The Importance of Birth Photography

Eleanor R.

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Today’s guest post is by Reset attendee Julie Paszczykowski of JP Photography based in Toledo, Ohio. Julie specializes in weddings, engagements, lifestyle families, and birth photography! We’re focusing on the birth stories today and why Julie finds them so important to tell.

The very first image I ever took at a birth was that of our third child. I told my husband to take some photos of him when he first came out, nothing “gross” I said, I just wanted some of his first breaths, cord still attached, FRESH earthside. I didn’t know why — I just knew it was important to me.
My husband Brian snapped two photos and was in such awe of watching our son being born that he stopped. I quickly asked him to “give me the camera ” and I took an image of the doctor holding Gavin up, totally backlit by the bright light they use, my left foot in the image, and I didn’t care. It was the most amazing image I had ever seen. (even though it’s technically terrible, it’s beautiful to ME as a mama!)

About 10 years later I got to photograph the birth of my great-niece and the experience was breathtaking. By then I had four of my own children, and I had gotten to witness two others being born. But capturing that life was a newfound passion. I had never heard of birth photography and so began my quest to bring it to the area.

Since then, almost 16 years ago, I’ve been blessed to photograph hundreds of little babes entering into this world. Being able to provide images during a time that is unpredictable is a treasure to my clients and the testimonies I get make it all worthwhile!

“Hello Julie, 

I just wanted to thank you again for all that you have done. Emotionally it is so hard for me to accept the fact that this chapter of my life is over having children. Having you there to capture every moment means more than words could even express. Looking back at our first meeting puts a smile on my face sometimes when you meet people especially new people you’re unsure how it is going to go. Are you going to like them? Will you hit it off? Will you feel comfortable enough to have this “stranger” in the room with you at your most vulnerable moment? Will you be ok showing your emotion and having this complete stranger in the room with you taking pictures of your last child?

Honestly from the moment I walked into your studio it felt like home instantly felt relaxed but anxious to talk to you and the more we talked it wasn’t like I was talking to a stranger it was like I was talking to a friend that I’ve known for years! I also wanted to thank you for the experience throughout my pregnancy having your support and being able to text or call you at any time having your support and tips to help me through stages of my pregnancy.

Now my about my boy Waylon! I don’t think I could thank you enough for the support you gave me while I was in labor helping breathe through my contractions slowing me down when I needed to once again giving me tips and suggestions on what could help me through a contraction talking to my husband who sometimes doesn’t know what to do while I’m in labor. You walked through those doors and instantly gave off that motherly vibe that most women need when they are in labor that claiming, and compassionate feeling! I will forever be thankful for that experience!

Now my pictures… they are absolutely breathtaking! I love each and every one! The beauty that you have grabbed in every picture is undescribable you did not miss anything! Along with my Fresh Baby picture having four kids can be a task especially when you’re five days postpartum having hot flashes, trying to make sure your kids are on best behavior (ha-ha) once again you were amazing redirecting my kids in ways I can’t! Capturing every moment throughout the studio with the chaos ensuring me that everything is OK that the kids are being fine they’re just being kids..all the things us moms need to hear sometimes and for that I am forever thankful for all that you have done! You are absolutely amazing Julie! “
Erica

*Cue the tears from me!*

WHY hire a birth photographer? I truly believe that in the next 5-10 years having your birth documented will be just as desired as having your wedding photographed. I know it seems pretty new still in some areas, but I promise it is growing quickly. Think about all the things you missed on your wedding day. The birth of your child can also be a whirlwind and those images will be yours to cherish forever.

The thing to remember is, as with hiring a photographer for ANY important event that cannot be “done over,” is to hire an EXPERIENCED birth photographer. You’ll want someone who is well versed with hospital / birthing center policy, has a good relationship with medical staff, is respectful of a birth space, knows how to handle difficult lighting situations such as a super dark room if that’s how mama chooses to labor, or a super bright light that the medical staff turns on at the last minute. A true birth photographer is willing and able to live the On-Call life, being available from 38-42 weeks minimum for a client, able to take phone calls in the middle of the night and be gone from their family for any given amount of time, sometimes on holidays or other special occasions. Birth photography is not for the faint at heart! It’s an up and down roller coaster, but if you love the ride it will show in your work!

For me, being a birth photographer is not just a job. I can truly say it’s a passion. Every time I am invited into a birth space it’s an honor. 

You can find Julie and JP Photography on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re still trying to figure out which genre you want to specialize in, be sure to attend our next Reset Conference here.

Eleanor R.
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