Birth Stories. It's my love, it's my passion, in fact it's all I shoot these days. For those of you interested, either to shoot or just plain interest, here are my top 3 tips when shooting a birth story.
Know how to shoot in low light situations:
In the hospital at 2 am with only a dim light while your client is pushing out a brand new baby boy is not the time for you to be learning how to photograph in low-light situations. You could be photographing at noon with a wide beautiful window or it could be 4am and you are in a home with nothing but a few lamps surrounding you. Regarless of what time it is or where you are you need to know what you are doing and how to produce consistent results in your work. So practice practice practice, and please, before you walk into the labor and delivery suite.
Be nice to the staff and stay out of their way
The hospital staff can make or break your experience, what shots you do or don't get, and whether you get free drinks and snacks, (or even whether you get an open hospital bed to lay down on during a 50 hr birth.) So, BE THIER FRIEND! Introduce yourself to the staff upon arrival, let them know you will be staying out of their way, and ask them if they are comfortable with you photographing them throughout the event. Be nice to them and they'll be nice back.
Be comfortable with birth
If you don't like blood or sights and smells possibly associated with birth, if you don't like watching people in pain, or if you don't like possible tense situations... this is not something you should try photographing. If you haven't had your own child or haven't experienced watching a birth I highly reccomend educating yourself about the process before volenteering to photograph one. Watch a video, take a class, and read some books. I promise, you will thank me!
Photographing births is a truly rewarding profession. If you are interested in the idea I encourage you to seak out chances to educate yourself about the experience as well as any chances you have to document them. If you would like more tips to photographing births you can sign up for my free weekly emails that go out to photographer's like yourself! Sign up here!