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Frequently Asked Questions

Fresh Houston Birth Photography

How did you become interested in birth photography?

My own birth experiences have taught me so much about birth and instilled a love for the process and transformation that birth brings to a family. My own birth photographer, Lesley Mason, really inspired in my importance of capturing the birth journey. Because the most important part of pregnancy and birth is the arrival of a healthy baby, our society sometimes overlooks the importance of our birth experience, itself, and the impact it has to shape our lives as women and mothers. As Moms, we so quickly have to shift into our new role as parent that it can be difficult to fully process our birth experiences and faster than we can blink, the memories have blurred, faded and slipped away.  No matter your birth experience, birth photography captures the story of your birth experience, beginning to end.   Under the best of circumstances, birth photography brings that experience to life forever. I believe that birth is a transformative experience and under the most challenging of circumstances, birth photography helps woman to heal and find beauty in their birth experience.

What is your past experience with photography during your own births?

I had my first child 15 years ago. I was treated badly, pushed around, I had little support and no photos to carry away from the birth of my very first child. My second child, born in a birth center, was captured with photos and video that I cherish to this day. His birth was so fast, the memories are so sparse and truly only kept alive through the few photos I have. My third birth, at home in the water, was attended by a professional photographer who captured the entire labor, birth and post-partum experience in amazing detail. My birth album from that birth is one of my most cherished possessions. It was not an easy birth, it was longer than expected and challenging. I love that the photos share the full story from easy beginning to challenging middle to glorious end. Since then I’ve felt passionately that every birth should be a beautiful birth and the beauty of birth can been seen even in difficult, long or births with unexpected complications. Sometimes it takes an outside eye to see what you are too close to see and create those memories for you.

When should I book my birth photographer?

Please note that I generally limit births to 2-3 per month in order to ensure availability. It is best to book early during your second trimester although it is never too late to contact me and inquire about availability.

In which areas of Houston do you work?

At this time, I mostly attend home, birth center and hospital births that occur in the north part of Harris county or southern Montgomery county. There are exceptions based on my availability so please inquire! If you are planning a birth in other areas of Houston, I’m happy to recommend a more local birth photographer to attend your birth!

I live out of the Houston area/state. Will you attend out-of-area births?

In certain circumstances, I may be available for commission. Travel and accommodation fees are negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Contact me for more details.

I’m considering hiring you. What are the steps involved?

If you are considering hiring me, you should first inquire as to my availability as I am often booked several months in advance.  If you have any questions about the services that I provide, now is a great time to get clarification on anything you might be curious about.

Once you’ve contacted me to express your interest, I will hold your spot on my calendar for 7 days. If you think you want to secure my services, $300 is required within those 7  days to secure your spot in my schedule. You can retain your spot here.

After your session is secured,  I’ll send you a link with an online questionnaire that will help you think through your expectations and hopes. I’ll also send a link to my digital contract for you to sign.

As you approach your 36th week, we’ll meet up for coffee or tea to discuss all of the details and answer any remaining questions you might have. Homebirth consults are done in your home so we can walk through rooms and discuss light and space.

The remainder of your session fee is due by your 36th week of pregnancy. My policy is not to attend a birth that is not paid in full at the time of labor.

Do you offer maternity or newborn photography too?

I am focusing solely on birth photography and breastfeeding sessions at this time. I do offer a “right after birth” session called a Fresh 48. I am happy to recommend an awesome maternity or newborn photographer in your area, however!

Do you provide labor support, sibling support or other birth services?

I highly encourage all of my client families to invest in quality childbirth education classes and the services of a birth doula as I’ve seen that these services greatly improve the overall birth experience for all family members present. I do not offer other birth services however I have worked with many area birth professionals and I’m happy to offer some recommendations upon request.

Can’t my husband/doula/nurse just take pictures?

Parents often assume the role of ad hoc photographer at their child’s birth. But without the proper training and experience, the images often are over- or under- exposed, blurry, grainy and shot at less than flattering angles.  Most importantly, everyone present at a birth already has a very vital roll:  your partner will need to support you and will want to be included in the photographic memories of the birth journey, your doula should be focused 100% on supporting your birth but when a doula is behind a camera, she is no longer supporting you! And a nurse is often busy, ill-experienced and definitely juggling multiple patients so shouldn’t be relied on to create the photographic memories from your birth! For every one family who hires a birth photographer there are 50 more who tearfully relay that their one big regret was NOT hiring a birth photographer.

