Documenting Births – More Information \ Packages \ FAQ

WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE WITH YOU THERE?

 

I will interact with you and any partner or support person in whatever way is appropriate to the conditions at the time. Labour can take many hours, and so there may be periods where you are feeling like talking, and others when you may like quiet time or to take a chance to sleep. I will respect all decisions you make and will respond appropriately. I am happy to leave the room for as long as you wish, if you’d like some private time, and reenter when instructed.

I will document whatever happens in a way that is tasteful, discrete, raw, and honest. I want your photographs to be representative of the reality of the time, taken with sensitivity and compassion.

 
WHAT IF THINGS GET WILD?

 

You are free and should feel comfortable to do whatever you need in the moment during the labour and birth – get in any position, move around, be still, yell, groan, scream, play music, be silent, sing, or sleep. I will respect whatever your decisions are, as it is for you to determine how you will be most comfortable and calm in a time that can be emotionally and physically intense and overwhelming. I won’t position you, or tell you to do anything to suit me. I’ve felt a special bond with all the families that I’ve photographed so far. I believe it’s really important to have a good relationship and understanding with your photographer so that you do not feel in any way anxious or nervous about an extra presence on the day.

If you have further questions, keep scrolling to read Frequently Asked Questions.

 
WHO ARE YOU?

 

I’m Sarah. I live in Port Kembla, but am originally from Melbourne. I believe in self-determination, a mother’s intuition and listening to yourself to decide what is needed at any particular time during your labour. As such, I am non-judgmental and will be present in a role of quiet support, encouragement and compassion.

I meet with all expectant mothers (and their partner or support person, if possible) at around the 36 week mark so we can get to know one another and your expectations and plans for your birth. I am also available to answer any questions or address concerns leading up to the day.

If you’d like know a little bit more about me, you can read some words I wrote here. Or else scroll down to read some things previous clients have said about me and the photographs they’ve received.

 
WHAT DOES THIS COST? 

 

THE STANDARD PACKAGE

A one hour consultation to discuss birth plans, answer questions, and to get to know one another.

On call 24/7 from 38-41 weeks.

I will not accept other bookings that cannot be rearranged so I will maintain my availability for the 4 weeks around your due date. A back up photographer will be arranged, if possible and required.

Photographic coverage from apprx. 6cm dilated to 1-2 hrs after delivery, or at your discretion within that period.

Apprx. 100-200 professionally edited black and white digital photographs delivered via online download.

$2000

THE FINGERS CROSSED / SCHEDULED CAESAREAN PACKAGE

The same as The Standard, however, I will continue to accept other bookings during the four weeks surrounding your due date.

If I am not available at the time you deliver, I will attend the place of birth as soon as possible afterwards, and, if able, within 48 hrs of the birth. This means there is a chance I will not be there to photograph the birth itself.

If this occurs, then the full amount paid will be converted to session credit that can be used for two other sessions, including one as soon as I am available after the birth, and a separate session within the first 4 months of the birth.

That said, there is also a chance that I will make it to the birth, and you will therefore receive the same coverage and photographs as the The Standard package.

If you are having a scheduled C-Section, however, I will secure the date you are booked in and so will be able to guarantee my attendance at the birth. You will need to gain prior permission from your hospital before I can book your date in.

$1000

FROM THE BEGINNING / HOME BIRTH ADD ON

The same as The Standard, however, I will make my way to you as soon as it is confirmed you are in active labour (usually around 3cm dilation).

This is recommended if you or your mother have previously had a relatively 'quick' labour (e.g. less than 6 hours) or if you want to be more confident the birth or the pre-birth process is not missed.

Additionally, this is required if you are having a home birth or intend on remaining at home for as long as possible during labour, before going to the hospital, in order to capture the full birth experience - which may be less predictable in the home context.

ADDITIONAL $600
BOOK

OTHER SESSIONS

If you don’t think birth photography is for you, or would also like photographs of your pregnancy or baby’s growth over time as well as birth photographs, then consider one or more of these sessions:

  • maternity – usually between 32 – 37 weeks
  • newborn – usually within 2 weeks of birth or a later session at 3 to 4 months of age or up to 6 months
  • older baby – from 6 months
  • toddler – from 1 year

I charge $500 per session, which usually takes approximately 90 minutes and includes 40-60 digital photographs.

