My First Birth | St Catharines Birth Photographer

October 10, 2018

If you know me, you know my family means everything to me. We spend a lot of time together and are actively involved in each others lives. So it is safe to say that my sister Sarah’s life has influenced me on numerous occasions and has lead me to choose newborn photography and ultimately birth photography as my career.

My First Birth  |  Elora Williams Photography

In my last year of university Sarah surprised the family with special news that she was pregnant. The thought of having a little niece or nephew to cuddle and kiss overwhelmed my thoughts. I decided that once the baby was born I was going to photograph the mess out of him/her. So I set about learning all I could about newborn photography. I looked up articles, watched videos, purchased tutorials/workshops, anything I could do to learn how to get the best photos. I even had the privilege to apprentice with Deanna while I was still living in Toronto, which boosted my confidence and paved the way for my future in newborn photography.

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God’s timing is amazing and allowed for me to be at my nephew Ben’s birth. Sarah went into labor while I was still at home (in the Bahamas) at the end of my Christmas break. Her doctor was so accepting and allowed me to photograph the labor, except for the final moments of pushing because of the hospital’s policy[. The atmosphere in the delivery room was very relaxed which was perfect for me because I had no knowledge of labor or of how to photograph it.

My First Birth  |  Elora Williams Photography

Sarah was induced in the early morning and the extended family arrived at the hospital shortly after. However, hospitals in Nassau are very strict and Doctors Hospital would only allow two people in the room during labor. I believe this created a more intimate setting for Sarah and Daniel, which allowed them to focus on each other and the little life they were about to bring into the world. Labor progressed slowly and Sarah was forced to spend a lot of time in bed because of an epidural.

My First Birth  |  Elora Williams Photography

The hospital room we were in was very limited with available natural light. There was only one window, however I did not feel comfortable or experienced enough to ask about opening the blinds. I was forced to work with dim lighting and was pushed out of my comfort zone. It was definitely eye opening to how unpredictable birth and the setting in which it takes place in can be.

My First Birth  |  Elora Williams Photography

Many times throughout Sarah’s labor I was hit with intense emotions but nothing compared to how overcome with emotions I became when she was in the final moments of labor. There is something just so powerful about a woman giving birth to her child. To see the hard work that she and her body goes through, and then to see mother holding baby and the look of triumph on her face. This event seven years ago lit a spark in me that burned dimly at first and over time became a passionate flame for documenting birth through photographs.

My First Birth  |  Elora Williams Photography

Benjamin was born almost seven years ago, but I didn't get into birth photography in Nassau because of the limitations put forth by the hospitals. Three years after Ben’s birth Sarah gave birth to Abigail. I had every intention of photographing her birth, however she was born in Princess Margaret Hospital which is even more limiting with what is allowed during labor. I had to get permission from the hospital to photograph the birth. Sarah had the same doctor who once again had no problem with me capturing the birth story, but the nurse assigned to Sarah’s labor just would not allow me in the room. It was very frustrating at the time and I still regret to this day not being able to photograph Abby’s birth. It has made me more aware of what to look for in a birthing facility and to be more vocal in what I desire during labor. I encourage all you expecting mommies out there to do the same! Take your birth story into your own hands and have the type of labor you wish to have!

Interview with a Doula | St Catharines Birth Photographer

October 1st, 2018

doula, also known as a birth companion, birth coach or post-birth supporter, is a non-medical person who assists a woman before, during, or after childbirth, to provide emotional support and physical help if needed. They also may provide support to the mother's partner and family.

I met Cody earlier this year when I started volunteering with the Young Moms’ group at Youth Unlimited Niagara. I have had the pleasure of working alongside her and learning all about the wonderful and caring person she is. Earlier this summer I was even fortunate enough to get Cody in front of my camera. She has such playful personality and was a blast to work with! You can find Cody at Storybook Birth Doula Services. Below is an interview that I had with Cody where she breaks down what it is like to be a doula and what future mothers can expect from one.

Why did you become a doula?

I became a doula because I was working with a young mother's prenatal class and we were seeing these young women treated differently because they didn’t fit into the ‘traditional’ rolls our culture tends to associate with pregnancy. How a mother is treated during her pregnancy and while she is in labor can have a long-lasting impact on how she sees herself as a mother. I wanted to help equip these young women to be able to advocate for themselves with current, evidence-based information.

 

How many births have you attended?

I’ve attended 16 births in just over 3 years.

What training did you receive? Are you certified? If so, from where?

I am currently certifying as a Birth Doula through DONA International, as well as certifying as a Childbirth Educator through CAPPA.

Do you attend all types of births? Hospital, home, etc?

Currently, all of my clients have had hospital births (with both midwives as well as obstetricians), however two of my upcoming clients are hoping to deliver at home. I wouldn’t participate in an unattended birth.

How do you work with healthcare providers and hospital staff?