Do you use flash photography during birth?

I shoot with natural and available light.  I bring a flash to every birth in case it is needed but as a rule I do not use a flash for birth photography as the flash is harsh, interfering and disruptive to both a laboring Mom and her medical team as well as the newborn. I have found over time that a constant light source is often much less invasive and more tolerable.

How many images can I expect?

Typically at least 150 images are offered from your birth journey. This number is not a guarantee however. It may be less if your birth is very quick, very dark or you can’t tolerate my presence or the sound of the camera shutter as much. Often it’s more!

Do you edit every image?

Yes, every image is hand-edited!

Do you shoot in color or black and white?

Birth photography is typically shot in black and white. This portrays a more emotionally true experience  and minimizes  distracting elements such as blood, shiny or harsh medical equipment, etc. It softens the image and allows the central focus to be on the new family.  I do include some color photos in your final proofs, at my discretion. These would typically be images of your newborn.

When should we call you?

You should call when it feels right to you. This will usually be when you are in active labor as confirmed by your doula, midwife or doctor. However documenting your entire journey is important so it’s better to err on the side of early than late. The further a Mom is in her labor, the more she will want to rest, lay in darkness and labor uninterrupted so photography becomes difficult. Every client is given a set of calling cards to keep on hand that cover when and where to call.

What if my birth is really really long?

Birth is unpredictable. I’m in it for the long haul! I may take lots of breaks or even go home to rest if the situation warrants it. But once I start documenting a birth journey, I continue documenting until the journey is complete! Beware any photographer with time constraints or hourly fees built into their birth session fee!

What if I require a Cesarean birth?

If you require an otherwise unplanned Cesarean birth, I strongly recommend that I follow you into the operating room to photograph those beautiful moments, if at all possible. Ultimately the decision on whether I am allowed to photograph your Cesarean birth is up to the Anesthesiologist and Obstetrician. I can advocate for my presence but no one can advocate better than you!  Sometimes it is allowed in whole or part. Sometimes it isn’t. To date, I have always been allowed into the operating room. We will discuss this possibility during your pre-birth consultation.

What if I schedule a Cesarean birth?

I am happy to attend a scheduled Cesarean birth and highly recommend birth photography in these situations!  It is typically easier to pre-arrange for my presence with your doctor and hospital with a scheduled Cesarean. I am happy to give tips on photography-friendly and mother-baby-friendly hospitals for Cesarean births upon request.

What if you get sick or otherwise can’t make it to my birth?

While I do not get close to you or your baby in the way a doula, nurse or midwife will, I still strongly believe that the birth environment must stay free of contagious germs for the safety and well-being of Mom and Baby. So if I am actively ill (new cough or cold, fever, stomach virus, etc) or facing a personal emergency I will turn to my back-up photographer to take over your contract and fill in for me.  In the extremely unlikely event that neither myself nor my backup photographer are able to make your birth, your fee would be refunded minus my retainer.While it’s important to me to have a back-up photographer available for my clients, please know that, to date, I have never had to miss a birth due to fault of my own and don’t plan to miss any births in the future!

If I am unable to attend your birth due to no fault of my own (ie I was not given proper advance notice or was not called in time, the birth was very quick, the hospital refused me admittance, etc) your birth fee is non-refundable. A Fresh 48 session will be substituted.

Are you going to post my pictures on the Internet?

Only discrete images are shared, with permission, on Facebook and on the blog. Beautiful birth images are often what inspire my clients to contact me so I encourage all clients to share what they are comfortable with so others can be equally inspired by your journey!

Occasionally, with permission, I may also make a photo slideshow set to music for marketing purposes. If I create a slideshow such as this, I will offer you a copy free of charge.  I encourage all potential clients to peruse my blog and youtube so they can understand what type of images to expect.  I will never use images of a sensitive nature without your express permission.  And even with your express permission, it is in my business’ best interest that my marketing  and advertising efforts remain PG-rated!

If you absolutely do not want your images used online in any way, I do offer a privacy option. Please inquire or check your contract for further details.

Do you offer gift certificates?

Yes I do. Gift certificates can be purchased here and used toward birth photography, a future newborn or child session as well as prints and products from past sessions.

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