Birth Photography FAQ

There are many questions about birth photography and I’m here to answer them for you.

I’m Aleksandra Whiting the photographer behind Aleksandra Whiting Photography, I’ve been a photog since 2009, I am a mother to five kiddos, a certified birth photographer and a soon to be Doula!

Aleksandra is a Certified Birth Photographer and mother to five children.

As birth photography becomes more prevalent and is finding its place within hospitals, birth centers and home births, mothers are seeing more and more images of brave mommas who choose to share their raw moments and first connections with the world. With these images come many questions from expecting mothers and fathers alike and I want to take a moment to share answers to some of the questions I get asked often. Let’s dive right in!!

First and foremost I want to address the squishy faced reaction from people who may not understand why someone would want to document “THAT” 

Birth can be a messy and intimate moment, things happen during labor that some people just don’t see as something that should be captured and shared forever. So let me ask you this, if you have had children of your own do you remember the first moment you laid eyes on your brand new, squishy baby? Do you think that it’s a moment you’d like to relive over and over? Do you remember what your sweet baby looked like? They change so fast, it’s sometimes hard to remember! Are you expecting and wish that your mother could tell you everything in detail about your own birth day? How about if you’ve had babies already and all your close friends wanted to hear your birth story in detail, wouldn’t photos make your story so much more real? 

Although labor can seem like it takes an eternity at times, your baby is born quickly, those first moments pass and once they are over, they are over. You can never go back and re-do the moment you first met your child. So contrary to some people’s belief, birth Photography is not about getting graphic details (although some people like to see the whole process as well, and that’s ok) but it’s mostly about showing the support, the love, the strength of mothers and the first loving connections families make with their brand new additions. It’s also a great plus to be able to get all the details such as fingers, toes, weight, length of a baby within hours of birth. Babies change rapidly and drastically within the first hours and days! 

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Another question I get asked almost right away is, “What happens in case I need a c-section?”. Although most mothers have plans to give birth vaginally, emergencies happen and sometimes photographers are not allowed into the room while a c-section takes place. Certain hospitals have very strict policies about this topic while others are a bit more lenient. In the case of a photog not being allowed, the photographer can hand over their camera on auto (if allowed) to a support person who is allowed and edit the photos later, the photographer can stay around to take photos post-op and/or add in a Fresh 48 session while you are still in the hospital. I also talk to my clients ahead of time about their involvement during these situations in order to have more of a chance of me being allowed into the room. 

Next question! “How do I know if my MD is ok with photos being taken?” It is really important that you have a provider that understands and respects your desires for your birth and the story you want captured. As women are becoming more empowered and realize they have choices  during labor, OBGYN’s,  midwives, and nurses are becoming more open and supportive of birth photographers being present. Many birth teams love what they do and appreciate the opportunity to have a picture of themselves at work! If you are certain that birth photography is a must have for your babies arrival, I suggest bringing the topic right up away to make sure the person/team delivering your baby understands and respects your wishes. I have witnessed parents switch health providers after not seeing “eye-to-eye” with their Doctor.

Next one! “What if I don’t want my “lady bits” photographed?” Mama, you’re not the only one! An experienced birth photog should go through a meeting with you to go over your birth plan and your level of comfort. This is a great question by the way! A photographer can stay at the head of the bed and shoot down without ever having to see your private assets, another great angle is at the side of the leg. This angle allows to see the head emerge without any unnecessary nudity. The latter is typically more doable during a birth center or home birth as there’s usually a little less equipment and people in the room so a photog is able to get a little closer in. 

Next question! “It’s my first baby and I’m not sure how I’d feel about someone else in the room, will it be awkward?” It is such an honor to be chosen as a birth photog, and with this role we have a huge responsibility to keep the birth space safe and intimate. With that being said, I personally like to meet “my” birth mamas ahead of time and talk about the expectations they have from me. I typically tell them that they should treat me as medical staff. I’m not there to get in their way, I am there to provide a service, I am not there to be entertained or worried about. I try to stay quiet and will not chat with you unless you want to talk to me! I want you to feel like you can go ahead and enjoy your time anticipating the arrival of your baby without having to worry about anything. Professional Birth Photographers witness many things, we don’t judge your conversations, your choices during labor or how vocal you are! I have witnessed silence and full on screaming during births and there’s really nothing new! Also, please remember that you have the ability to ask us to leave whenever you’d like and we can come back when you are more comfortable, when you have rested or even after the baby has been born. 

