Birth Photography 101

From labor, to your baby’s first bath, birth photography captures all the details of this special day.

Photographer Heather Nan Parkinson breaks down the five most important shots to capture during a birth.

First, let’s answer the most common questions about birth photography.

Why on earth would you want an extra person in the delivery room?
“It can seem odd, but you cannot get this one moment in life back. I am there to be a fly on the wall and capture the beautiful experience. None of my clients have ever regretted the decision to have a birth photographer.”
-Alicia Kinne, Photographer,
Will the hospital allow a birth photographer in the delivery room?
“I’ve found hospitals to be very accommodating as long as they know about me ahead of time. Tell your doctor and be sure to include your desire for a birth photographer in your birth plan to give the nurses that extra heads up!”
-Ali Micek, Photographer,

Can’t my husband just take pictures?
“The very sweetest images I capture are of the dads’ reaction throughout the labor and after baby is born. Plus, he is the main support for mom during labor. He needs to be in the moment and the pictures.”
Kirstin Roper, Photographer,

Aside from your wedding day, the birth of a child is one, if not the most life changing moment in a person’s life. As a photographer, I want to tell the whole story of the day. Below are shots to be on the lookout for if you are going to be that friend or relative taking the reins on capturing a birth.


Details of the Day
I document the details that mark the particular day of the child’s birth including weather, time of day, current events and season.

Truth Shot
I personally love seeking out moments during the birth story the truly sings the emotion of the day. Some examples are: hands clutching the bedside while pushing; dad sleeping with his mouth open in the late night while mom silently sits through minor contractions; or the subtle looks of anticipation mom passes to dad concerning baby’s arrival.

First Moments
The moment when mother and father meet baby is such a precious time. From the first moment the baby is laid on mother’s chest to dad holding baby for the first time, their reactions, tears, smiles and relief.

Parents have invited me in to take the documenting pressure off anyone honored to be present at the birth of the child. I focus and shoot everyone’s first moments with this baby. From grandparents to siblings, I capture the beginning of each relationship with the new child.

Flattering Shot
Granted you just gave birth and it may be two in the morning, but in the social media whirlwind we live in, you may want to share an image of your new addition documented the first moments of its arrival. As a part of the birth story I capture a few portraits. They tend to be quite casual, but my intent is to shoot with a bit of flattery that you will want to share them with the rest of the world.

Heather Nan Parkinson is a wedding and birth photographer based in Salt Lake City. Her work can be found at

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