Why Birth Photography is For Every Kind of
Hanna Hill Photography | Raleigh Birth Photographer
"Oh that makes sense, that they would want birth photography." This is a comment I get a lot. There is a perception out in the world that there is only one type of mom who could want birth photography. In my experience they are usually a millenial-ish, natural minded, 2nd-3rd time mom or similar. While most of the time I get this comment I simply smile and nod, but I always think of what I wish I could say...
I totally understand why people might think that. It's very easy to believe that since you've never considered birth photography or would never that the woman who could must be the most opposite person you can think of. But honestly that's very rarely the case. I work with a diverse group of women and I'm really passionate about working with all different women coming from completely different perspectives. That's literally what brought me to birth photography in the first place.
As most of you know, I don't have little one's yet so my path to birth photography was not paved with an empowered birth story or even traumatic birth experience. Instead it was paved with the simple passion to tell the stories of women all over the world. I wanted to capture raw, emotive moments that resembled a historical document and art piece all at the same time. During art school all I wanted to talk about with my art was the female experience, who I was, why my mother was and how I wanted to impact other women. I wanted to create art about women but I never knew exactly what that could look like. Until I found birth photography :)
When I found birth photography it was a world opening for me that simply felt right for my soul. I was telling stories in a real documentary way, making a living and meeting all different kinds of women. Maybe that whole rabbit trail feels off topic but I just want to express why it's so important to me that others understand birth photography isn't for just one type of woman.
Birth Photography is the story of all women, their struggle, strength and victory in the creation of life.
Birth Photography is not just for the young social media raised generation. The mom's who can't imagine not having photos of their every move. I think the impulse and desire to bottle up a moment, memory or energy is inside all of us. I've never known anyone who didn't want to remember the moments of joy throughout their life whether they came from my grandmother's generation or mine. Birth photography isn't just about sharing it (while I am a huge advocate for educating with birth photography) it doesn't always have to be about that for moms. Birth photography is a beautiful way to treasure the moment of your little one's birth and the strength and sacrifice of your motherhood.
Birth Photography is not just for the natural minded or hippie moms. This is the one I get a lot. People assume that if you are more open to naturally birthing then you must be more open to birth photography. And honestly while I've gotten to capture a lot of beautiful home and birth center births there are actually a lot more medicated hospital births in my portfolio. Probably because there are just percentage wise more hospital births across the US but also because it doesn't matter what type of birth plan you have, your birth story will be unique and beautiful. The story of your little one being put in your arms for the first time is universal and worth a photograph.
Birth Photography is not just for the "extroverted" or non-conservative moms either. A lot of people think that the only people willing to consider birth photography must be the most immodest people in the world. Willing to have a photographer enter their private space with nudity overflowing. But the reality is that while nudity is a part of birth, it doesn't have to be the focus of the birth photography. I have a lot of women come to me with dreams of birth photography but also boundaries for their own self that they want to keep private. I respect their requests the same way as I respect the clients who want every moment and detail chronicled for them to experience and share.
Birth Photography is not just for the 2nd time or more moms. People say to me all the time "oh well since this is my first I don't really know what it's going to be like or how comfortable I'll be with having a birth photographer there." I totally respect that feeling but you know what, In my experience I've rarely heard someone regret hiring a professional birth photographer. But I have heard countless stories of moms regretting not hiring one. They missed out on having photos from their first birth or even all of their births. I've heard mom's tell stories of how their friend or mom tried to snap a couple photos but they all were dark or blurry when the moments really mattered. Or even that they took a hand full on their phone and then lost that phone in a lake before saving those photos anywhere else.
Birth photography is not just for the predominately white middle class average sized moms. Yeah I said it, and I think it needs to be said more. WOC and women who aren't a size 4 are welcome to the glory that is birth photography. I think the piece of this is about representation in birth photography. Birth photography tends to be a large majority of one type of woman and thats honestly a real travesty in our culture. I think it's important to know that women of all shapes, sizes, colors and cultures are empowered by their birth experience and having it photographed.
Earlier this week I was driving to chipotle to pick up some dinner, Michael Jackson was playing on the radio and I had just left a potential birth client meeting. And I started thinking about the different types of women I've been lucky enough to photograph. I was thinking about how no matter how many births I witness or family's I photograph, they are all very different. And then I had a flash from my meeting about one of the things this potential mom said,
"I once thought I could never hire a birth photographer. That having another person in the room would be weird and that my privacy would feel violated or that I would feel too insecure to look through the photos. But then I had my daughter and my mom tried to take photos but none of them turned out and I realized, birth photography was not about those things anymore. I realized i just simply wanted the record, the moments captured for me. So now I'm here ready to hire a birth photographer for my second"
I am lucky to be apart of telling stories of all different types of women. To capture their strength, vulnerability and joy as they welcome their tiny humans into their arms. My only wish is that with each year even more women feel comfortable being someone who chooses birth photography. Seeing themselves as an empowered birthing mom and wanting to invest in capturing these memories.
If you are in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area and looking for a birth photographer I would LOVE to connect, say hello through my inquiry form!
If you are anywhere else in the world and considering a birth photographer, go check out Birth Photographers.com created by the International Association of birth photographers. They have the most extensive list of professional birth photographers all over! (you'll find me on there too :)