“When do I contact you?” Every photographer has different directions on how and when to contact them. Hopefully they have gone over your past history if you have delivered a baby before. This information can be helpful in setting up a plan however all births are different, moms with a few children can tell you that all their birth stories were distinct. It is important to note that our goal is to be there during active labor and delivery so adequate warning with even small signs may be helpful. It’s not uncommon that moms will contact me before contacting their health provider! We will typically not head out until your contractions are regular and when dialation is at about a 5 if the mom chooses to have that checked. Our protocol may change if there is history of fast labors at which point we will be on the edge of our seat and head out as soon as you know baby may be coming. 

Magnet I provide to put on the fridge.

Magnet I provide to put on the fridge.

“What if you have an emergency and can’t make it?” This is a question that I wish more parents actually asked and thought about. In the new digital era it is much easier for individuals to grab cheap equipment and assume that birth photography is something they can just show up for and make money at but those with experience know that on-call is nothing to scoff at and that even with extensive preparation accidents happen and we simply cannot make it. I have already mentioned that birth is something that cannot be re-lived or redone so an emergency plan should always be put in place. Professional photographers need to have a reliable back-up photographer that can step into place should an emergency arrive, they should have a way to communicate all your information to them quickly so that they do not disturb you during the delivery of your baby while knowing all your preferences and no-no’s. 

There are many more questions you may have and I highly recommend that you are straight forward with your potential photog and ask away. I really hope this had been helpful to you. Please make sure to check my blog often as I will be posting many more helpful articles to help you have the best birth story you can have. Til next time! Hugs. 

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The Cutest Little Thing - Child Session in Cotton Field

I just love Brie, I also love that her mom and dad’s name also start with a B. Little things, they matter :)

Little Miss Brie!

Little Miss Brie!

Beth (mom) and I have been planning this session for months, and when the beginning of November rolled around I was a bit disappointed in the state of the cotton fields. They were barely blooming and I had to message Beth to let her know that we m ay need to postpone ur shoot.

Checking out that fluffy cotton!

Checking out that fluffy cotton!

I was feeling pretty nervous because I got permission from a friend of a friend to shoot on one of their fields but I could not directly contact the farmer to ask when they plan on harvesting so I checked the status of local cotton often.

Such a little cutie!

Such a little cutie!

We stayed in touch and because I am only taking a limited amount of clients at the moment, we were able to agree on a field and time and date to make this shoot happen. Beth was so great to work with and I was so excited to get this shoot done! I have to tell you, I was worried that the fields might be getting plowed soon and didn’t want to miss our chance!

Such a busy bee! look at that smile :)

Such a busy bee! look at that smile :)

When we got to the fields we had great time trying to get to the actual field, and we were extra careful to not destroy any of the crops (photographers, take note). We brought all our “accesories” and got to work.

Because I have worked with little Brie in the past, she seemed to warm up to me quickly.

Little Explorer!

Little Explorer!

Because attention span at this age is very short Brie got changed into a fall dress so that they could have a few different looks and she could have a moment of distraction.

Who’s ready for Turkey? Fall looks are my favorite.

Who’s ready for Turkey? Fall looks are my favorite.

This was a fun perspective, we had a whole bunch of distractions in the back that required much editing but I think it was worth it! Don’t you think?

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Because little Brie was getting tired we tried to switch things up and got a few more shots in the red dress and packed up, she was truly a trooper!

Beautiful young lady!

Beautiful young lady!

Thank you so much for reading our mini “shoot story”! I hope you enjoyed these images!

Please feel free to reach out through my contact page to get your session booked!

Warmly,

Aleksandra Whiting Photography

Goodyear Maternity Shoot, Santiago Family

The beauty of Goodyear is the hidden gem in my very own neighborhood. My neighborhood of Estrella Mountain Ranch! It is a private community and is exclusive to residents which makes me feel like one blessed girl!

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the Santiago Family! Their story continues below :)

How cute are they??

How cute are they??

Ashley contacted me a while back on Instagram and we got to chatting about her little family. Her husband Jason is a pediatric doctor and I Evie is their little princess. Just checking out her profile made me see the love Ashley and Jason have for their little girl because almost every single pic was of her :) (I just love these types of profiles).

Little Evie, can anyone blame Ashley for posting her photos all the time?

Little Evie, can anyone blame Ashley for posting her photos all the time?

It was really important to Ashley to have some photos as a family before their little boy was born and I don’t blame them, babies bring so much joy but they also bring change and preserving the last moments together is important.

How sweet!

How sweet!

When we met up for their shoot I made sure we timed it perfectly to walk to different areas in the neighborhood while getting perfect light at the perfect time. I like to take walks in different locations to give variety to the gallery.

