew who have made this event such a successful one. This birth category could never have existed if it weren’t for the wonderful AIPP members who joined forces to define this genre within the industry. The category finalist, friend and amazing photographer, Selena Rollason (http://www.brisbanebirthphotography.com.au/) is a driven and valued member of the birth photography community who played a pivotal role in making this genre recognised as an APPA category. It is an honour to have her stand beside me in this inaugural year as her images help set the standard for birth photography in Australia.

The work I do, the people I meet and the births I capture have all changed my world into one filled with gratitude, joy and meaning. Birth Photography started out as a path to healing some of my own deep wounds, but it has now turned into something profoundly powerful. I have witnessed the work I create and share change social opinion on what is natural and worthy of true celebration. Passion and knowledge fly together as this documentary genre continues to act as a visionary voice, celebrating of the natural beauty of human life along with the power of a woman’s body and soul.

Special and sincere thanks go to all of my clients – you are all in inspiration to me! And to my parents and their precious babies who feature in this collection of award-winning images, thank you from the warmest place in my heart. Not only was it an honour to capture and share these moments, but it was a gift to all those who loved and appreciated them along with me.

There is also another group of people involved in the production of these award prints. To prepare these images for print, I worked with the best in the industry – Atkins Technicolour. http://www.atkins.com.au/ Atkins helped transform my images into art pieces that reflected the right tone and sensation needed to win. Printing is a whole other discipline so it goes without saying that having a great relationship between photographer and printing technician can’t be underestimated. I’m thrilled to say that I use the same printing lab my Grandfather used so I do feel an extra special connection with Atkins.

Without further ado – here are the 4 award winning images that saw me win the 2014 Canon AIPP Australian Birth Photographer of the Year.

 

Silver with Distinction

Silver with Distinction

Silver Award

Silver Award

Silver Award

Silver Award

Silver Award

Silver Award

If you’re interested in learning more about Birth Photography, please check out the upcoming workshop dates here: http://www.eventzilla.net/user/birthphotography

or contact Victoria to discuss mentoring options: victoria@adelaidebirthphotographer.com.au

Questions to ask a Birth Photographer – What’s really important to know!

So, you’re interested in having a birth photographer document the arrival of your little one. I get many enquiries into my services, but the line of questioning I’m asked straight up is “How much do you charge?”, followed by “Are you available in ….?”.

I believe this is a standard consumer approach to enquiries across industries that have failed in educating their clients about the real value of their services. Also, considering birth photography is relatively unheard of by the masses, it’s quite understandable that people who might be interested in it simply don’t understand the full scope of its value to them.

I’ve pulled together a list of questions you should really ask when looking into engaging a birth photographer to suit YOU. Never underestimate the value of having a photographer you “click” with. Having that free-flowing connection will be reflected in the experience you share together along with the photographs you receive.

And if you’re a birth photographer reading this, I push you to be able to confidently answer every question with openness. It’s the best way to get the type of clients suited to you and your business and a great start to an open and honest client, photographer relationship.

  1. How many births have you photographed?
  2. What makes you different to other Birth Photographers?
  3. Do you offer maternity and newborn sessions also?
  4. When is the best time to book during pregnancy?
  5. Do you have insurance to photograph births?
  6. How far will you travel & how long does it take you to get to my hospital?
  7. What is your cancellation policy?
  8. What’s included in the booking fee?
  9. Do you offer payment plans?
  10. Do you offer a gift registry?
  11. Why have you chosen to offer the products you have available?
  12. How many images will I receive in the digital collections?
  13. How long will it take to receive my final order?
  14. When do you arrive for the birth and how long will you stay?
  15. What happens if you’re in attendance but labour stalls?
  16. Do you have a backup photographer and can we meet them?
  17. What happens if you don’t arrive before my baby is born?
  18. Do you already have a good rapport with the hospital staff, midwives and birth workers likely to be attending my birth?
  19. Are you aware of the policies surrounding photography at my hospital?
  20. What if I have a C-Section? Can I still have a birth photographer?
  21. I want shots of …… and …….  Can you show me examples of these shot’s I want to have at my birth?
  22. Why are some birth photographs bright, sharp and crisp while others are dark, soft and grainy?
  23. I am concerned about “private shots”; I don’t want graphic pictures, what assurances can you give me on this?
  24. Have you been in a situation when things go wrong, what did you do and how did you cope?
  25. What if I change my mind and don’t want the actual labour and birth documented, but I do want pictures of those special first hours?
  26. Will my images appear online anywhere – website, social media, etc?
  27. Is there anything we can do that makes the photography easier for you?
  28. Can we arrange a time to meet in person to discuss my expectations?

