Birth photography

Use the words "birth photography" to any mom, and you're bound to get one of two reactions. Either moms are enchanted by the idea or more than a little freaked out about having someone with a camera catching such an intimate moment. 

Ask a photographer, on the other hand, and the reactions are much the same: birth photography, as Laura Eckert says, is addictive. Eckert is the woman behind New Creation Photography, an Iowa photography studio, but she's also the mom behind the wildly popularBirth Photography Facebook group, a place where folks like her share images of magical moments inside the delivery rooms and bedrooms where babies come into the world.

Why would anyone want a camera in the room in one of the most personal moments of their life? Well, when you ask Eckert, the better question is why not?

"We take photos of all the milestones and events in our lives, big or small, from hiring a wedding photographer to taking your own iPhone photos of what we're eating for lunch," Eckert told The Stir. "Why wouldn't you want beautiful and tastefully captured images from one of the biggest days of your life?

"Birth is SO much more than just that moment."

Some moms are easily convinced about birth photography -- they're fine with a camera in the delivery room. But why not just let your partner do the honors? Well, says Lindsay Dever, a former nurse turned photographer, your partner is supposed to be there for you -- not to capture the birth.

Pond didn't hire anyone to man the lens when she gave birth, and she regrets it.

"[My husband] did capture certain images I wanted, but during my Cesarean, he was attentive to me and less interested in photographing the first breath and first moments," Dever recalled. "Some of the photos were out of focus, and the worst part was that his camera had accidentally put in images size in email mode. All the images were basically ruined. If we ever have another baby, I will insist on hiring a professional!"

Moms like Dever are behind a bona fide trend. In fact, these days, hiring someone to snap your birth is so popular there's even an actual association of birth photographers with members all over the globe.

As Eckert explains, it's not just about getting photos of baby, it's about capturing your own memories.

More from The Stir10 Strange & Unrealistic Stock Photos of Pregnant Women

"A lot of times, moms who are really in-the-moment in their birth don't have a lot of memories of exactly what went on during their labor. Seeing their birth photos really helps fill in the gaps as they 'relive' their labor and delivery through the eye of the camera," Eckert says, "not to mention the baby getting the chance to relive their own birth sometime down the road!"

Not sold on whether or not birth photography is for you? The Stir asked some of the top folks in the business to share some of their most beautiful images -- and the stories behind why it is they do what they do.

Number 10 is such a magical photo -- would you pay to have one like it?

That First Cry

That First Cry

Lindsay Pond is a nurse who turned to photography two years ago.

"You can never get those first moments back again," she says. "First breath, fresh long cord, baby covered in vernix, siblings meeting for the first. Baby latching for the first time ... It's magical and it goes by so fast."

Hands Out

Hands Out

"Birth is powerful, emotional, and beautiful," says photographer Callie Combs of Birmingham, Alabama, who captured this magical shot. "It brings our real raw emotions of mom, dad, and the whole family. I love being able to capture these breathtaking and indescribable moments demonstrated by the new parents, siblings, and extended family. I love documenting every precious detail that makes their birth story unique."

Here for Mom

Here for Mom

"Being able to give families that ability to look back on and cherish the process that brought their new little human into the world makes everything worth it," says photographer Katia Grondin. "I have never felt so at home, so full of love and happiness, than I do when I hear how much my clients love their images. I think this feeling is what they mean by 'if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life!'"

A New Arrival

A New Arrival

This image came from photographer Brittany Buitron's first ever birth session, and as she said, "I am so happy with the pictures. It is something you can never get back."

Not only is she addicted to birth photography and working on getting new clients, she adds, "It didn't scar me from having my own children like my husband thought it would!"

Well, Hello There!

Well, Hello There!

"There is something spiritual about being in the room when a new life takes its first breath, opens its eyes for the first time, cries, and makes its presence known to the rest of the world," says photographer Nelly Ker-Fox of Ker-Fox Photpgrahy. 

"It's one of the most monumental moments in a parent's life. I love being given the trust and the responsibility to capture that moment, that 1/125 of a second where your whole life changes, forever. The emotion is raw, there is no posing, it's photojournalism ... anticipating a moment, being present to the constant, and sometimes quickly changing aspects of the delivery."

That First Look

That First Look

"For me as a birth photographer, the most magical thing is the almost tangible love that surrounds a birth," says Sophia Gueiros Costa, the mom behind Three Plus Photography who took this shot of a first time mom after more than 40 hours of labor. "New love for the newborn baby, and renewed love between the parents.

"It's an event filled with raw emotion and fleeting moments. You blink, and the moment is gone, and this is exactly why I am beyond grateful that I get to immortalize these moments for so many families."

Out of the Water ...

Out of the Water ...

"There have been births (generally long, stressful births) where, in the middle of labor with no end in sight, I think, 'Why do I do this?'" admits Laura Eckert, "But then that miracle happens, that baby is delivered, she takes her first breath and snuggles in to meet her mom face-to-face for the first time, her dad kisses her head with tears in his eyes, and I think, 'THIS is why I do this!' It's just so amazing and such an honor to be invited into a client's birthspace to capture her story. It will never grow old. Then I go home, upload all of the images, and come across those images that are just absolutely stunning and breathtaking, and it confirms why I am a birth photographer.

"The whole process, from meeting a new mom-to-be for the first time to photographing the birth to delivering the final product to an elated client; I just love every part of it!"

Come to Mama

Come to Mama

"Photographing a family's birth is quite incredible," says Tammy Bradshaw, who captured this image after a home birth. "It is such an honor when I am hired to document the most important moment of someone's life, and what could be more important than being born?  

"Oftentimes in the whirlwind of activity and emotions, we forget what those very first moments and the journey leading up to the birth were like -- the strength and beauty of a laboring mom, the skin-to-skin connections that are made in the dark of the night, or the way the morning sunlight looks as it dances across baby's face on the birth day. A birth photographer preserves those moments so that they can pieced together into a story, which can be retold again and again for years to come."

I'm Here!

I'm Here!

Sylvia Wedel, the photographer behind this amazing shot, says, "At every birth I attend, it is nothing short of amazing to see and capture a baby enter the world, take their first breath, calm down in mommy's arm, and gaze into daddy's eyes. To see those first time grandparents totally melt right there in the room. It is SO amazing to be a part of that and help them capture those life changing moments! I would be lying if I said I never cried ... I think I cry at every birth."

Baby and Me

Baby and Me

"Bringing a new life into the world is something that is powerful and amazing," says photographer Leah Jent of Dayton, Ohio. "To be able to capture the love and the emotion in a delivery room is just the most fantastic feeling in the world. I also feel like being a birth photographer makes me a better mom. The magic of being present at a birth stays with me for several days."

In These Hands ...

In These Hands ...

"To this day, it still blows my mind that we actually grow tiny people inside of us, and being able to give parents the ability to look back on those little people coming into the world is my true calling," says photographer Katia Grondin.

Sleep Tight Little One

Sleep Tight Little One

When asked why birth photography, Neely Ker Fox likes to tell moms, "These photos are graceful, powerful, intimate, priceless ... and in no way graphic."

Holding On for the First Time

Holding On for the First Time

"I've had many moms regret NOT hiring me, but I've never had a client regret hiring me," says Steele. "Once they see the final product, most moms are over-the-moon happy and any of the concerns they had about hiring me are completely laid to rest. They are so happy that they have their birth preserved and can relive it whenever they'd like. And oftentimes I get hired again to shoot their next birth. This fall I'll be documenting the birth of my first three-peat client!"