Or, if you’d like to chronicle the fleeting but profound changes that occur in the period of a time from your pregnancy to when your baby turns one, then consider booking a First Year package for $1900 (instead of $2000 if booked individually).

This includes, one of each of the above sessions (maternity, newborn, older baby, toddler) with the option to add a physical album containing a selection of the photographs from your sessions for an additional amount.

This can also be purchased in addition to your birth photography package.

births - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHICH HOSPITALS DO YOU ATTEND? HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE YOU TO TRAVEL TO ME?

 

I am able to attend any maternity hospital, birth centre, or home in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands, or Sutherland Shire, including:

  • Wollongong Hospital (public) — approx. 15 mins
  • Wollongong Private Hospital — approx. 15 mins
  • Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital (Nowra) — approx. 1 hr
  • Bowral Hospital — approx. 1 hr
  • The Sutherland Hospital — approx. 1 hr
  • Kareena Private Hospital — approx. 1 hr

Times are approximate and are dependent on the conditions at the time. They reflect actual travel time from my home to the hospital and do not include circumstances where I am not at home nor additional time required to prepare to travel to you.

 
IS THERE ANYTHING WE NEED TO DO TO PREPARE?

 

Not really, I tend to just capture everything as it is naturally.

That said, you are required to obtain permission from your hospital and/or obstetrician for me to be present in your birth suite.

Most hospitals have caps on the number of people allowed in the birth suite at any one time. If you have other support persons, such as family, a doula, other children, then I suggest you ensure the hospital allows the number of people you intend on having in the room.

In addition, if there is insufficient light, this can affect my ability to carry out the task of capturing the birth of your baby. If it is nearly or completely dark (which it can be – especially in the middle of the night, or if the curtains are closed), then I will have trouble focussing and getting crisp photographs.

I would describe the amount of light required to get adequately exposed photographs as being enough to comfortably read a book in. If it’s any darker than that, then your photographs may not be properly focussed, grainy, and unclear. I can modify the light through partially opening curtains/blinds, turning lights on dimly, or adding further light sources that are available, but I will only do as much as minimally necessary.

If you are having a home birth, I would encourage you to set up some soft lamps in advance that are able to be turned on and moved around, so that I can modify the light as needed.

If you do not want me to touch the lighting, then just let me know prior to the day, or at any time in the moment, I will otherwise alter it as required.

Whatever the situation, I’ll do my best with the light that’s naturally available. However, if you do not want me to modify the lighting at all, then I cannot take responsibility for photographs that are missed, grainy, or out of focus. I don’t generally use flash or bring elaborate lighting setups, because it is distracting and unsettling for everyone, and can produce images that lack authenticity.

 
WILL MY PARTNER / OTHER FAMILY / CHILDREN BE IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS?

 

Yes! I’ll photograph whomever is present in the time that I’m present. If you have, for example, a partner or other children that are present during labour, or if they arrive in the 1-2 hours after the arrival, then I will absolutely photograph their interactions with you and first meetings with the new bubba!

If you need more time before additional visitors are able to arrive, then you can add additional time at a rate of $350 per hour I am there, or else book a separate session in the days following the birth at a rate of $450 per hour.

I will invoice you after the fact if you are unsure if this will be required or not. Unfortunately, whilst people often form close relationships with hospital staff, I’m unable to photograph midwives / doctors / obstetricians without permission (and sometimes there are hospital policies against photographing staff at all).

 
CAN YOU PHOTOGRAPH ….?

 

Please tell me if you want something in particular captured that I might not appreciate the significance of! For instance, a hand-made blanket, first toy, placenta or favourite midwife (with permission). Otherwise I hope you will trust that I will capture the time as it is, which cannot be orchestrated or planned.

 
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN TO CALL YOU?

 

Basically, keep me updated in the days and weeks leading up to your due date, or of any changes in when labour is expected to begin. Basically tell me the sorts of things you’re telling your midwife. Then, as soon as you think you may be in labour, let me know any progression from then onwards. I would much rather attend for a false start than miss the birth entirely!