It’s usually a little tense when you’re first introduced as a Doula because the healthcare provider doesn’t know you. I’ve been very fortunate to have gotten to know the nurses and healthcare providers at our hospital. They know I’m not going to step outside my scope of practice, and only wish to assist my client and them to the best of my abilities.

How do you work with the partner?

I like to make them the main support for the laboring person (if that’s what everyone’s wishes are). I’ll show them the same techniques and touches I would use to help the laboring person, supply them with as much or as little information as they desire, and make myself available to answer their questions as I would their partner’s.


What does your pricing include?

  • Two prenatal visits where we’ll discuss everything from birth preferences and special wishes to the different practices and procedures offered at the various hospitals in our area (including pain reduction - both physical and medical, coping mechanisms and comfort measure).

  • On-going informational support via phone, text, email and social media. This becomes 24 hour support once a client has reached their 27th week.

  • Labour, the birth and immediate postpartum.

  • Two postpartum visits to discuss the birth experience, assist with breastfeeding (if desired), answer non-medical questions regarding newborn care and to see how everyone is settling in.

This is just a basic idea, as all contracts are as unique as the clients. Some laboring people might need more or less care, and that’s established typically during a free consultation.

How long are you on call for a birth?

As of the 37th week, I am available 24/7 and remain that way until either the client has delivered their child or they’ve reached their 42nd week. Anytime I am unavailable (such as a pre-set social engagement, or family emergency) my back-up doula will be on call.

Do you offer any additional services? (Birth photography, placenta encapsulation, lactation consulting, yoga, massage therapy)

No, though I can and will offer suggestions as to other people who do offer these Services. I’m also looking forward to adding pre-natal classes of my own soon!

How many clients do you book a month?

Typically I’ll book no more than 2-3 clients a month, depending on their due dates

How would you describe your doula “style”? What do you see as your strength?

My doula style is very fluid, as in I will adapt to what a laboring person and their partners need as best possible. Though trained and knowledgeable when it comes to pregnancy and birth, I realize that I’m just a spectator in the grand scheme of things. How a laboring person experiences their pregnancy and delivery will be something that they will always remember and I want them to remember it as authentically and positively as possible.

What do you do when you are not doulaing?

When I’m not doulaing, I’m a mom to three amazing and energetic kids; Chloe-Lee (7), Eli (5) and Emmett (3), and happily married to Kevin. I’m a volunteer with Youth Unlimited Niagara, helping to facilitate two groups. Our Young & Pregnant in Niagara group is a free prenatal course aimed at young mothers (think 23 and under) that covers the whole pregnancy and the first few postpartum months and the Young Moms group is a place for younger mothers and their children to meet and interact in a safe, non-judgemental location, enjoying a variety of activities. I also work part-time as an office administrator with The Play Clinic. In whatever spare time I have left I absolutely love reading, cross-stitching and Netflix.




Commonly Asked Birth Photography Questions | St Catharines Birth Photographer

September 25th, 2018

Birth photography has been growing in acceptance over the last 10 or so years, however it is not so well known by many still. If you are someone who is interested but still unsure of whether birth photography is right for you check out the list of commonly asked questions below.

Home Birth Family  |  Elora Williams Photography

When should I book with you?

As soon as you decide that you would like to have your birth story photographed! I take two birth clients per month on a first come first serve basis. A retainer holds your place on my calendar.

Can I meet with you to get to know you before hiring you?

Absolutely! I would love to take you out for coffee or tea and answer any more questions you have in person. This would also be a great time to get to know each other as it is important to me that you feel comfortable with me since labor and delivery is so intimate. Fill out this form, and we'll find a time to meet!

When should I inform my doctor about you?

I encourage you to discuss your plans to have a birth photographer present during labor and delivery as early as possible with your doctor so there are no surprises on the day of. Policies differ between doctors and hospitals, and it is important to talk with them about your desire to have a photographer in the room during your labor. When you are admitted to the hospital, please tell your nurses on staff that there will be a photographer in the room and ask them if they feel comfortable being photographed. If they or any of the other staff do not want their faces shown in photos, I can certainly work around that. If they have any other concerns about my being present, I will be happy to speak with them and answer any questions they may have.

Home Birth Exam  |  Elora Williams Photography

How long are you on call?

I go on call when you are 38 weeks pregnant and remain on call until your baby is born. Once I am on call for you my phone is on 24/7. I will never be more than 1 hour away from your planned place of birth and I will not be participating in activities that could prevent me from attending your birth.

When I go into labor, when should I get in contact with you?

I would prefer to be contacted right away when you think labor is beginning. We will remain in contact throughout the early stages of your labor.

What if I go into labor before you are officially on call?

Please, get in contact with me still and I will do my best to make it to your delivery. I can't promise that I will make it but I will do everything in my power to join you and capture your birth story!

Hospital Birth Bonding  |  Elora Williams Photography


What if I go into labor in the middle of the night?

Once you are booked in with me and I am on call, my only goal is to photograph your baby’s birth story. I will have my phone with me at all times and expect to be contacted day or night, no matter what time it is! It is not a bother and is what I am here for.

