When a mom-friend of mine from Miss Q’s Kindermusik class mentioned she was starting a birth, just born and breastfeeding photography business – called At First Sight Birth Photography – I wanted to see her work. As soon as I did, I offered to find her a guest reviewer because I want everyone in the GTA to know about this talented new photographer! Be sure to read all the way to the end for a special offer and a contest.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with pictures. I’m only an amateur but I’ve been attached to a camera for as long as I can remember. Of course, for special occasions, I leave the picture-taking to the professionals – including my wedding, family and sometimes vacation pictures.
The only thing I haven’t captured on film (or now, digitally) is the birth of my child. To be honest, I hadn’t heard about “birth photography” until recently. That’s why, when I had the opportunity to get professional birth pictures done for the birth of my second son, I jumped at the chance.
The day of my son’s birth, I texted Amber on our drive to the hospital (per her request), at 4 a.m. She told me that she generally likes to come to the hospital when the mother is around five centimetres dilated. When I first got checked, I was only three centimetres dilated. I got an epidural right away, and my labour slowed down.
At 8:30 a.m. I was only four centimetres along. When Amber messaged me around 10:40 to see if she should head down (about a 45 minute drive from her home in Bowmanville to Toronto East General Hospital), I suggested she hold off because I didn’t think I had progressed much. But when I got checked again an hour later, I was already 10 centimetres!
I frantically texted Amber with the news, crossing my fingers that she would make it down in time. Since my son’s head hadn’t dropped down though, I was told not to push yet. The moon and the stars aligned (it was a full moon that night), and somehow, Amber managed to make it there within minutes of me starting to push.
At 1:11 p.m. on January 27, 2013, my beautiful second son, Ryan Lev, was born – and Amber from At First Sight Birth Photography was there to capture my labour and the precious first few moments of my newborn’s life.
Of course when I signed up to get my labour photographed, I had some questions for Amber and wanted some clarifications about a few things. I had e-mailed Amber and she suggested that it would be best if we met in person to discuss the details. I love the fact that Amber went this extra step to meet with me; she also thought it was important to have a prenatal meeting so I can feel comfortable when she’s in the birthing room with me. When I first met Amber, it was as if I’ve known her for ages. Her smile is contagious and she has such a warm personality. I immediately felt at ease knowing she would be in the labour room with my husband and I. We went over the details of the day, what I should expect, when I should contact her, and if there was anything specific I wanted her to capture.
While I was immediately onboard with birth photography, my husband needed some convincing. He wasn’t as comfortable having a “stranger” in the labour delivery room or having someone taking pictures of his wife’s private parts. To ease my husband’s worries, Amber sent me a customer’s testimonial and a link to images taken by other birth photographers that show husbands supporting their wives during labour. Also, seeing her portfolio of work allowed us to see the type of pictures we should expect (i.e. no “business” is shown). This definitely helped us both feel comfortable with what we should expect.
When I was in labour, Amber just hung around in the back of the room, behind the doctors. I honestly didn’t even notice that she was there. Besides, it’s just like having another professional in the room. There’s already several doctors and nurses, so having one additional person there didn’t feel odd.
Having a professional take pictures of one of the most important events in your life means you, and your husband, can focus on the labour.
Several hours after she left the hospital, Amber sent me three beautiful pictures. I was able to share those pictures with my family and friends, which was a great way to announce our son’s birth.
All of the pictures that Amber took were very tasteful. She also gave us the option to make additional edits to any of the pictures if we weren’t comfortable with what was shown; and she gave us the opportunity to let her know which pictures we didn’t feel comfortable with her posting on her Facebook page, her website and her blog. While there were some that we loved for our personal memories, we didn’t want them to be shared publicly. Amber made all of the changes we requested without hesitation. She is definitely focused on achieving high customer satisfaction and exceeding her customer’s expectations.
We had our son’s bris (baby naming) when he was eight days old and Amber made a beautiful slideshow of the pictures so we could share them with our family during the celebration. It was such a nice, personal touch and I don’t think it’s something that she normally does, so I truly appreciated her going to extra mile. After we had the opportunity to share the pictures with our family, Amber posted them on her Facebook page.
Within three weeks we received our pictures (high-resolution images in both colour and black and white) and slideshow on two beautiful CDs packaged in a lovely case. The entire experience we had – from the service, down to the product – was done in such a professional manner. Amber’s attention to detail is superior and she always took our wants and needs into account. Amber has done an exceptional job at capturing one of the most amazing moments of our lives. I’m so glad to have my son’s birth story captured in pictures, which my husband and I consider priceless.
I have to give kudos to Amber for choosing birth photography as a profession. She is on-call and will drive at all hours of the day to make sure she’s there for your labour. That’s a tough job, especially since she will only book a few births a month, to ensure that she can make it to every client’s labour.
While Amber will do everything in her power to ensure that she makes it to your labour, we all know that things are sometimes unpredictable and out of our control, especially when it comes to a child’s birth. That’s why you should always have a back-up plan. Pack your own camera and video camcorder as you may need to take some of your pictures. If Amber misses your birth but is able to make it there shortly after your child is born, she will do a Just Born Session with you and your new family at your place of delivery within 48 hours of the baby’s birth. I suppose this isn’t so much a “gaffe” as a heads up.
4.5 / 5
So…how can you book her?
Now that you’re as wowed as I was the first time I saw At First Sight Birth Photography’s images, you probably want in on the action. Amber is giving away one complete starter package worth – get this – $600 to someone in the GTA or Clarington: a birth or “Just Born” photo shoot, which will come with a slideshow set to music (printed photos extra but offered at cost to the winner). Enter here!
And if you don’t win? There are 25 FREE birth announcements for clients booking a package within the next two weeks using the discount code “mommygearest” (not valid for the contest winner).