Adelaide Birth Photographer

AIPP Birth Photography Special Interest Group

At the end of last year, I was personally invited to help kick off and contribute to an AIPP Special Interest Group (SIG) focused on Birth Photography in Australia. The group is flourishing as passionate birth photographers around Australia join the AIPP’s goal to help promote standards of professionalism for this genre. There is a wealth of experience, backgrounds and insight within the group and with the guidance of the AIPP’s Executive Officer, we are able to delve right into the important issues and achieve beneficial outcomes.

We are currently collaborating on the following:

  • Defining the contents of a specimen birth photography contract that will be reviewed by AIPP solicitors and available to all members.
  • Creating a Standards of Practice / Code of Conduct appropriate for birth photography.
  • Identifying ways of promoting the genre and building relationships with birth centred organisations.
  • Defining the point of difference of an AIPP Accredited Professional Photographer providing birth photography services.
  • Considering the genre in regards to the AIPP awards.
  • Working on a dedicated Birth Photography website that serves as a resource to both client and photographer.

I’m so excited about what’s ahead for this genre I love so much. Those who know me, know I’m passionate about raising the bar and providing the best experience possible for each and every women who chooses to have her birth photographed. If you’re interested in learning more about the SIG or want to be involved, please contact me or head to the AIPP Blog. The AIPP are a fantastic organisation opening the doors to new endeavours and helping photographers bridge gaps often too vast to do so alone.

Best night of my life!!

First Time Birth Journey – Adelaide Birth Photographer

This birth is a particularly powerful one for me. Photographing the New Zealand born couple, Pene and Jeremy becoming parents was a moving and memorable experience. It is with special thanks to them both for allowing me to share some of their images with you here.

I was called to Pene and Jeremy’s home just before midnight on the 14th August 2013. The mood was calm with sense of apprehension about what was to come and a hint of suppressed excitement. We took a brief opportunity to capture a posed moment in between contractions. It was the love I saw in this photograph that I witnessed wildly blooming as Jeremy saw the amazing power and strength Pene had within her. It is an image that set the scene of support and strength between them as a new family.

Adelaide Birth PhotographerPene prepared herself mentally for the journey ahead with a calming bath and rythmical chants, with Jeremy’s support as he attended to the more pragmatic details.  Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth PhotographerBy 2am on the 15th of August, we were at the Flinders Medical Centre and Pene settled into her suite within the Midwifery Group Practice birth centre.

Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth PhotographerThe intensity of a first time labour is always encompassing. Pene’s strength continued as she found relief in water with the support of Jeremy and the midwifery staff.

Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth PhotographerAt 5am an examination was conducted to check the progress and membranes were ruptured.

Adelaide Birth Photographer  Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer This moment will stay with me, as Pene reaches the point where her strength wavers and she cries “I don’t know if I can do this”, in desperation. It is the response from her friend Vicki that resonated in my heart and made the tears in my eyes, roll down my cheeks. With calm knowing, Vicki replies “This is how it is done.”Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth PhotographerAdelaide Birth Photographer Jeremy’s support and love for Pene was impeccably present, as if he would have willingly swapped places with his love at any moment if it were possible.Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer At 7:54am, Pene birthed their beautiful baby boy. He required some assistance to clear his lungs and a little oxygen. The staff who attended to his care were so compassionate.

Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth PhotographerAfter a short stay in NICU, baby Ethan was taken home. I went to visit them 2 weeks later to show them their photographs and enjoy hearing all about their experience after a little space from the big event.

Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer Adelaide Birth Photographer  Adelaide Birth PhotographerEthan is a real treasure! Thanks again Pene and Jeremy for allowing me the honour of being present at Ethan’s birth. xxx

Australian Birth Photography Workshop & Retreat

Workshop Retreat ImageWORKSHOP SOLD OUT!!!!   NEW SESSIONS TO BE ANNOUNCED JUNE 2014

A hands on, engaging 2 day workshop for passionate birth photographers of any level.

Hosted by Victoria Berkemeri – Australian Documentary Photographer of the Year,

 at a gorgeous, beach front venue in Adelaide, South Australia.

A unique retreat to network with some of Australia’s talented birth photographers.

 

 BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP    |     $1499

  • We have secured a beachfront townhouse located at West Beach, a 5 minute trip from Adelaide Airport, where we will be hosting this workshop.
  • A tailor made workshop designed to accommodate your skill and experience level.
  • A small group limit of 10 photographers.
  • Insightful session with an Independent Midwife.
  • Labour shoot activities with pregnant models, simulating both home birth and birth centre scenarios.
  • Experimenting with various lighting, spatial and environmental conditions common to birthing situations.
  • Post production techniques to reduce the time spent editing so you can spend more time doing what really matters to you!
  • Business Essentials – contracts, plans, marketing, websites, financials.
  • Discussing balance, etiquette, privacy and the impact birth photography has.
  • Morning and afternoon tea along with lunch will be provided.
  • Printed notes will be provided along with an opportunity for one on one time to discuss any outstanding issues or to offer critiquing.
  • Online mentoring for one month after the workshop.

 BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP ACCOMMODATION   |     $80 per night

  • Enjoy the convenience of staying at the workshop venue, along with the social time at the end of the day!
  • The luxury townhouse is fully equipped with linen and towels. There is a spa bath, dining space overlooking the sea, gourmet kitchen, three bathrooms, wifi, laundry facilities and direct access to the beach.
  • Twin share bedrooms are implied otherwise a single room can be arranged for an additional fee.
  • Breakfast provisions included.
  • Airport transfers included.

BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER RETREAT     |     $360

  • Extend your stay following the Birth Photography Workshop or attend the Retreat on its own and enjoy what is sure to be outrageously fun socialising with a group of like-minded birth photography junkies.
  • Various surprise activities to be arranged. Expect to be a little pampered, entertained and perhaps pushed outside your square!
  • 2 night’s accommodation in the luxury townhouse which is fully equipped with linen and towels. There is a spa bath, dining space overlooking the sea, gourmet kitchen, three bathrooms, wifi, laundry facilities and direct access to the beach.
  • Twin share bedrooms are implied otherwise a single room can be arranged for an additional fee.
  • Breakfast & dinner provisions included.
  • Airport transfers included.

BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP + RETREAT    |     $1849

  • Do it all for a saving, and return home rested, revitalised and ready to ramp up your business!
  • Includes luxury townhouse accommodation for up to 5 nights, all meals and activities!
  • Airport transfers included.


N.B. Small babies are welcome at either the retreat or workshop, and portacots can be arranged upon request.

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To register, complete the form below. A $300 (non-refundable) deposit is required to secure your registration and full fee payment is due 9th April 2014. Part payments are accepted. Payment details will be sent to you once your registration has been received.

Terms and Conditions

 Registration and Payment

The $300 deposit is due upon Workshop / Retreat registration and fees must be paid in full by the 9th April 2014 to confirm your place in the workshop. Once deposit payment has been received, you will be sent email confirmation of receipt of your payment. Please contact Victoria directly to arrange part payment options.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Full refunds of all monies paid will be made if a workshop/retreat is cancelled by us, or if the workshop/retreat is re-scheduled and you are unable to attend the new date.

Cancellation by participants must be made in writing. If you cancel your paid booking prior to four (4) weeks of the workshop date, the workshop/retreat cost will be refunded less the deposit.

No refund is available if you cancel within four (4) weeks of the workshop/retreat date. You are entitled to transfer your place at the workshop/retreat, however this is your sole responsibility.

Victoria Berekmeri / Adelaide Birth Photographer is not responsible for any other costs which workshop participants may have incurred including but not limited to car rental, insurance, photographic purchases and/or rentals.

Workshop Schedule and Agenda

All workshop/retreat schedules and plans are subject to change at our discretion depending upon weather, health and safety considerations, or any other factor related or unrelated to photographic opportunities as we see fit.

Limit of Liability

Victoria Berekmeri / Adelaide Birth Photographer accept no liability for death, illness or injury or loss or damage to photo equipment or personal belongings during the course of the workshop/retreat or in transit thereto.

We can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in the services to be provided. We reserve the right to change our arrangements should conditions necessitate, or to cancel any aspect of the workshop due to exceptional circumstances. In the event that we deem it necessary to cancel the workshop/retreat we will provide a full refund, which the participants acknowledge as full and final settlement. In the event of a workshop/retreat cancellation by Victoria Berekmeri / Adelaide Birth Photographer, liability of Victoria Berekmeri / Adelaide Birth Photographer to participants shall be limited to the total value of the workshop/retreat. Neither party shall be liable for indirect or consequential loss.

By registering for the workshop and or retreat by Victoria Berekmeri / Adelaide Birth Photographer, participants acknowledge that they are aware of risks and are physically capable of safely taking part in the workshop. Further, they release Victoria Berekmeri / Adelaide Birth Photographer, guest presenters, workshop assistants and models from any liability. Victoria Berekmeri / Adelaide Birth Photographer, guest presenters, workshop assistants and models will assume no liability for injury, illness or loss of personal property or expenses associated with participation in a workshop.

Your Agreement to this Contract

In reserving a place on the workshop/retreat by paying the deposit fee, you are agreeing to accept all the above conditions. The person who makes the booking does so on behalf of all the individuals included, and all are bound by the booking conditions.