Many women expecting their first baby cannot get their head around the thought of someone taking photos of them during labour and childbirth when it is such an unpredictable and often primitive process. The camera is an item chucked in the hospital bag at the last minute and generally, handed to a professional nurse (not a professional photographer) and whatever she manages to produce of a family portrait finds its way on to Facebook, into albums and even on to walls for all to see.
With a husband who runs a photographic company, I pride myself in always having amazing family photos but when Marysol first contacted me and I saw how she specialises in this domain, it was truly something unique that I had never seen before and I would strongly encourage those of you expecting a baby to plan carefully how you will document this momentous occasion and whether you should budget for a professional to do it for you. As far as I understand, Marysol is one of the few birth photographers who offers an on-call service around your due date so she can photograph before and after the event!
Before I say anymore, please watch this beautiful clip, and get your husband or partner to watch this beautiful video clip entitled, “Hold her hand, not the camera!”. It is a compilation from many different photographers but it conveys how subtle, discreet and personal this service provider can be. This was put together specifically to encourage dads to delegate this job out so they can be more involved in the action…
Here are her answers to some of the burning questions you might want to ask her:
1. How does the “on-call” bit work? What exactly are you offering people in terms of availability?
That’s a great question. This is a key component in what makes me specialized in what I do. I work according to your estimated due date. I’m on-call from 10 days before your due date until you deliver. This means I’m living with my phone on at all times, my gear ready to go, my car full of petrol, my childcare on standby. Its a little hectic! Even if its at 2 am, I come when you are in active labour, around when you might head to the hospital and stay until about 2 hours after your baby is born. So if that’s a total of 5 hours or 25 hours, I’m there to cover your birth story! Because of this I only take 2 births per month and do not offer weddings. Weddings & births don’t mix well. Brides plan months in advance and births are unpredictable.
2. How do you remain discreet at such a personal event and where some might feel intimidated having someone else there?
Well there are two aspects to this question. Let’s talk about them.
1) Being discreet. I’ve given birth myself and have been in many birthing situations. I know a woman needs limited interruption and a sense of safety. So I’m very quiet, usually silent the whole time unless spoken to. I hang back a lot, out of the way. I wear slippers and move around slowly. I often step out for periods of time to give even more privacy. Most mothers say they didn’t even know I was there. There’s no posing or directing like in a photo-shoot, its all documentary style, capturing the story as it unfolds.
2) Having someone else there. I’m a birth professional just like any other you may hire that you don’t necessarily know well: nurses, doctors, midwives, doulas, etc. I meet with all my clients prior to them booking me for a no-pressure coffee just to see if they feel comfortable with me on their birth team. If they do hire me, I offer a mini-maternity session complimentary, which gives us another opportunity to build rapport. By the time the due date is near, we are exchanging text messages and many times at that point I no longer feel like a stranger to them. I think people picture me as a stranger holding their hand and invading their privacy. Not true. In fact, my role frees up your support (husband, mother, sister, friend) to be solely focused on you.
3. How have moms who have used your service found the experience?
Most of my clients hire me for each additional baby, so that speaks volumes! I think the best thing to do is hear from them directly:
“Having Marysol there capturing each precious moment as it unfolded was definitely a great decision. My husband and I differed on how we felt about having someone else involved in such a intimate time but Marysol’s presence was barely noticeable. She managed to capture the feelings and emotions of that day and chronicle them in such a unique way.
I can honestly say that I would regret not having the images or the dvd that she provided us with! I have never felt more in love with my husband than when he held our baby for the first time and thanks to Marysol, I will be able to revisit that moment time and time again.”
“At first, I had doubts about having my daughter’s birth photographed. Wasn’t this the most intimate moment of my life? How could I let someone else other than my husband intrude on it, worse even with their photo camera! However, all my fears of feeling exposed or self-conscious flew out the window the moment the birth journey began. Throughout the entire process I hardly noticed Marysol’s discreet presence – she just blended right in.
Not only was it so reassuring to have my husband’s full attention to help birth our baby without having to worry about handling a camera to get that desired “meet baby for the first time” shot. The photos also capture those emotional yet fleeting moments of the whole labour and remind me of beautiful aspects that I didn’t notice at the time. They show me and my husband working together to welcome our baby into the world.
We now treasure beautiful memories of our daughter’s and our son’s births. And there is nothing like the fascinated eyes of a big sister looking at the pictures of her own and her brother’s arrival!”
– Justine (mother of 2 and another one on the way!)
4. The top question I’m asked, especially by the husbands is: “Do you photograph ‘down there’? And what about nudity?”
People are squeamish about birth photography because this is what they “think” it is. Its not. I’m capturing the story of your child’s birth in tasteful documentary style. I’m not getting gory bloody photos of your private areas! Actually, I prefer to not be photographing down there because I don’t want to miss the best part, your FACES when you see your baby! When I meet with clients, we go over in great detail their preferences on nudity and I personalize each birth story for what they’ve asked for.
Marysol Blomerus is one of Cape Town’s premier birth photographers, specializing in on-call, personalized, discreet, stunning birth photography. All her birth packages include a complimentary mini-maternity session so the story of your pregnancy and welcoming of your child is complete. She’s a mother of 3 so she knows what her clients feel like to be pregnant and in front of the camera.
Follow her on pinterest
072 285 7438