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What is it about birth coverage that makes you love it?
For me, it's all about the immediate impact the photographs & video make on the family. When a client says she felt weak, but the photographs & video made her see the strength others saw. To be inspired by yourself is life-changing. I live for hearing that something about seeing her birth story helped her change her self-perception. Also... spouses/partners. Sometimes they may agree with birth coverage at first because the amazing pregnant woman in their life wants it, yet they become my biggest supporters afterward. They love being present instead of worrying about documenting. I also thoroughly enjoy being a part of the birth team. Because I've trained as a doula, at times I'll put on that "hat" (when needed). There are few things more rewarding than contributing positively to a woman's labor experience.
What is it like to have you in my birth space?
My first priority at a birth (even before 'getting the shots') is anticipate the needs of a laboring mother. Upon arrival, I quietly set my bags in a corner, ready my camera, and slowly & calmly begin to document (or quickly, if you're pushing... ;) ). Many times I'll walk into the room without being acknowledged, and that's perfectly acceptable (and to be expected)! I want a laboring mother to know she can keep focusing on the work she has in front of her. Eliminating distractions and interacting only when necessary/requested allows the labor & delivery process to carry on efficiently and makes it possible for me to document a more authentic story. I also work to eliminate possibilities of being a distraction by bringing minimal (but powerful) equipment, rarely (if ever) using flash/lighting, keeping mechanical noises down, giving my clients space, and working hard to stay aware of my client's progress and level of awareness of my presence. We may chat between contractions, if desired. Other times, we may not even look at each other until you grin up at me with a baby in your arms, and ask me "Did you get it!!??"
What is your experience with capturing birth?
Birth has been a prominent theme in my life. As a young girl, I looked forward to the day I would become a mom, and always wondered what it would be like. I even contemplated themes such as fertility and loss from a very young age. Capturing my first birth in 2011 was a triumph! I felt I had found my calling, and to this day, many births later, I still feel honored when parents-to-be ask me to join them.
Since beginning to attend births, I have attended countless classes, meetings, and trainings that have added greatly to my understanding of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. I have helped plan & carry out birth conferences, spoken about birth photography at local & international conferences, and completed birth doula training. This experience, along with continued interaction with the birth community, allows me to be a resource & support to my clients as I document their birth story.
How does your on-call period work?
I am available & excited to support clients from day 1, throughout the entire pregnancy. The official on-call time is the 4-weeks surrounding the due date. From the time of booking, I am available via phone 24/7. While on-call, I make several changes that allow me to respond more quickly - staying in town with 24/7 cell phone access, keeping equipment packed & my vehicle filled with gas, and bringing equipment along when away from home! Being on-call is a serious (and exciting) thing for me.
How soon do I contact you and what do you do to avoid missing a birth?
We’ll keep in touch throughout your pregnancy – as much or as little as you’d like. I am more than happy to receive news of early signs of labor (cervix dilation, baby descending, discharge/mucous plug updates, Braxton-hicks, water breaking, etc…). Once labor begins, I expect 2 main points of contact. Early labor (once contractions have settled into a steady pattern and are getting stronger & closer together). And the “come now" call, once you’re in active labor and/or would like me to head your way.
Though I work hard to never miss a birth, the unpredictable nature of birth can cause some worry. We can address any potential situation in more detail when we go through the paperwork to book your due date, but rest assured that, though unlikely, in the unforeseen event that I am not present for the actual delivery, I will either A) Have a competent, professional backup present, or B) Start documenting upon arrival, and stay extra time to capture more footage/images.
Is birth photography & video allowed in the hospital?
In my experience, hospitals & care providers are very welcoming to professional birth photographers & videographers! Since starting to document births in 2011, a care provider has never asked me to leave during a vaginal birth, and have even agreed to clients' requests to document in the operating room for a C-section on several occasions. I have immense respect for maternity care providers. Their job at a birth is more vital than mine. I encourage clients to have discussions with their care-provider, ensuring they know they've hired a professional to document the birth. From the moment I arrive, I work to establish a comfortable relationship with staff & providers who attend you, to make sure they see me as a hired professional who respects their role, and works around them to fulfill my own. If your care provider ever does ask me to leave the room, I will stay nearby until I am able to join you again. For C-section deliveries where I am unable to accompany you into the O.R., video clips or photographs taken by another person (a nurse, or spouse/partner) can be added into the final film. If I am not present during a part of labor or delivery, I will still be able to tell a lovely story with the footage & images we do have.
I am concerned about privacy. How graphic are the pictures/video?
Every family’s comfort level is different. Clients' images & video are tailored to their personal preferences. I have worked within some very specific modesty requests, and am happy to accommodate them for clients. I work hard to capture angles that tell the full story while respecting these requests. After booking, you will fill-out a questionnaire that goes over these preferences. I strive to create a short film that you feel comfortable (and excited) to share with others (friends, family, etc…). While KFS loves sharing clients' birth stories, KFS clients are in complete control over what photographs/video clips are shown (if any).
For those who would like 2 versions of their birth film, KFS has a perfect collection for you - with both a longer documentary film & a shorter, creative "family-friendly" film!
Do you primarily do home births or hospital births?
I enjoy capturing all birth stories – and have had the pleasure of documenting births in hospitals, birth centers, and in clients' homes. The beauty of a medication-free birth is that it is easier for me to "disappear" as the laboring mother focuses on the task ahead of her. I love the variety of home birth. It's always different. There is movement from room to room, variations in backgrounds, etc and it makes capturing the whole scene exciting. On the other hand, the simplicity of the hospital room can lead to a focus on expressions, interactions & dialogue. If a mom chooses to have an epidural, there might be more conversation & interaction with those in the room... about her pregnancy, the start of labor, or taking birth weight guesses, and more!
No matter where or how a couple chooses to welcome their little one, I support them wholly, and look forward to the day with excitement!
What is the editing process like for video?
I start reviewing the video footage & images the next day and usually send a sneak peek your way. Creating your film is a process that takes several weeks. It begins with watching all clips multiple times to select the best clips. It continues as the selected clips are reviewed again, and clips are re-ordered to tell your story. The visual story is watched & re-watched as music is reviewed & selected. After a final round of reviews & edits, the (longer) documentary film is complete. This process is repeated, with more creative editing & music selection, to build your short film. Once complete (30-45 days after delivery), your film(s) are uploaded to a private gallery to view & download. Changes to the short film can be requested within 7 days of delivery.
Do I pay the whole fee upfront?
To book (and officially add your due date to the KFS calendar), you'll pay $800 upfront, and the collection balance by 36 weeks. We're happy to talk to families who long for the KFS experience, but need an alternative payment schedule or a baby registry to allow others to donate toward their package. See an example here: http://www.kalimana.com/baby-weber.
If you’re not yet pregnant or waiting on a baby, ask about the “Baby Savings Plan.” This program allows families to start paying for their birth story prior to pregnancy or adoption.
How far away can you travel for birth?
All birth packages include travel up to 50 miles away from Murfreesboro, TN at no extra cost (extended for births at the Farm or Infinity Birth Center). Out-of-town births (nationally or international) are welcomed! For clients further away, I aim to be present by your due date or to begin travel at signs of early labor. I am more than happy to travel to you to capture your baby’s birth. Click the link below to check availability & to talk about all the details of out-of-town births.
Do you charge hourly or a flat rate?
Birth collections are all-inclusive, with no hourly limit to coverage during active labor & delivery, and up to 2 hours after delivery. You're welcome to add on options to extend postpartum coverage (for sibling meetings, family visits, or homecomings).
Do you have any references?
Upon request, I am more than happy to pass on the information of clients and care providers I have worked with.