CALL ME AT ANY TIME of the day OR night on 0431 657 911.

Once you have booked in with me, I’ll provide you with specific information about when to call and how to keep me up to date, etc. depending on your specific circumstances and the package you book.

If you decide you’d rather me arrive ASAP than wait until you are 6 cm dilated under “The Standard” or “The Fingers Crossed” packages, then I will happily upgrade you at any time to the “From The Beginning” package and will invoice you after the fact.

 
DO I NEED TO SEEK PERMISSION FROM THE HOSPITAL / MY MIDWIFE / OBSTETRICIAN?

 

Yes. As mentioned, most hospitals require you to seek prior approval in order to have a photographer present. It is your responsibility to seek this prior approval and to advocate on my behalf to have me approved to photograph in the birthing suite if in a hospital.

If I am asked to leave or am not permitted to be in the birthing suite, then I am unable to offer a refund and will photograph as soon as I am given permission to re-enter the room or once you are moved to a recovery room.

If you are having a home birth, then I ask that you ensure your midwife is aware of your intention to have a photographer present and is comfortable being identifiable in the photographs.

 
WHAT IF I AM HAVING A PLANNED C-SECTION?

 

If you have a specific C-Section date scheduled, then my availability can be confirmed prior to the fact, and you can book “The Fingers-crossed / Caesarean Section” package. You will first need to obtain permission from the hospital and/or obstetrician for me to be present in the operating theatre at the time of the birth.

It is your responsibility to seek this permission prior to the fact. Contact your hospital well in advance of your scheduled C-Section to ensure I will be able to enter. If you do not seek this permission, then I will be unable to secure your booking on your scheduled date.

 
WHAT IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?

 

I will follow the instructions of any medical professionals, and am obligated to do so, but will endeavour to capture as much as possible and appropriate in the circumstances – if this is what you want.

If your baby is taken away to be treated or stabilised after the birth then I will follow, if wanted and allowed. If you require an emergency C-Section, then it is unlikely I will be allowed to enter the operating theatre.  If this occurs, I will happily put my camera on Auto and give it to your partner or support person to capture as much as they can.

I suggest you consult your hospital about their policy on allowing photographers to enter the operating theatre prior to your due date, even if you do not anticipate requiring a C-Section.

I’ll go over other scenarios with you in our meeting and you can let me know if you have any particular preferences. If in the moment you would like me to stop photographing or leave the room etc. then you have every right to do so and I will do as instructed by you, your partner, or support person – however I cannot be responsible for any photographs that are missed while I am out of the room.

 

I AM PLANNING A HOME BIRTH OR TO REMAIN AT HOME FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE DURING LABOUR, WILL YOU TRAVEL TO ME?

 

Yup! I will come to your home if you are planning a home birth or are planning to remain at home for as long as comfortable during labour, before going to the hospital.

For both of these plans, you will need to book the additional “From the Beginning / Home Birth” add on as I will begin making my way to you as soon as it is confirmed you are in active labour (usually around 3cm dilation), instead of waiting until you are approximately 6cm dilated, to ensure I capture the full birth experience – which may be less predictable in the home context.

I travel to homes in the Wollongong region without charge, or further for an additional $30/hr each way. If I am coming from my home, I’ll be coming from Port Kembla, and therefore it may take me up to an hour to travel to you if you are located in the Sutherland, Shoalhaven or Southern Highland regions.

CHRISTIE & BRENDON \ Baby Sunny

WOW WoW WOW!! These are so great! You captured everything so beautifully and so many moments I didn’t get to see like after the birth, thank you SO much! Bren’s going to love these too!! I love how each pic tells a story along the journey of my birth, I feel very blessed to have these, thanks again!! Xxo

TIANA & DAIMIEN \ Baby Alayah & Amelia

I'm a blubbering mess, they are INCREDIBLE; you did an amazing job, truly unbelievable; you captured everything and more; thank you so much... They are all amazing, honestly, I'm so glad you were there.

HOLLY & TAM \ Baby Riley

The last 32 hours has been a whirlwind! Thank you for not just your presence at Riley's birth but also your support. You were a wonderful addition to the birthing room. Thank you so much x

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