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Happy {Birth}day!

Can you believe The Maternal Lens was born a year ago this week? Time flies when you are chasing your kids around...photographing the world...I mean having fun.
We thought a lovely way to kick off our birthday week was a post about birth photography. It is much different than your standard portrait session. It is photo-journalism at it's finest, capturing a rare and raw moment when a baby enters into this world, taking it's first breath of air. All of the emotions in the room mix together, and it's always, always a magical experience, no matter what type of birth someone is having. Of course, it's not just that much anticipated moment of the baby actually arriving, that needs to be captured. It's beforehand, the waiting, the contractions, the labor, the pushing. And then after baby's arrival, mom and dad's first gaze upon their baby, the joy and excitement and relief. All the things that take place in that first hour or two of life. Baby's first bath, first meal, lots of snuggles and kisses.
Both Sarah and I absolutely love birth, giving birth and photographing births. Sarah was at the birth of my last baby, Charlie to document the event, and is planning on being at my next birth coming up here in a few weeks. We both jump at the opportunity to be able to capture a baby's entry into this world. These are a few photos taken at births we have attended in the last few years, posted with permission from the mother's who were giving birth.

{The Birth of Baby B}

{The Birth of Baby E}

A birth slideshow


  1. love the pictures! great job. i had jeremy take mine.. and my mom took a few for me. surprisingly they managed to get them mostly in focus and bounce the light good enough to make it work

  2. these brought tears to my eyes....wish i had documented my first child!!!

  3. These are the sweetest pictures! Those special moments surrounding a baby's arrival are so very precious.

  4. I'm so glad you wrote about this. I actually posted a discussion on The Maternal Lens Flickr page asking for any insight on birth photography. This September I will be photographing my sister-in-law when she gives birth to my niece or nephew. I'm extremely honored to be chosen to be a part of the birthing process and to be one of the first ones to welcome my niece or nephew into this world. As you can see, I'm extremely excited! I have many questions about the process. Would you suggest leaving the flash at home and using a "fast" lens? I'm working on upgrading to one. I shoot with Canon, what would be your first choice? How soon did you arrive after the mothers went into labor? See...lots of questions! :)

    Btw, I enjoy reading this blog and all the different photography view points. Oh yeah...happy birthday :)


  5. Absolutely Beautiful, captivating and breathtaking. Thanks for sending this baby hungry mother of 3 into tears :) I NEED ANOTHER ONE!!!!!!!!! D:

  6. Letitia,
    I've always shot using a fast prime lens. I think these were both taken with the 50mm f1.4, but it wouldn't hurt to bring an external flash that could be bounced if need be. Both of these births I was there for about an hour or 45 minutes before the baby came out. This was their third child in both cases, so things progressed pretty quickly after they were 7+ cm dilated. There wasn't a whole lot of pushing going on, it wasn't hours of pushing, in both cases just a few pushes. I'd say at birth photography, arrive when mom is in active labor, no longer able to talk through contractions.

  7. Thank you so much Megan. This information helps me tremendously!

  8. Anonymous3/09/2010

    I am so thrilled you posted these pictures. You capture the most precious moments and leave us all speechless. Thank you for being such a talented photographer. Your heart shows, through your photos! ~Heather

  9. These photos are just amazing! They perfectly capture the precious moment for them to always look back on and smile.

  10. Aww this just amped up my baby fever even more! I wish I would've had these moments captured! How beautiful!

  11. I agree with Megan, Letitia. A fast lens is your best bet...sometimes you really have to bump up that iso too. A flash you can bounce around just in case is always a good idea to have on hand also. :o)

  12. Thank you, Sarah. My issue with an ISO higher than 400 is softness. I shoot with a Canon Rebel Xti, a great camera but I get too much noise at ISO's higher than 400. At least too much for my liking. However, I haven't tried higher ISO with the 50 f1.4. I will have to give it a test run and see. It would be a dream to be able to upgrade my camera body! I'm working on it! Thank you so much for your advice ladies, I really appreciate it. :)


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