The process of taking birth pictures should begin before the mother's due date. In fact, most families like to start taking photos long before labor even begins.
Birth Is a Process
Birth is only one small step in the process of making a baby. The pregnancy is just as important as the actual birth. Therefore, for the birth pictures to truly tell the story, picture taking should begin at home while you have your family around you. It should include shots of the nursery preparations, packing for the trip to the hospital, prenatal visits, and even pictures of both mom and dad talking to the baby's siblings about the new addition.
Do Your Prep Work
When you first get to the hospital, take a few practice shots in the delivery room before mom's labor really progresses. Previewing them will let you see how to adjust your camera settings for the best results. Shooting under hospital lights may create a less than perfect setting, but experimenting with your flash and lighting options will help you create the best possible images.
The Big Day
When labor begins, there are two things to consider before snapping the first photo--the mom's comfort level and the hospital policies. Although it's a momentous occasion, not all women are comfortable having their pictures taken during the throes of labor. Moms should discuss their wishes ahead of time with the designated photographer, but keep in mind that these wishes may change once contractions start. Open communication is important to make sure that mom's boundaries aren't crossed.
The hospital or birthing center will also have their own set of rules about what can and can't be photographed. Usually, the facility will request that staff members not be photographed and that families avoid using any tripods or extra cords during the delivery process. Different policies may be in effect for C-section deliveries, so check with your birthing center for details.
To make sure that you get perfect photos, consider snapping shots of these moments:
- Cutting the cord. If dad or another family member is cutting the cord, this can make a great photo.
- New family meetings. Anytime a family member meets the baby, snap away. That includes siblings, grandparents, god parents, and anyone else who is invited into the labor and delivery room.
- Little fingers and toes. The baby will only get bigger during the weeks that follow, so close ups of those tiny body parts will be treasured. When the baby grows up, he'll love seeing those first images of how small he was.
- The weigh in. An image of the baby on the scale, especially if you can capture the digital readout of the weight, will make a nice keepsake.
- Leaving the hospital. Since most parents have a special "going home" outfit for their infant, this is a nice moment to capture that reflects the personality of the family.
Take More than You Need
In this age of digital cameras, you don't have to worry about whether or not you got the perfect shot. Editing software can clean up some mistakes like too much brightness or color imbalance. This frees you up to spend more time enjoying the moment and less time worrying about how the lighting is.
If you are worried about how your photos will turn out, just keep shooting. You're better off having five or six photos of the same thing so you can delete the bad ones rather than stressing about getting the perfect shot the first time.
It is easier than ever to share your birth pictures within hours of the birth. Places like Walgreens let you upload your pictures, then email friends and family that the pictures are available. Even if you friends and family do not have a computer, they can visit their local Walgreens and order prints, which can be ready in as little as an hour.
Capturing the Moment
Whether you are an expert photographer or are just trying to get a great shot for your family, make sure you are familiar with your camera and all of its functions before the big day. You don't want to interrupt those once-in-a-lifetime moments by struggling with your camera when you could be taking prized photos.