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Birth Photography FAQ's


Why did you become a birth photographer?

The moment I gave birth to my son Maddox my world changed. I knew after that amazing experience that I never wanted to forget what the moment looked like after working so hard with my partner and my doula to labor my extra cozy little babe earthside and into my arms.

These powerful moments were when I was both at my lowest and my highest. I was so tired, I was so strong. The moment was RAW and there was nothing I could do except trust. Trust that my body would work in ways it never had and trust that my baby was going to come out.

After my birth experience I realized that my birth team was the biggest reason I was so successful in keeping to my plan and feeling successful. I felt like I had done the hardest thing I would ever do, and I wanted to process it more. But I didn’t have any photos to look at and no way to see my strength or the way my partner was working with me. I had nothing to look back on.

It was then I realized that I wanted that to be different and I knew that I could hold energy and love in a birth space in a way that is unique and that I am able to capture that raw personal moment for other mamas to be able to process and see their strength.

How long have you been a photographer and how long have you been photographing births specifically?

I have been a professional photographer since 2009 and have been photographing births since 2013. I have photographed over 180 families bringing their babies into the world.

Light during LaborHow do you navigate low light situations? Do you use flash? Are you able to continue taking pictures if the flash is bothering me during labor?

Low light is my friend, we know each other very well. Honestly, lighting is different for every birth. When possible I stick with natural light and if its too dark, I have found that many of my families prefer the look of images with a bounced flash. Meaning that I point the flash directly up to the ceiling or wall at a low setting and never directly toward you.

If the flash is bothering you, I have no problem working with no flash, my cameras are of the highest quality and you will have your story still beautifully told no matter the situation.

When do you come during labor? And how long do you stay after labor?

I ask you to call me first when you are in early labor so that I can pick up my gear and then we will keep communicating, keeping me updated into active labor. We can talk more about what that might look like, but typically I come to you when you are no longer speaking through contractions and into what I like to call Labor-Land, when your contractions have picked up in intensity and you have to focus to get through them.

And then I pack up after your baby has their newborn exam and have some sweet loving skin to skin time.

What do you do in the event that labor lasts for a long time?

In the event that you pull the long labor card, I will be there! I have slept in different homes and hospital floors/waiting rooms... If needed, I have a few back-up birth photographers in place for all my births and I will talk more about her later.

What is your presence like in the birth space? Are you chatty? Are you quiet and unobtrusive?

It is SO important to have someone who understands how scared a birth space is. I am a quiet and peaceful person by nature so this part comes easy for me. I am very intuitive and if you or your partner need a word of affirmation I will send you some, but for the most part I am absolutely peaceful and out of the way. The birth workers that I work with the most call me a birth ninja.

Do you offer video as well as photos? How do you prioritize when to take video vs still images?

Yes! I capture video during all of my births. I feel strongly that it helps to fill in the story and give you a chance to hear and see your strength as you move and navigate your labor and birth. My priority is honestly on what you prefer, but as an experienced birth photographer I am able to make sure that I capture your birth story in the most artistic and beautiful way possible.

What happens if you are sick, traveling or otherwise unavailable to come to my birth when I call?

Birth is never “typical” and is often unexpected. But here is where I get to brag on my good friends who are my back up photographers. The women I rely on have been in the birth business for many years and we run our businesses so that we can back each other up. I call them when I go to a birth and always have someone in place if I am planning to be out of town even for 8 hours. They are there to step in if you were to go into labor earlier than expected and I am unable to come and I do the same for them. If I am held up in traffic and can’t get to you quickly enough, or at another birth, or sick one of them will come in my stead and covers that time until I can get there. After your birth, they give me all the photographs and video clips they took and I edit them and present them to you just like we would have done if I was there the entire time.

Loving and Powerful Birth Photography What types of births have you photographed?

I have photographed all types of births! Hospital birth, home birth, birth center births, inductions, natural birth, scheduled cesarean, transferred home birth to hospital. All of it. What ever you are planning or not planning, I am all in and invested in telling the unique story of how your birth story unfolds.

What types of birth do you most often photograph?

I don’t actually have a type of birth that is most often, but I do have several people that I work with very often. I am the photographer for The Doula Circle and that team of doulas are the real deal. If you are still building your birth team, these women are a group you must meet. Please take a look at my article Articles - Birth Options in Colorado Springs to see a list of amazing birth providers in town.

What happens if I have an unexpected cesarean?

You call me! I am on call for you and sometimes the unexpected happens. Sometimes I am not allowed in the OR (this depends on a lot of factors that we will talk about), but I will be there to document the before and after and will give the person supporting you the opportunity to take my camera in.

When do we call you to come? Have you ever missed a birth and what is your process if that happens?

This is a great question and one I am asked all the time. I talked a little about this earlier, but I ask that I am notified when you feel like you are in early labor so I can prepare- I need at least two hours, to get my kids taken care of and me to you safely. After a first notification I am ready once your birth picks up into active labor. This is something we determine together and or with the assistance of your birth workers.

Birth is a tricky business and yet missing birth is rare! If it happens I will come as soon as I can be there and will hang out with you and your family for a few hours to get all those sweet moments right after birth.

Are you ready to meet? Let's Chat!

Birth and Family Portrait Photographer in Colorado Springs | kate@katecarltonphotography.com