Image: Sadie Wild Photography/ Art by Jessica
Photographers capture small moments of our lives and make them last forever. They give us snippets of events and emotions, things we may have missed. A good photographer looks for the in-between moments - the looks exchanged, the connections. Things we miss when we're focused on the big stuff. It's those moments that make an event truly special, and the ones we want to remember forever. Hiring a photographer to document events in your life can help with that. We hire photographers for so many events, like weddings and parties. Many families also hire them to document their birth experience. Birth photography isn't a new phenomenon, but it's certainly become far more popular in recent years. Just a scroll through some of these 2019 birth photography contest winners explains why.
The thing about birth photography is that each image, each moment captured, is unique. Because every single person's birth experience is unique. Even if we've seen 100 photos of a woman in labor, they're all different. Because HER birth experience is different. The mechanics of a baby coming into this world don't change. But the emotions and hidden moments captured by birth photographers are as different as the babies being born. Every year, Birth Becomes Her holds a contest to find amazing images captured during this momentous occasion. The 2019 birth photography contest winners are, as always, stunning examples of this powerful genre. From child birth to postpartum recovery, every single picture tells a story. And every single one of those stories is beautiful.
The 2019 birth photography contest winners fall into five categories. There is hospital, out of hospital, color, black and white, and postpartum. Birth Becomes Her also selects on overall winner, and there are People's Choice winners in all categories.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Sadie Wild Photography
Her face just says it all, doesn't it? Elation, exhaustion, a little bewilderment. There are so many emotions running through your body after giving birth, it's definitely a roller coaster. And a good birth photographer will expertly capture each of those emotions. We love the way the light plays across her face in this photo. Sadie Wild Photographer captured this gorgeous image, and we're they were able to get so many more during this labor and delivery. The thing about child birth is that it can feel like it will never end, and then suddenly you have your sweet little babe in your arms and suddenly all is right with the world.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Northern Light Photography
Northern Light Photography captured this absolutely stunning image of a new family sharing their first quiet moment together. The labor and delivery process can be so frantic and charged. But as soon as the baby is born, and mama and little one are checked and doing well, things slow down. You're able to breathe and just take it all in, and relish the quiet of your new life. These little moments are some of our favorites, and we love when birth photographers make it a point to capture them. No doubt this family treasures this photo. The first official family portrait.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Fox Valley Birth and Baby
When it comes to birth photography, we're used to seeing images in black and white, or muted colors. Which makes sense, and surely makes for some beautiful pictures! But there's also something to be said for color, and the winning image in the color category proves that. Mary Nieland from Fox Valley Birth and Baby captured this stunning moment between mama and papa, and we just love the colors and quietness of it. The color of her hair, the flowers on the pillows, even the contrast between her tiger stripes and skin on her belly - they all come together to tell a small part of this birth story.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Cat Fancote
Goodness, this is an absolutely stunning picture. Cat Fancote, a birth photographer in Perth, Australia, captured this image and it won the top spot in the contest in the Black & White category. It's so peaceful and serene, and perfectly encapsulates those still moments after a baby is born. We love how the ripples in the water play in the photograph. And the use of black and white gives it an almost otherworldly feel, like mama and baby are floating in a private galaxy. And any time we get to see a picture of a squishy newborn face, well, we consider that a win for everyone. Beautiful picture, beautiful babe.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Photo: Art by Jessica
Labor and delivery can be fast and furious! But then suddenly it's over and you're left with some of the most beautiful and quite moments. And from those moments come some of the most amazing birth photos. Denver documentary photographer Jessica of Photo: Art by Jessica caught this incredibly special moment between mama and her babies, both big and small. It's always so amazing when older kids can be part of the welcoming of their new baby brother and sister. And those kiddos never cease to amaze with their love and support. While mama's hands were full with the baby, this love bug lent her helping hand.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Belle Verdiglione Photography
It's a family affair! In addition to the five categories we've already mentioned, Birth Becomes Her also allows their large community to vote on some of the images that really spoke to them. The People's Choice winners are also selected in each category, and this joyous family portrait taken by Belle Verdiglione Photography out of Perth, Australia nabbed the overall winner spot. And we can absolutely see why! There is so much emotion here, from relief to joy to surprise. Big sis's hand reaching out to touch the new baby? Just the sweetest thing we've ever seen. Love this photo, and love that this family has such a memorable first portrait together.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/The Mothering Doula
There is just something so hauntingly beautiful about a stark black and white photograph. And when the subject is as darling as a newborn baby, it's even better. This amazing image was captured by the amazing photographers with The Mothering Doula in Charlotte, North Carolina. It's a very simple image, there is but one subject, but holy smokes is it captivating. The play of light on the face, the cord wrapped around the wee foot, the gentle cradle of the loving arm around the baby. This one is really special, and we can see why it spoke to so many people.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Hello Bébé Full Spectrum Birth Services
Oh man. Is there anything sweeter than a fresh new babe snuggled warm and safe in papa's arms? Since dad's are more spectators than active participants during the childbirth process, their big moments come after the baby is born and mama is resting. This is when they can whip off their shirt and have some of that precious skin-to-skin with their new little one, and the pictures of these moments are always so incredibly beautiful. Ashley of Hello Bébé Full Spectrum Birth Services in Toronto, Canada provides a full range of birth doula and photography services, and if this image and these serene faces are any indication, she has a whole lot of really satisfied customers.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Renate van Lith Fotografie
When we think of birth photography, we normally think of a documentation of one specific type of childbirth. But childbirth can happen in different ways, and c-sections can be beautiful and should be documented as well. We love that parents are making their c-sections what they want them to be, and that can mean hiring a photographer to document the event. This amazing shot from Renate van Lith Fotografie from the Netherlands won a People's Choice award in the Hospital category and for good reason - it's a gorgeous image of a baby making their way into the world with a little help from a caring medical staff. That squishy face is absolutely darling!
