Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Sarah Debnam Birth Photography Review

 "Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still" - Dorothea Lange
I am a firm believer in that photographs can speak a thousand words and capture a persons raw emotion. Our home has photo frames and albums scattered everywhere, filled with photographs of our memories as a couple and then as a family.
In this day and age, photographs are more often than not taken on camera phones and uploaded onto social media, rather than being taken with a good quality camera and printed off to hold in your hand and to keep forever.
When Aoife was born, we splurged on a newborn photoshoot for her. Whilst these photographs were beautiful and still hold pride of place in our home, we knew that we couldn't justify the cost with our second daughter.
When I heard that Sarah Debnam was looking for someone to take part in a photoshoot for her portfolio, I immediately jumped at the chance. This was a photoshoot with a difference; this was a birth photoshoot. Sarah would be there to capture my labour and my daughter's first breath - I'd be able to look back on the photos and (hopefully) remember this labour.
During Aoife's labour I was exhausted and slightly out of it on pain relief, so I don't remember a whole lot of it and don't have many fresh newborn photos, which is something I have always regretted.
Birth photography isn't really something that I had heard much about up until recently and I completely understand that it isn't everyone's cup of tea. You will have a near enough stranger with you whilst you go through one of the most precious, raw experiences of your life and I can truly appreciate why some people think it is odd or strange.
However for me, labour and birth is very precious and, strangely enough, not often spoken about considering how natural it is. I have always been open about my labours and birth, I even published my recent one on my blog, and I do believe that more women should be open about their experiences.
When I told people I was having a birth photographer, I had very mixed reviews; whilst the majority were supportive and thought it was an amazing thing to be a part of, others thought it was strange and asked me why I would want it done.
The reason I wanted photographs to capture it all was due to this being my last pregnancy for myself; any further pregnancy journey I go through will be a surrogacy. As I can't remember much of my first labour I wanted as much of this one documented as possible.
I first met Sarah in July, six weeks before my due date at a coffee shop to chat things over about the process and what would happen. If I'm honest, I'm no good with meeting new people; I get awkward and quiet - it takes a while for me to come out of my shell. The first thing I noticed about Sarah is how warm and friendly she is; she put me right at ease and I can tell how passionate she is about her work, which is great. The last thing you would want is a half arsed photographer documenting such an intimate event in your life.
Sarah explained that she would be on call day and night, her phone would be on loud and she can leave at the drop of a hat to get to where she needed to be. During the next six weeks Sarah kept in regular contact via text message and when my home birth plans were scrapped at the last minute, she was fantastic with contacting the hospital to ensure that it was okay for her to attend the birth and photograph the labour.
Two days after my due date I text Sarah to let her know that the pains had started and hopefully this was the real thing. When the midwife advised me to head into hospital I text Sarah to let her know as I knew she had around a 90 minute drive to get to the hospital. What I didn't count on was this labour being a lot quicker than my first with our daughter arriving less than an hour later.
As she was so quick, Sarah ended up missing the birth which I am gutted about; of course this was not her fault and she still ended up carrying on with her journey to come and see us at the hospital and to take some beautiful photos of Aoife meeting her baby sister for the first time which I will truly cherish forever; a couple of them have already been printed and put up in our dining room.
As you can see, Sarah provided a mix of black and white along with colour photographs, all of which were taken in a natural environment; there was no staging involved and Sarah stood back and observed whilst capturing all of those details of which I would have forgotten.
I would honestly recommend Sarah to everyone, both as a professional photographer who is truly passionate about what she does, but also as a genuine, warm and caring person too. I would happily work with her again in the future if she were to have me. Although next time she may have to camp out in my house for most of the pregnancy just incase!
I truly cannot thank Sarah enough for taking the time to invest in me and I'm disappointed for her that the baby came a bit too quickly.
If you are living in the South Wales area, definitely check Sarah out; she also does maternity, newborn, children shoots and more!
 *Disclaimer* I was provided with a free photoshoot and images in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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