The Contest is OVER!
Last year was my first time entering the shoot and share contest. I was amazed by all of it. It was so much fun and so inspiring. Last year there were 110,000 photos entered into the contest and I took second place in the "That Just Happened" category and I was a finalist in the "Personal Work" category. I knew I wanted to enter again this year and I also knew the competition would be fierce. There were way more entries this year, over 225,000 in fact, which meant more (friendly) competition. I told myself in the beginning that I would be happy if my pictures placed higher over all than if I had one or two "winners" and that is exactly what happened. I am very pleased because I know that it means as a whole my work has improved and that is my goal every year. I use this competition as inspiration and drive. I want seeing all of this amazing work to push me to do better every year.
I must say I am utterly shocked by my finalist photo. I was truly guessing it would be out in the first round and have gotten a good chuckle that this accidental picture made it so far.
Here are the images that took some honors. I will tell you what category they were in and where they placed.
Yep that's right, I took a picture of glitter with my phone and it became a finalist. Do you see why I have been chuckling?
I want to say a special thank you to everyone over at Shoot and Share. Your team did an exceptional job of running this contest and doing your absolute best to make the community happy. Great job guys!
Welcome Baby Harper!
I got a call from Ashlyn at 2:45 P.M. on the 17th. This was it, she was in the hospital and they were going to go ahead and induce her. I went to bed hoping to get some sleep because I was sure I would be awaken in the middle of the night to head to the hospital. I failed. I couldn't fall asleep at 6:30 P.M., I wonder why? So I waited, and I waited and then I went to bed. I was checking my phone every hour because I was so surprised I hadn't heard from Ashlyn or Kevin. Part of me was starting to get concerned that they had taken her for a cesarean. It wasn't until 5:30 A.M. that Kevin texted me. She was at five centimeters! That's my cue. So I headed to them and was so happy to hear that while things had been slow and intense, all was well.
From there things went pretty quickly. At just before 9:00 A.M. She was at 10 centimeters. She began pushing. While Ashlyn pushed for a while Miss Harper was just not low enough yet. So the nurses decided to let her labor down. Which pretty much equates to waiting. Letting those contractions do their job and push baby girl down. At just shy of noon it was time for her to try pushing again! She pushed for an hour with the support of Kevin, her nurses, and her doctor. At the nurses suggestion she started using a mirror so she could understand how she was pushing. It wasn't long after that Harper made her entrance at 1:05 P.M. on February 18th. Then they were three. They went from a couple to a family, and the love multiplied. It is so evident in the pictures.
Watch their story below. The pictures speak far more to their story than I ever could with words.
I hear it time and time again, "I just don't know that having a birth photographer is right for me." Then I start talking and I talk and talk, because that's just what I do. It's my passion, I could go on and on about birth photography. I wanted to write a post to help people decide whether or not hiring a birth photographer would be right for them. Let's dig in to the biggest reasons to hire a birth photographer.
If you want your partner to be completely present for you: Often it is left to Dad to capture these all too important images when the moment comes to greet your precious child for the first time. This almost always results in three things. The first being that Dad doesn't feel like he gets to be completely present at witnessing the birth of his child. Secondly it almost always results in lack luster images, often coming from a cell phone. Or lastly it ends up being a combination of the two. In the desire to be fully present and take in everything that is going on Dad ends up taking very few pictures of the event. There is another issue that comes from dad being the "photographer", it's very hard for him to be in the pictures. I know from experience. I am so embarrassed and a little sad to share this picture:
This is the only "family picture" we have from the day that our first son was born. Notice anything missing? A baby perhaps? Oh wait there is a tiny little hand (I think) up by my shoulder. It was also taken from a cell phone even though we brought a camera with us. Why in the world didn't he use the camera? His reason was that he was thinking of other things and he didn't have time. The end of my labor was very fast so his reasons were valid. At the time we had our oldest I didn't even know about birth photography. It was knowing there had to be a better way to get pictures of this special moment that led me to becoming a birth photographer.
If you want to relive the amazing journey again and again: The memories fade and get fuzzy within days of delivering your beautiful baby. I truly believe God gave us this ability so that we can forget the hard parts. That way maybe we will do it again someday. But with the ability to forget the bad we also forget a lot of the good. We forget who our nurses are, what the room looks like, what we did to pass the time. What kind of medicine did the doctors give you, what time did you start pushing, which nurse supported you and taught you how to push? There are so many little memories that make up the whole big experience. These are the things you want to remember.
If you want to be able to see everyone's emotions and reactions including your own: I don't know if I have ever had as many emotions in one day as I did the days that my kids were born. Joy, anxiety, hope, fear, excitement, happiness, sadness, pride, pain (ok, so not an emotion but totally valid here), relief, and love. This is a huge reason that totally speaks for itself, it really doesn't need a long explanation. Wouldn't you love to be able to look back and actually see those emotions on not only your face but everyone else's as well?