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Dora Barens Geboortefotografie
There are pros and cons to hospital births, just as there are pros and cons to having your baby at home. But we have to say, we don't know of a hospital anywhere where a picture like this would be possible. Now, we're not saying getting a stunning birth photo is reason enough to have a home birth, not at all! But Dora Barens Geboortefotografie shows here what's possible when you are in your own space during this life-changing event. You can see the connection between this couple, and the way the sunlight is peeking through their faces? Takes our breath away.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Alexandria Mooney Photography
Childbirth is a wondrous, awesome thing. But you know what? So is the postpartum period. Not in the same awe-inspiring way, not exactly. But in a "Wow, my body is stronger than I could have ever realized and I am capable of more than I know" kind of way. It can be difficult to accept and love your postpartum body, which is why paying homage to it with photographs like this one by Alexandria Mooney Photography is so incredibly important. Every stretch mark, every scar, every single physical change was the result of you doing the unthinkable. You made a human person! Document your postpartum body, and marvel at your strength.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Salt City Birth & Newborn Photography
Oh maaaaaaaaan. The feels! This one gives us all the feels. We love how the background is sort of out of focus, so your eyes immediately go to mom and dad and new baby. And mom's face is exquisite. There's a moment, right after your baby is born, where the happiness and relief and pure joy just takes over. It's the most amazing moment, and the amazing photographers at Salt City Birth & Newborn Photography captured it perfectly with this 3rd place finisher. That smile is priceless, and we can literally feel the joy radiating from this new family. Just perfect.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Kendal Blacker Photography
Now, this photograph is really something. We feel like this is one some photographers would render in black and white, to make it more palatable to some people. But you know what? Childbirth isn't black and white. It's messy and bloody and hard, and it's refreshing to see a photographer embrace that. Kendal Blacker Photography nabbed 2nd place in the Color category for this stunning image of a mother and child bonding after the birth. The water is red, the cord is still attached to baby and placenta, and it's a very real capture of the aftermath of childbirth. But those little fingers holding onto mama's bra? That's the good stuff right there.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Hanna Hill Photography
We seriously could not love this photo by Hanna Hill Photography any more than we do! This is one of those pictures that mom and dad will treasure forever. The thing we love most is that even though this is in the Postpartum category, you don't even see mom or dad. This photo is about the love between siblings, and welcoming a new life into the world. The way all those boys are looking at that little baby is enough to bring tears to our eyes. Some people think that childbirth could be traumatic for kids to witness or participate in. But just look at what can happen when the whole family is there - you get a priceless picture of all your kiddos together for the first time.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Jody Deijnen Photography
Another vote for having the whole family around! Sure, you might want the kids to be in another room as your labor enters transition and things start to get ... intense. But once the baby arrives, and everyone can gather around, you get this entire welcoming committee. Jody Deijnen Photography was recognized with a People's Choice win in the Postpartum category for this beautiful image of a loving family welcoming the new baby. We love the flowers in the water, the calmness of the whole scene. But the way the baby's eyes seem to be taking it all in is what makes this picture really special.
Image: Birth Becomes Her/Coastal Lifestyles Photography
This one is hard and beautiful and we wanted to include it because it highlights a difficult reality. Not every single birth ends the way you want it. Not every story has the happiest of endings. Sometimes, things don't go according to plan. But there is beauty here. So much beauty. This mama is hurting and struggling and probably so overwhelmed, but the photographers at Coastal Lifestyles Photography captured this moment because it is still beautiful. It is still motherhood! It's a very real glimpse at what many, many families deal with after childbirth. Our hearts hurt for this mama, we know how hard those moments were. But we are in awe of her strength.