Advice on infant photography

Started Sep 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
ShaneTheEE Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: Advice on infant photography

Here's a subject that was recently on my mind, as we just had our second two weeks ago and I took the camera with me. There've been a lot of good suggestions, but I'll add my two cents as well.

The better you prep yourself for the "birth experience", the smoother things will go when something doesn't go according to plan. And something unexpected WILL happen. If the mother-to-be already has a birth plan, make sure you read it before hand and have a copy with you. For the uninitiated, a birth plan is a short (one page) document that communicates the mother's desires for the birth, including possible (or likely, if known beforehand) complications. The idea here is to give everyone involved (nurses, midwives, doula, obstetrician, partner, photographer, etc) an idea of what the mother wants/doesn't want.

It's not really a play-by-play type plan, so much as the mother's general approach to what she wants her birth experience to be. Is it a social event to be shared with close friends and family? A private event for as few people as possible? Does she expect everyone in the room to be grunting and signing with her? As many drugs as possible where she'll be incoherent and remember nothing and relying on you as the photographer to capture the event so she can experience it later when she's out from under the fog of drugs, hormones, and adrenaline?

Make sure it addresses/covers what she wants you to do/not do as a photographer. If she doesn't have a birth plan, encourage her to draft one. In a hospital setting, this will help immensely as there will be a constant turnover of assisting personnel. When a new person arrives at, say, shift change, they can read it and in 30 seconds know what the mother wants of you, which means you and the mother will not have to spend 10 minutes explaining/justifying your role each time someone new shows up.

Technically, as has been said before, no flash and assume very dim lighting. (In our case, it was one 24" flourescent tube uplight above the headboard.) Which means the faster your lens the better. I used a manual Konica Hexanon 50 f1.7 and didn't have enough light to go higher than f2.4 without more lights on. So I wouldn't even bother with anything other than the Zeiss and the 50. The 50 will probably be a little long, so plan on using the 24 almost exclusively. But do take the 50 as it'll be handy for a portrait or two.

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