If it's important to you to capture memories that cannot be recreated: This is a once in a lifetime event. You will never have the chance to recreate this moment. Pictures are so important because when our memories fade our pictures will last, they will remind us. They take us back instantly. A birth cannot be recreated, we cannot get that moment back. The first time you see your son, the first time you hold your daughter, the worry on your husband's face when you have been pushing for 2 hours, the shock on your doctors face when your baby comes out way bigger than expected, the exact moment your baby is born, his first breath. These are all things that go away forever when the moment is over. Unless it is captured forever, in a picture.
You want your partner to be the only one in the room, but you don't want your family to miss out: My husband and I knew we wanted to be the only people in the room when our children were born. We wanted to be the first one to see our babies and we didn't want any distraction from our families. While some people would love to be hugged on and oooo'd and aahhh'd at that was not our idea of a calm relaxing environment. We wanted time to do skin to skin, to be able to try to nurse for the first time, and to look at our baby in awe. We are still so happy that that is what we did and if we had another child we would do it again. However, there was guilt attached to this choice. We knew that our families wanted to be in there. I felt far less guilt with the birth of our second child because I knew that they would get to relive the experience because we had a photographer. She didn't take away from our time with our child, there was no pressure to pass the baby to her, she didn't distract us, she captured our story so that we could watch it again and again and so that we could share it with our loved ones.
Here are a few shots of our birth story. Photography by Abrienne Lorenson Photography.
So if you want your partner fully present for the most important day of your lives, if you want to be able to relive this amazing journey, if you want to be able to see not only other peoples emotions but your own, and you want to be able to share your story with those that you love, than having a birth photographer is right for you! I have never met a mother that regretted hiring a birth photographer. However, I have met several mothers, including myself, that regret not hiring a photographer. So if you find yourself pregnant and wondering "Is having a birth photographer right for me?" The answer is yes. Birth photography is for everyone.
Have a blessed day.-Rachael
Charlotte Leigh: A Birth Story
I enjoy all of the births I attend, it is always a great privilege to be allowed into that special moment. The birth of Charlotte was beyond special for me though. When my best friend said she wanted me in the delivery room to capture her second daughters birth I was elated.
Charlotte made her appearance on a cold and rather yucky Monday. It was freezing rain outside and the sun was still hours from shining. Her mom and dad did a great job of bringing her into this world. The journey of her birth was a little bumpy but she made her grand entrance quickly and was just perfect when she arrived. She came into this world already loved by so many. I think many of us were so surprised how much she looked like her big sister.
Here is her video, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Becca Lynn: A Birth Story
Jessica and Rocky were as cool as cucumbers during this labor and delivery. When I arrived Jessica was smiling and seemed happy, so of course I assumed that she had gotten her epidural. She had not! I asked her how she was feeling and she was was all like "ehhh, I'm good." She was a champ for sure because any of us that have labored know that, well for lack of adequate words...ouch. It wasn't to long after I was there that she got her epidural. After she got settled in from that things seemed to move fairly quickly. I will say this was the shortest labor and delivery that I have attended. She and her husband got to meet their little girl after only 8 minutes of pushing! Did I mention she was a champ?
Becca Lynn was born on October 30th at 8:24pm. She was 6 pounds and 8 ounces and was 19 inches long. She came into the world with a headful of dark hair. She is beautiful and precious. Here are some of the images from their day!
Aiyanna: A Birth Story
Amber was induced on a Tuesday at midnight she labored for a long 36 hours before she got to meet her precious little Aiyanna. I swear every time I got a text I about jumped out of my skin with anticipation. Being induced is rough. It is hard on your body and it takes a long time. But sometimes they are medically necessary and that was the case with Amber. She stayed so positive though. Every time I talked to her she was in a good place.
Aiyanna was born on August 20th at 11:41a.m. weighing 6 pounds and 11 ounces and was 20 and a one half inches long.
Here are some of my favorites from their birth story.
I hope you all enjoyed this birth story as much as I did.
Finnley turned 3 months old yesterday! My how time has flown by. My blog wasn't up and running when Finnley was born so I thought I would share his birth story now. Enjoy!
Date: 6.9.14 Weight: 9 pounds Length: 20 1/2 inches Time: 10:34 p.m.
I'm going to start off by saying this birth was not a typical situation for me. I have been "kicked" out of a delivery before but this time I was not going to be allowed back in afterwards to take after shots. So we brainstormed and what we got was a birth session that ended as a fresh 48 session.
When I got to the hospital mom was comfortable and happy. After some serious contractions she decided to get an epidural (they are amazing). She labored surrounded by people that loved her most. Little Aubrey was so well behaved during the whole labor. She stayed on her monitors, her heart rate never faltered, and she never gave mom too many issues.
Here are some of my favorite images from during the labor and Ashley, Coby, and Aubrey's fresh 48 session.
Keep watching the blog, Aubrey's Newborn session will be featured next!
Have a great day,
What is Birth Photography?
I am a mom and a photographer. My love of motherhood led me to photograph all things from bellies to birth and beyond.