If you're looking for some answers regarding your upcoming session, or birth photography & family documentary sessions in general, you are in the right spot! If you cannot find the answer to your question here, please don't hesitate to contact me! I would be glad to answer any questions you have!
What on earth is "Family Documentary"?
Family Documentary photography is exactly what it sounds like. You hear of news photojournalists and street photographers documenting things as they are, from their perspective. My goal when using a photojournalistic approach with your family is to capture the essence of WHO you really are, as a unit as well as individuals at this particular stage in your journey. To capture true family connections and to create images that will trigger memories for you. Images that will grab your soul and bring you back in time.
What is the difference between lifestyle and documentary/storytelling?
When you hear of lifestyle photography, you think of family portraits that are more laid back than your typical formal portrait. There will likely be some guidance from your photographer on where to sit, how to position yourselves and what to do to create the image you and your photographer want. It will happen in a predetermined location, with you all possibly in coordinated outfits, and it will take place at a specific time so you have the prettiest light, and the best backdrops to work with.
With documentary photography, there is none of this. There's no posing. There's no "re-do's". There's no staging. It's all about comfortable, genuine moments that happen organically in your own home. These images will tell the story of who you are as a family. There's no pressure to behave a certain way or dress a certain way. There's no fancy (and let's be honest, a little intimidating) studio lights. These types of sessions are all about your story and capturing your most honest and truest selves, in your own environment.
Let's be real here for a moment, shall we? I'm not here to convince you that one is better than the other. They are both equally amazing photography experiences in their own right. It's like comparing apples and oranges... sure they're both fruit, and they both grow on trees.... but that's about all they have in common. But that doesn't mean they aren't both tasty! You have to decide for yourself which appeals most to you at this stage in your life!
All the photos hanging in my home are posed. Can I even hang candid photos on my walls...?
The short answer..... ABSOLUTELY! My own walls are covered with the real moments of our lives, and I've had many a past client from both documentary sessions as well as lifestyle sessions tell me that the candid moments always make it onto their walls because those are the ones that pull them in. Those are the images they can most relate to.
We are soooooo boring. You would have nothing to photograph!
So you think! I have yet to encounter a "boring" family. Your day may feel or seem boring to you, because you live it every. single. day. Sometimes all it takes is an outside perspective to remind you that your unique story is perfect and beautiful simply because it's yours. And remember, I will likely see things that you might miss on a daily basis... not because you're not watching for them, but because (as mentioned before) sometimes it takes an outside perspective.
My house is messy. There's no way I'd want a session here.
Messy-shmessy. Bah. My house is rarely, if ever immaculate. Can you tell in most of my personal work? Nope. Because there are ways to document to draw a viewers focus a certain way. And if someone does happen to notice the basket of unfolded laundry beside the sofa or the dust bunnies in the corner? So what. It's easy to forget how chaotic life with small humans can be. It's all part of your story right now.
Maybe we'll have a session once my house is organized/I lose 10lbs/my baby can walk/my kid grows some hair/*insert random honest hesitation or worry here*.....
All I will say on this point is that the days feel long, but the years are short.... this part of your journey will be over before you know it. Don't put it off.... I can also say with 100% certainty that your kids won't care whether or not you lost that 10lbs... what they will care about is that there are photos of them with their parents, living and loving.
You talk a lot about kids and families... Can I have a session like this if I don't have kids? What if it's just my partner and I?
Heck yea you can! These kinds of sessions generally appeal to young families most, however if you want to document you and your partners story, as you are right now... whether it will always be just the 2 of you, or you want to paint a picture of your life before you have kids, or you want to celebrate your love now that your nest is empty, these sessions are for anyone!
Why would anyone want photos of THAT??
Every time I tell someone I'm a birth photographer, that's the reaction I get. To a T. You do what?? See, most people don't understand what I do. They don't get that it's not about the crotch shot. It's not about the physical moment a baby enters the world. It's a love story. It's documenting a couples journey into parenthood. The strength and determination it takes to bring forth new life. The unyielding support of a loving partner. The pure unadulterated joy when you see your baby's face for the first time, or she latches to nurse the first time... the first time your partner hold him and you fall even more in love with them than before...
I've got a good camera. I'll just get my husband/partner/mom/friend to take a the photos... (not a question, but here is something to consider)
It takes more than a good camera to document a birth story... besides, wouldn't you rather your support team be just that? Let them be by your side on this crazy intense journey. Tell them to put the camera down and be PART of your story.
I don't want my vagina on the internet!
Me neither, don't worry. I had a birth photographer present for the births of my own 2 children, so I get that. I think vaginas are cool and birth is amazing and women's bodies are incredible, but I don't share sensitive photos online anywhere, and if there happens to be one that I'm head over heels for and really want to share, I will ALWAYS get the ok from you first. Always.
Do you use a flash? Will it bother me?
I use flash as little as possible but sometimes it's needed. I've always been a fan of natural light, however with birth stories, to make sure I capture those moments perfectly for you, I will sometimes need to use my flash. Photography needs light. If your birth space is brightly lit or in a room full of windows, no worries. But it if happens at night, or if you're in a room lit only by candles I will need to use a flash to get quality images. I have yet to have a client complain about it and from my own personal experience, I honestly don't even remember it and my own birth photographer used flash the whole time. And hey, guess what.... if I'm using it and it's bothering you, give me "the look" and I'll turn that bad boy off.
What if things don't go as planned? What if I end up with a c-section?
Sometimes things don't go as planned, in the world of birth that's no secret. If plans change, then we go with the flow. If you end up needing a c-section, you or your partner will need to advocate for my presence. It's rare that a photographer is allowed into the operating room in Winnipeg, but I'm hopeful that will change in the future. In the case that I am not allowed in, I will send my camera in with your support person and I will meet up with you again in recovery to document your first hours as a new family!
I'm having a scheduled C-section... can I get a discount?
Birth doesn't always go as planned, and scheduled C-sections aren't always set in stone. Your baby may have other plans and decide to come a week ahead of your scheduled section date. Your section may be pushed back because the hospitals are full or there was an emergency. There are no certainties with birth and this is why I cannot offer discounts for scheduled c-sections.
Why is it so EXPENSIVE?
There are so many factors to consider here... but one of the best ways I've heard it explained is like this:
"take a wedding for example. You hire your wedding photographer, but you're not going to give them a date, just a 5 week window of when it may happen... you're also not going to give them a start time. Maybe 11am, maybe 2am. You're also not going to tell them how many hours you need them for... maybe 4, maybe 30... we'll let you know when you get here..."
I got into birth photography because I love it. It is the most magical and amazing thing in the universe to be asked to be present for and document someone's first breath, but there is a lot that goes into it. The equipment, the childcare, the on call life. Not to mention the time after your birth story to edit and put your story together so that it flows just right. It is most certainly an investment, but it's one worth making. And if you need or want to, we can custom build a payment plan together to make it a more achievable investment.
Will it cost more if my labour ends up being super long?
Absolutely not. Babies come in their own time and no matter how long that takes, I'll be with you. Your investment won't change.
How far in advance should I book?
Most families contact me as soon as they find out they're expecting. I highly recommend getting in touch as soon as possible as I only take on a limited number of due dates per year.
I'm meeting with a few potential birth photographers.... how do I choose??
I always recommend meeting with potential photographers in person before making your final decision. Your comfort level in your birth space is of the utmost importance, and you want to make sure whom ever you hire to be present with you is someone you are completely comfortable with.
Do you offer Doula services as well?
At this time, I do not offer doula services. It is something that I am looking into and learning about for the future though, so check back!