Tips and Tricks for Photographing in the Labor and Delivery Unit

THIS IS A GUEST POST COURTESY OF DARBY SADLER OF DARBY DOLL PHOTOGRAPHY

I have been lucky enough to be able to witness so many deliveries. I work inside the hospital contracted by BioVideo, a company that photographs c/sections, deliveries and postpartum sessions.

Since working for this company I’ve been able to learn so much about birth photography and hospital etiquette. I’ll be going over that as well as what to expect if you are just getting into birth photography.

tips-and-tricks-for-photographing-in-the-labor-and-delivery-unit

Images taken through BioVideo

 

Communication

Communication is such a big part of birth photography. Always make sure you are on the same page as mom and that she has worked everything out with her OB. It’s always a great idea to also speak to the nurses when you arrive at the hospital so that you know exactly what you can and cannot do.

 

Common hospital guidelines

Be mindful of hospital guidelines and always be respectful of staff. You may only have one chance before not being allowed back.

  • Do not touch anything blue in the room ( this could vary by hospital but blue drapes are generally sterile, if touched they have to remake the table).
  • No video (some hospitals have contract workers like the one I work for that allow this).
  • No photographs of anything medical (oxygen, medications, vacuum, assisted births… etc.)
  • Do not interfere with any medical staff and make sure to give them room to
    perform their job.

My favorite place to stand usually ends up being up by mom’s shoulders. Most hospitals have a little side table and it’s easy to slide that aside and take that spot, this also gives the best angle to see baby if you are looking for a PG angle.

tips-and-tricks-for-photographing-in-the-labor-and-delivery-unit

 

Lighting

You will have some difficult lighting scenarios when photographing births. Generally C- sections tend to have good lighting throughout the room which makes for well lit photos.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind with C- section births. You are working with fluorescent lights so you will need to adjust settings to avoid bands of light in your photographs. And right where baby will be making his or her debut is a very pronounced spotlight which will also require some adjustment to your settings.

Unfortunately most natural births will be done in very low light. Although flash is a great tool, it can be very invasive for both mom and baby so its strongly suggested that no flash is used.

It’s NEVER ok to ask the mom to switch on lights or move lighting equipment near her during birth. Remember this moment is delicate and should be handled as such! Our job as photographers is to capture those precious moments without being overbearing and being too invasive.

 

This article was featured in Summerana’s Magazine – The Baby Issue. See the full issue here.

Tips and Tricks for Photographing in the Labor and Delivery Unit

 

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About Grace Pamela
Grace Pamela is a photographer and owner of Summerana, which is named after her two daughters, Summer and Liliana.
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