Evie really wanted to play around, so I made sure to take advantage of the opportunity!

Evie really wanted to play around, so I made sure to take advantage of the opportunity!

I love photos of daddy and mommy together! and I love the framing the trees provide here.

I love photos of daddy and mommy together! and I love the framing the trees provide here.

I made sure to take photos of just Ashley and Jason, I love to show the loving bond of parents and their sweet anticipation of their soon-to-be born! Evie was just running around and I had to tell Ashley and Jason that I had my eye on her so we could capture this intimate photo. :)

Children don’t always cooperate, but it is to be expected!

Children don’t always cooperate, but it is to be expected!

After a short shoot by the trees we walked some more, of course I asked Ashley if she was ok to walk a little longer and she was more than happy to oblige. We chatted about babies and our own kiddos. I like having the opportunity to find out more about the families I work with!

The perfect sunset haze!

The perfect sunset haze!

We finally made It to the pier and had a chance to work with Ashley alone, she is one beautiful mama!

Backlit photos are my favorite!

Backlit photos are my favorite!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

I hope you have enjoyed this little “shoot story”

Please feel free to leave a comment below, tell me what you think!

Love,

Aleksandra Whiting

Flagstaff Maternity Shoot

I was aching to do a shoot outside of Phoenix and especially the Goodyear area. Sometimes I need a recharge of greenery and fresh air to fill my creative batteries, and had the opportunity to go up North.

One of my maternity, birth, newborn clients told me about her friend Alba who was 8 months pregnant and we got to planning!

Beautiful Alba, Flagstaff Maternity Session

Beautiful Alba, Flagstaff Maternity Session

Because I took a short break from work I was not on-call for any birth stories and knew that I needed to make this happen.

Beginning of our maternity session! How sweet is that smile?

Beginning of our maternity session! How sweet is that smile?

Because I really wanted to have a unique spot for our session we had a few GPS issues but we persevered and when Alba arrived she quickly jumped into our rented C-class RV and picked a dress. I have to admit I was anxious because we were losing light and I REALLY wanted to met her trip and our efforts worth it.

She warmed up to me quickly! Look at that confidence! :)

She warmed up to me quickly! Look at that confidence! :)

We started right by where we were parked because I loved the light that was peeking through the trees, I think back-lit photos are amazing and they highlight the shape of a pregnant mommy. I also love how the light adds detail to hair.

I had planned on this spot when I first saw it

I had planned on this spot when I first saw it

I asked Alba if she was of to walk a little distance, I really wanted to get to this “Island” in the middle of the black sand on the way to our final destination. I felt that the light here was phenomenal and the details were brought out by the angle of the setting sun.

I like to take walks through locations to add diversity to client galleries.

Our final destination

Our final destination

I really wanted to get to this particular spot, I think it is such a “BAM” location, I think it is so fitting to show off the beauty of motherhood and the epic things our bodies are capable of.

I hope you enjoyed this little shoot story!

A Lifetime of Love: Why Family Photos Matter

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Being a parent is the greatest job in this world, but that doesn't make it easy. We are busy, and finding time to sit down and drink a cup of coffee, let alone schedule a family photo session is difficult. Yet a family photo is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our kids and future generations. Photographs strengthen family bonds, remind our children how important they are to us, and hang as works of art in our home.

Documenting the Story

Families are complex, to say the least. Over the years, stories of joy and struggle pass down from one generation to the next. According to Bruce Feiler in the New York Times, having a strong family narrative, or understanding those stories, will benefit families immensely. So what do family photographs have to do with that? Think of them as the illustrations in the pages of your family story. They remind us of what we have accomplished and overcome, and what remains most important through it all. Family photos create a legacy of love and connection and accompany the stories we tell.

A Gift for Future Generations

That legacy can seem like a long way off, for our children and us. Some of us are expecting mothers; we are busy living in the moment, preparing for baby, or raising our other kids. As for our children, they are so focused on being kids that the future seems a million miles away. The idea of going to college, winning a sports tournament, or even growing physically taller doesn't occur as something worth recording. Our mom-to-be-glow and beautiful baby bump are likewise fleeting. But looking back on those moments will be so important for us, and our children. Seeing the whole family together will remind them that they belong, and are loved, unconditionally.

A Visual Reminder

There are many benefits to a family photo, but an important one is the atmosphere created when displayed. Placing photos on the walls of our home is an immediate way to bring joy and warmth to any space. It's a great creative exercise and inspiration abounds. It's also a daily reminder to our children of how much we love them and affirms the narrative of a home that protects and nurtures. Our families mean the world to us. Family photographs are a heartfelt record of the people we care about most. They are a way to cherish the love we have for our kids, our partners, and capture the beauty of our bodies and families.