What happens if you miss the birth?

I will make every effort to arrive with enough time to capture your labor, birth and first hours together. In the event that I miss the birth because of a quick labor I will still join you at the hospital to capture the remainder of your birth story.

When do you arrive?

I like to arrive when my clients are in active labor. I usually like to join you when you are at 6 centimetres, if your care provider is doing cervical checks. If you are not being checked, I arrive when you have an active pattern of contractions that you can't talk or walk through.

Grandmother meeting baby, Birth Photography  |  Elora Williams Photography

How many births do you take each month?

I book 2 births a month. I often book out 3-4 months in advance so don't hesitate to contact me to reserve your spot on the calendar. If you're contacting me near the end of your pregnancy, please know that last-minute spots do occasionally open up.

How long do you stay after baby arrives?

I stay between 1-2 hours postpartum. I like to take pictures of the newborn exam as well as your first experiences breastfeeding. If you are interested in capturing the arrival of siblings or grandparents you will have to arrange for that to take place within the 1-2 hours postpartum.

If the birth occurs in the middle of the night and older siblings or other close family members are not able to be there at that time, I am happy to try to coordinate to come back the next day to capture those special moments!

How graphic will the photos be?

I often get asked "will you take pictures of EVERYTHING??".  I am here to tell your story and I will only take pictures of whatever you want me to capture! Each of my clients is different and each comes to me with their own preferences. I often find creative ways to show what is happening without any nudity. However, if you are interested in having everything captured, I will capture everything (as long as your place of birth allows). If you desire to be more modest, we will discuss your comfort level at our consult and I will respect your wishes. Nothing graphic is ever shared on social media and you have full rights to decide what images are included in your slideshow/film and what is shared publicly.

Birth Measurements  |  Elora Williams Photography


Do you share every birth on social media?

Birth is a beautiful event and I love sharing images of them. However, I absolutely respect families that wish to keep their birth images private. During our consultation, we'll discuss exactly what you do or don't want shared. I will always honour your requests for privacy.

Do you offer gift certificates or payment plans?

For sure! Please contact me for more information.

We are ready to hire you!  How do we get started?

The first step is to get in contact with me so that we can set up a consultation. If you are still on the fence, this is a no-pressure consultation and you are not required to book with me if we meet!





St Catharines Birth Photography Model Call

Sept 3rd, 2018

Just like your wedding day, your baby’s birth will come and go in an instant. How will you remember all the emotions and details of the day?

I thought I was already in love with all things baby.. until I photographed my first birth. How did I not know more about it and why weren't more moms doing it?! Couples focus so much on the before and after of pregnancy, capturing images of the bump and then baby at a week or two of age. But not enough attention is given to the labor aspect of their child's story. I have now photographed three births and with each experience I have grown more in love with birth photography. Every mama should have beautiful pictures of her journey bringing her child into this world, to look back on and remember all that she has accomplished. 

If you need a little more of a nudge here are three reasons you need a birth photographer:

1. You forget.

It is actually common for mothers to not remember the hours before and after their child's delivery, and there is no shame in this. Who can blame her as her body and mind are preoccupied with the miracle of birth! Seeing photographs preserves these memories, helps you to relive moments and remember how you were feeling at a specific part of your birth experience.

2. Fathers should be in photos not taking them.

Dad is just as much a part of the labor experience and should be able to participate 100%. Let him be a part of the memories, not capturing it. When you hire a professional birth photographer you allow this to happen and this also frees dad up to be there for you completely without any distractions. A birth photographer's sole role is to focus on capturing every precious moment so your team can focus on what they were meant to focus on.

3. To have photographs of moments, details and expressions you may miss because you are occupied.

During labor you are so focused on yourself and bringing your baby into the world, just as you should be, that you miss a lot of the other things taking place around you. Having a photographer at your delivery helps you to experience these events without having to actively participate in them. Amidst all of the waiting, motions, coaching, delivery and recovery there are details and events which should be captured for you to be able to enjoy later on. Excited moments shared between family members in the waiting room, the way dad looks at you during labor, your face when you meet your baby for the first time, or experiencing your older child meeting the new baby, to name a few. 

When you book the model call birth session you will receive an in person pre-consultation where we will go over your expectations of birth and all that I provide during labor. Starting at 38 weeks I will be on call, day and night, to capture your entire birthing experience, from active labor, through the first few hours of your new baby’s life in a beautiful and real documentary style. This includes sweet moments such as your baby’s first breath and first cry, cutting the cord, you meeting your little one for the first time, and all the little details about your brand new baby. 

Within two weeks after delivery you will receive 75+ fully edited digital images on USB, which will include both color and black and white images. 

The regular cost of a birth photography session is $1200, however if you book the model call session you will receive it for $400. That is an $800 savings. 

The nature of birth photography requires your photographer to be on call. As a result of this there will only be two (2) slots available for November 2018 and two (2) slots available for January 2019.  Applications are open for submissions starting today and will close on October 1, 2018.