As a maternity and newborn photographer, my journey has been an interesting one with many twists and turns, thankfully arriving to this current destination of where I am creatively and as a business owner. It was a process but I know my why. Why are you a photographer?
If you are a new(er) photographer, I challenge you to dig deep and search out your own why and let that be your truth.
TRIGGER WARNING: Please be aware that this article may discuss some issues relating to pregnancy and abuse that may be a sensitive subject to some readers.
I have always been one for transparency (I can thank my mom and the military for that!). I am not impressed by status or belongings so I’ve never been one to seek out awards or titles; I don’t strive to be at the top of Google searches and I don’t believe in competition. I would rather be known and remembered for how I treated people and served them.
I think often as a maternity and newborn photographer, or just as photographers in general, we can get so caught up in studios, the latest equipment, how great our Instagram grid looks and how can we can grow our followers. I get it, we are operating a business and we must find ways to make it sustainable but I believe to be truly successful in this business, self must take second place to serving others.
Often, photography websites and social media posts speak about how we “love to capture your family’s most incredible, priceless, genuine, heart-felt, unique, timeless, and precious moments” with little insight as the why they love to do this. WHY are these moments that belong to someone else important… to you?
Like so many other photographers, when I started out, I dabbled in all of it: weddings, fashion, seniors, babies, families, etc. Some, I enjoyed greatly, others, not at all.
It wasn’t until 2012, when I specialized as a maternity and newborn photographer that I experienced a true satisfaction, an overwhelming sense of “this is what I’m suppose to be doing”… and surprisingly, it wasn’t because it was a great session… it was actually a very difficult session and I felt defeated with the initial outcome, but rather, it was the time that I spent with the mom.
At first, I had no idea that she was suffering greatly with postpartum depression and was feeling so overwhelmed and yet, disconnected from her newborn. It wasn’t until weeks later when she returned to pick up her photographs that she opened up about her struggles and how thankful she was that she came for that session that day. Having the experience of holding and loving on her baby for photographs triggered an awakening in her that led to her reaching out for professional help.
And from that moment on, my heart was primed with a compassion and love for working with women, babies and their families.
Long after some sessions are over, mom will still be sitting and chatting about the birth experience or the stress and challenges that being a new parent has brought. It’s not unusual to spend two hours talking after the session has ended and honestly, I love that.
I’ve seen women cry and share their deepest fears, paralyzing insecurities and heart-wrenching losses. I’ve photographed women that have suffered physical and emotional abuse, trauma and loss of self-esteem and self-worth. I’ve worked with moms that have suffered with horrific bouts of postpartum depression that didn’t even want to hold or care for their newborns. (If you suspect you or a loved one are experiencing these issues, please click on the links for more information on how to receive assistance.)
I’ve silently listened to, prayed with, shed tears, hugged, shared tips and professional resources with women to help them through those tough first few weeks and sometimes, months. Often, they’ve come back and express thanks for someone having the insight to recognize it, the courage to mention it and the compassion to even care.
I’ve celebrated and rejoiced with moms, dads and families that come back after a tragic loss when they are expecting their rainbow baby… Some of them, I painfully photographed as a NILMDTS photographer (Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep).
As a birth photographer, there’s been moments of putting the camera down and holding mom’s hand as she rides out a massive contraction. I’ve witnessed babies take their first breath, seen couples become families and captured moments of relief, hope and pure joy. I’ve seen the quiet moments that can cause fear and panic… I’ve seen it all.
I carry a small piece of every woman that has ever stepped in front of my camera: the insecurities, the confidence, the tears, the laughter, the joy and wonder, the loss and grief. I celebrate with them and I cry with them…
Whether it is a maternity, newborn or birth session, I have been invited and chosen into a family’s most private, intimate and vulnerable moments of their lives. It is an honor that I don’t take lightly and a place of service that I adore… and I believe this helps me to not only be a better photographer, but hopefully, a better person as well.
Now, why are you a photographer?
If you are interested in reserving a session with me, please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can connect with me through our inquiry page. Enjoyed this post? You can find more like this and more on our motherhood blog.
I’m Christi – a lifestyle photographer based in Jackson, Mississippi capturing seasons of motherhood for moms and those she loves most. I thrive within simplicity, seek to encourage others and actively pursue an intentional life grounded in love and gratitude. I’m easily distracted by home DIY videos, fresh french-pressed coffee, thrift stores and puppies. If you share a connection with these heartfelt ramblings, I would love to work with you. You can reach me at: email@example.com.