So, for any of you who saw the announcement of the birth of my precious baby girl, Indigo – Those photos were taken by a professional. A Birth Photographer to be exact.
When I first brought up the idea of having a birth photographer in our labour room with friends – there were mixed reactions. I had been so against having anyone else in the room apart from my husband and I, it seemed strange to them that I was wanting to pay for a complete stranger, who had no medical reason to be there, to share in the experience. But that was just it, it was such a special experience, with so much emotion, and drama, and maybe some drugs, that I wanted to make sure it could be captured, not only so that my husband and I could share in them, and that one day, I could share them with my daughter, but also so those who I didn’t want in the room could still share in the experience.
My husband is definitely one of those “take a thousand pictures but all are completely useless” kinda guy. I love him to death, but he is terrible at taking photos… And he knows it. I didn’t want to our only snaps of one of the most important days of our lives to be poorly light, afterthought, blurry images, and more importantly, knowing how much the photos meant to me, I didn’t want my husband worried about taking good photos – I wanted him to be sharing in the experience with me. So, I did some research, and it lead me to meeting with Ashleigh Chambers from Love Leigh Photography, a local birth photographer who works in the Wollongong and Sutherland Shire areas.
Meeting for coffee, I was incredibly nervous. In theory, this was something I really wanted to do, but it was risky. Luckily, Ash is incredibly skilled at making you feel immediately at ease – which considering she specialises in boudoir, birth and baby photography – makes complete sense that she naturally puts people at ease. We agreed that I wasn’t interested in gory pictures that captured the stuff I couldn’t see (although she was happy to oblige if that’s what I wanted) instead, focusing on capturing the special moments of the birth.
Agreeing to be someone’s birth photographer is a pretty big commitment – babies don’t exactly run to a strict schedule, so Ash and I kept in contact about how things were progressing, and when my waters broke, Ashleigh was the only other person, apart from my hubby, to know. Things progressed pretty quickly, and before I knew it, it was time to start pushing. To be honest, I have no memory of Ash arriving, and I don’t remember her taking any pictures until after it was all over. She was completely unobtrusive, but what she captured, we will treasure forever.
The photos are amazing. I’ve looked at them more times than I can count. She’s captured things so many little things that I would have missed, like the look of amazement on my husbands face as she crowned, the look of disgust after she was born as he realised he had all sorts of bodily fluid all over his feet, the look of concentration on his face as he cut the umbilical chord, and the besotted look of love as he got to hold her for the first time. All captured, forever. I have photos of the first time she opened her eyes and looked at me, and the first time get tiny hand grasped my finger, and the look between my husband and I – somewhere between amazement and disbelief – that we had created a little human.
Before our heads had even hit the pillows later that night, Ash had sent through a selection of edited images. All black and white (gory details look much better in black and white) and magic. A couple days later, she dropped into hospital with two disks full of beautiful edited images in a gorgeous gift box. Even the CDs themselves had been customized, with our images printed on them.
I’m not sure I have the words to convey just how much I love our birth photos, they are amazing and I will treasure them forever. If you’re considering having a birth photographer – do it! Do your research, find someone that you are comfortable with, and allow them to capture one of the most important days of your life. And if you are in the Southern Sydney or Illawarra area – I could not recommend Ashleigh Chambers of Love Leigh Photography enough.
Ash, I’ll never be able to thank you enough for capturing Indigo’s birth. Your photos are stunning, you captured so many special moments and looks, I tear up every time I look at them, and I know I will treasure them forever. You absolutely nailed the brief, and my family feel like they have been able to share in the experience of her birth, even though they were not in the room.