A lot of people have had their birth plans completely upended by COVID-19. Birthing people are without their birth support team and some are even doing this without their partners. My heart goes out to anyone affected by this situation. The good news is, people are definitely adapting and getting creative. I know many doulas that are offering virtual support and a few midwives that are accepting more home birth clients. If you need any help finding someone, please let me know! I’m happy to make recommendations and point you in the right direction.
As far as birth photography, just because your birth photographer can’t be with you during your delivery doesn’t mean you can’t have some amazing photos of your experience! I’m going to lay out a few things that might help your partner snap some great pictures.
- If you have a photo editing program (ie-Lightroom or Photoshop) or intend to hire someone to edit the photos for you, and ONLY IF, shoot in RAW instead of JPEG when using your DSLR camera. RAW files are unprocessed and uncompressed & give the photographer more freedom when it comes to post-processing. Think of it like taking a negative to the dark room and tweaking it the way you like.
JPEGs, on the other hand, are compressed and processed in-camera-kind of like a Polaroid. There are many advantages to this. The files are much smaller and are compatible with pretty much everything. So you could, if you wanted, put your media card right into your computer and share the files with no fiddling around at all.
- If you know your way around a camera and are comfortable shooting in Manual or “M” mode, I recommend these settings as a starting point:
Shutter speed: 1/250 ISO:4000 Aperture: f/4.5
If you want to learn more about camera exposure and camera settings, check this out: https://digital-photography-school.com/new-photographers-guide-camera-settings/
Otherwise, shooting in your camera’s automatic mode or on your phone will work in a pinch! Just remember to try and keep your hand steady.
- Take pictures of everything. Honestly. Even pictures you think you don’t want to see, you might want to see it later. It can be extremely difficult to capture pictures of the baby emerging for a lot of reasons but you can always try! Just be sure not to interfere with the staff doing their thing. Video may be also be preferable to photography when it comes to the actual moment of birth. So, maybe start a video on your phone instead or better yet—Enjoy the moment—It’s pretty amazing!
- When you’re taking a picture, try to imagine what you want the final picture to look like. What exactly are you trying to capture? Have a specific subject in mind before you click!
- Detail shots! Take pictures of the hospital, your room number, baby’s feet, hands & footprints, the bassinet.
- Try different angles and vantage points. Stand on chairs or benches (WITH SAFETY IN MIND ALWAYS!). It’s fun to get creative with a camera.
- Capture real, un-posed moments. Of course, you’re going to want a few posed pictures thrown in there but the real magic is in the natural shots when no one knows the camera is pointed at them.
- Get a lot of pictures during the baby’s first exam. Their faces and bodies are so expressive here. You can almost see their little personalities emerging.
- Finally, and most importantly, put the camera down and snuggle them. Enjoy those newborn baby coos.
And remember, I’ll definitely be around in the fall/winter when all these quarantine babies are being born. ; )
Melissa Suarez Photography specializes in birth and documentary family photography in Southern Maryland-serving Annapolis, Baltimore and the Washington DC area.