So enjoy that coffee, and then make the call to schedule a family photo. It will be worth it. 

It's Okay to Dislike Being Pregnant

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You wake up tired and nausea hits you like a freight train. As you run to the bathroom, you can't help but feel a little guilty. Being pregnant isn't what you thought it would be, and if you're totally honest, you kind of hate it. While there have been no formal studies done on the subject, a quick Google search reveals that millions of women suffer from the same problem for various reasons. The physical and hormonal changes, the relationship struggles, and the way that everyone around you is suddenly an expert on pregnancy can be daunting. To make matters worse, women don't usually open up about feeling this way. Society glamorizes pregnancy, and it can be hard to admit that yours isn't all sunshine and rainbows.

Physical Changes

According to the American Pregnancy Association, up to 85% of women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Certain smells and tastes can be major triggers, which can be hard to navigate at first. Your sleep cycle is disrupted, and the hormonal changes give you major mood swings. It's hard for anyone to feel like a goddess when she feels sick and gross all the time, and it's okay to hate it.

Relationship Struggles

Your partner means well, but it's hard to understand what pregnancy is really like unless you've been pregnant before. This, coupled with the aforementioned lack of sleep and mood swings, can lead to relationship troubles you may not have had pre-pregnancy. To cap things off, your partner will hold your hair back while you vomit and help you change when you can't see your feet anymore, and that can be a little embarrassing. Just remember, this too shall pass. In the meantime, vent your frustration to a trusted friend.

Other People

For some reason, when a woman is pregnant, everyone thinks they have a right to her body. Random strangers touch her belly without asking. Friends and relatives are suddenly full of unsolicited advice about pregnancy and babies. People ask all sorts of questions about the baby that she might not want to answer. For many women, it can be difficult to maintain their own privacy and agency while pregnant, and it's definitely normal to hate having one's boundaries crossed.

Hating being pregnant doesn't mean you hate the little life inside you, and it doesn't mean you'll hate being a mother. You are allowed to feel whatever you feel about your pregnancy. It doesn't make you less of a woman or less of a mother. Whatever you're feeling, rest assured: it's totally normal.

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Importance of Family Photo Albums

Sample of a photo album through Aleksandra Whiting Photography

Sample of a photo album through Aleksandra Whiting Photography

We live in a fast-paced, constantly changing world that revolves around technology. Life goes by in a blink of an eye, and our memories fade more and more each day. Some of us falsely believe that our special moments and life experiences are being documented. We take pictures on our phones and buy the digital copies from photographers, thinking that this is the best option. Digital files allow for easy online sharing, computer access, and individual editing. Although this is a resourceful option, there are consequences that we may not realize immediately. Photos we love may get buried in countless folders or lost in our computers and phones. Backups may fail, causing us to neglect or forget memories that we have documented throughout the years of our lives. These digital files may be easily accessible at the moment, but years down the road, they may be impossible to find or not as easily attainable. Then what will our children and future generations be able to look at to remember? How will our life memories be preserved?

For this reason, we need to realize the importance of photo albums. Photos are essential to saving memories. There are innumerable memories stored inside our brains, so it may not always be easy to recall them to our minds. However, photos can act as triggers that will prompt the memories to surface to our remembrance. Thus, filling photo albums with our pictures can be a blessing for our families today and our future families to come. Life's moments and our memories can then be preserved through generations. 

Thick, archival quality pages filled with your can be rated enjoyed for decades and are sometimes rated to last centuries.

Thick, archival quality pages filled with your can be rated enjoyed for decades and are sometimes rated to last centuries.

Living in this digital era, people often forget the feeling of looking through photo albums with loved ones and reminiscing on past moments, stories, and experiences. Swiping through pictures on a phone screen or clicking through a computer file does not compare to the joy that our families will feel when discovering memories previously forgotten.

As can be seen, photo albums are very important in preserving our memories and telling our stories in the future. Photo albums can become very special items in our lives, especially because each album is filled with unique, individual photos that tell a story and reflect a moment we would like to remember. Just think of the smiles that these memories will bring and the laughs that each special story will create. 

Albums make a statement in your home

Albums make a statement in your home

Printing photos and filling photo albums isn't too much more work than searching through digital files for one specific picture. Albums with labels and organization make it even easier to find what we are looking for. In the end, putting together photo albums is worth it. We will never regret having a physical photo album. Start the process today, because it is something that will bless our lives, preserve our memories, and become the best investment that we could ever make.

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