***I AM NO LONGER TAKING BIRTH BOOKINGS UNTIL LOCKDOWN HAS LIFTED***
So why do families hire a birth photographer? Picture this - your mum is flying the whole way from the USA, and she will be present during the birth of your first child; your partner has just got back from a few months of working away from home; these two very important people are part of your ‘birth story’, as well as the rest of your birth team. You pass your partner the camera and tell him to photograph snippets of the birth, but he forgets because he is so captivated in supporting you and working together with your ‘birth team’ to ensure you have the most positive birthing experience. You so wanted these images to treasure, and to help piece together the labour, delivery and postpartum of this new life. But your partner and mother’s infinite support meant so much more. That's where I come in - as a birth photographer! I am fully supportive of your birthing choices, as every mother’s experience with birth is personal and unique, and this is your story.
This is one of the main reasons that many parents-to-be hire a professional birth photographer - so that their family and midwives can be part of your beautiful baby's entrance into the world, and not just be the one behind the camera. To reassure you, we'll chat about what you are and are not comfortable with me photographing during your birth story. I am like a fly on the wall, unless otherwise asked before, during and after birth - at my very first birth, the oldest was getting lonely and wanted to hug Mum, especially close to her little brother being born. I stepped in, chatted with Little ‘E’, played with her and her wooden bus and gently ease her in, so that she could still be part of the story . It wasn’t until a few months afterwards, that Mum reached out and thanked me for being such a great help with little ‘E’ and it really helped during birth. Each of the families that have hired me as their birth photographer, haven’t had any regrets, apart from not having a birth photographer present before now.
So will you be right up in between my legs the whole time?
Unless you have specified to me that you want me there, I will never be there! Birth is about having your baby, in the way that you want. I am there to document the quieter moments, those whispers and smiles between each surge. The moment where you feel baby is coming, and those special, first moments with you and your baby. Birth photography is a story-telling process. I am there to capture mum and dad, or mum and birth partner, and all the support around the family before baby is born.
What should I consider before booking a birth photographer?
The fact that you are reading this right now, means you are considering on booking me as your birth photographer. There are a few things that you should consider before booking, such as your medical history throughout pregnancy i.e. indicators that may involve additional assistance in labour or if you are having a planned c-section; where you plan on birthing your baby i.e. hospital or home; and, who will be present at the birth i.e. birth partner and doula - an overcrowded room can sometimes cause distress to mum, so we want you to have the best possible birthing experience, wherever and however you decide to birth.
When should I book you?
So, you've made your mind up and you want to have the most beautiful chapter of your life, recorded and documented! AMAZING!
Booking as soon as possible is the best option, so that I can check my availability and make sure that I can be there for you. As mentioned, it is important to check with your birthing location, if you are planning on having your baby in a hospital, that the current guidelines allow for an additional person in the room.
I am more than happy to meet with you before you book, or to video-call you if that is easier, and make your decision based on getting to know one another. We will chat about your current pregnancy, previous pregnancies and the births, and what your birth preferences are. We will chat throughout your pregnancy, just so that I am aware of any changes that may hinder me being present at the birth of your baby.
A £250 non-refundable, booking fee is required for me to block off my diary and for me to go on-call from 37-38 weeks.
Will you be filming the entire time?
No - my main job will be to document your birth story photographically, however I will create a Mini Birth Film and showing the progress of the labour, the birth (we can discuss this if you would prefer baby being birthed to be photographed or filmed, that will be your choice!) In 2019, I introduced videography to Birth Collections, and it may be my first birth film, but I believe it shows the progress of birth, the connection that goes beyond physical, and the love of human beings.
When should I call you?
You will know your body - when you feel it is time to call the midwives to come to your home, or if you call ahead to the hospital that you are on your way, that is when you should give me a call too!
Will you be wearing PPE?
Until the government say otherwise, I will be wearing PPE equipment at all home births (hospital birth bookings are currently on hold due to only one birth partner being 'allowed' in the room).
When will I see my photos?
Your birth images will be hand-edited within 2-4 weeks after you give birth, depending on how long the actual 'birth story' was. Your USB of images and the Birth Film will be delivered to you within 4 weeks of the birth day of your baby.
Will you share the images?
I would love to share the images from your 'birth story' online or in print, however if you do not wish for these to be published, then I totally respect that. You will have 'print and share' rights, so feel free to print them using my pro lab or a recommended printing lab.
"Rebekah Collins is nothing short of an amazing human and a brilliant photographer. She makes the memories of my daughter's birth come to life each time I look through the stills of that incredible day. She worked silent, strong magic in my home that day; allowing my husband to be completely present in his love and support throughout my labor. I will treasure her and the moments she gifted me through her skills for the rest of my life. I only wish I would have been in Ireland for the births of my first two babies so I could have hired her sooner! Your hearts are sure to be stolen! (If you're reading this and on the fence about hiring a birth photographer, please do not hesitate hiring Rebekah! I promise you will never regret inviting her to tell your birth story through the beauty of her photography!)"
Tia Sandfulfr, Unassisted Home Birth Story