Frequently asked questions

When is the best time to book you?

It’s best to reach out to me as early as possible! I only accept a limited number of births per year and I generally only work with one or two families per month, so I encourage you to contact me as soon as you know you’re pregnant.

Do we get to meet before my birth?

Absolutely! Birth is incredibly intimate, so I want to make sure that our energies flow and calm any fears you might have. By getting to know you personally it also helps me get a great understanding of how I can best document your birth. These meetings can last anywhere from 20 minutes up to 2 hours depending on what we talk about. I love being transparent with my families, so please feel free to ask me anything. That being said, I’m also happy to communicate via email, text message, over the phone, even video chat if you want. I know everyone is different, so I’m flexible based on what’s comfortable for you.

How far will you travel for births?

I’m based north of the river in Perth, Western Australia. I service all NOR homes and hospitals including my fav KEMH family birth centre and generally I’m happy to travel half an hour south of Perth CBD. If you’re outside of this, still reach out. We can chat about your plans and if it doesn’t suit, I’m happy to refer you to a birth photographer based closer to you.

How many births have you documented?

I have had the absolute honour of documenting 11 beautiful births as of April 2020 (public hospital – 2, Private hospital - 2, Independent Midwife - 1, KEMH family birth centre – 3, Community Midwifery Program - 3).

Do you photograph everything?

I consider myself an artist and photographer, my aim is to photograph the connections I see during your birth journey. Raw moments of power, honest moments of surrender and beautiful moments like meeting your little babe for the very first time. Sometimes there can be missed moments. I can’t alter the way my eyes see the world, this is part of what makes my work unique. All digital images are delivered in an online gallery that only you have access to. You have absolute control over which of those images you keep for your eyes only, and which you choose to share. What I will say is that it’s so much easier to delete a photo of a moment after it’s taken then to wish you had a photo of that moment once it’s gone forever.

How do you handle dark birth spaces?

I have the very best photography equipment on the market for low light. I’ve also taken a lot of time to learn how to beautifully hand edit low light images. I work very well with the light that is already available in the room but I also use a flash that sits on top of my camera. I always bounce the flash off the ceiling or behind me. It's very unobtrusive and gentle. Once you’re in your zone you won’t notice a thing. Don’t worry about me - make your birth space everything you want it to be. I’ll adapt. This is why birth photography is my speciality.

How do I know when to tell you to come?

I usually arrive sometime during ‘active’ labour. As a guide I find it's best to go by how frequent your contractions are, how intense they feel and if they are building. My theory is if it’s intense enough for the midwife, it’s intense enough for my presence as well. This really helps me to arrive in enough time. We all know how unpredictable birth is, so this is my cheat sheet to follow instead of dilation. In saying that, aside from text messages I prefer to have at least two phone calls, once when you think you're in labour and again when you ring your midwife to attend your birth. This is where communication is really key, the more I know from you the more prepared I can be. I’d rather be 6 hours too early than 6 mins too late.

What if I’m planning a cesarean birth?

So far I’ve been fortunate enough to accompany one incredible mama into theatre for her maternal assisted cesarean (you can read about her journey here) this was pre-arranged with her obstetrician, anaesthetist and private hospital. Speaking with your care provider to discuss my presence in theatre is paramount. I have a letter that I can supply you with but as the birthing person it’s up to you to advocate for me to be there with you during birth.

What happens if I go into labour before 38 weeks?

Good communication is key! I require a minimum of 1 hour to get to your birth location once you give me the second phone call to let me know you need me with you. Contacting me at the first signs of labour no matter how far along you are helps me to reschedule any appointments and family life and make sure I’m ready to go when you tell me you need me there. Even if it ends up being a practice run, I’d rather you let me know than not.

What if my labour is really long?

My fee is full coverage that means active labour through to ‘golden hour’ which is up to 2 hours postpartum. Labour times differ greatly between individuals and I understand that. There is no hourly limit, some labours can be up to and over 24 hours, others can be as short as 2. After the 24 hour mark I reserve the right to call in a back-up to sleep, eat, and rest if necessary, but your birth remains covered continuously.

What happens if things don’t go to plan?

Ideally you should discuss with your care provider before your birth about what happens in the event of an emergency. This way you know what to expect and can make a preference list to cover all avenues.

In my questionnaire and when we meet, I always ask you: if there is an emergency situation during labour or birth, do you want me to keep documenting? This is such an important question. I also never get in the way of medical professionals and if they ask me to stop photographing I will.

For an emergency caesarean, the chances they let me in are slim but it's all about you advocating for me to be there, we can only try. Otherwise I set my camera to auto and give it to your support person to use during your birth. I should then be able to meet you in recovery and photograph moments from that point as usual.

The documentation of a caesarean birth is just as important as documenting any other type of birth!

What if you miss my birth?

Birth is unpredictable! Missed births can happen but they’re rare. In the event of illness or emergency, I work with a pool of talented birth photographers that I wholeheartedly trust and will send in my place. If I miss your birth because labour moves super fast, I still come to your place of birth and document as much of your after birth journey as I can. I also offer either a fresh 48 or documentary newborn session to create a full gallery of images.

How soon will I see my images?

Within 24 to 48 hours after your birth I will deliver a handful of hand edited images as an Oxytocin Booster to relive right away. Your full gallery takes a bit of time, especially with children at home. I try my best to deliver within 4 weeks but because I hand edit each and every image, gallery turn around can be up to 6 weeks.

Will you post my photos on the internet?

I only share photos publicly that I have explicit approval for. This means my families have given me enthusiastic consent. I absolutely respect and honour the boundaries of the birthing person and their family. Your comfort is top priority always. The images I share speak about connection. Raw, honest and beautiful. I share them in the hope that they'll empower other women preparing to birth their babies. Birth is beautiful and inspiring and shouldn't be feared.

When do I receive my images?

I deliver your images digitally in a beautiful password protected gallery that you’re able to download in both high resolution and low resolution. You can then select a favourites list to order your heirloom quality professional prints.

How many images should I expect in my gallery?

It varies, I guarantee a minimum of 100 but will never not give you images that turned out incredible. I hand edit every image that turns out beautifully and isn't a duplicate and these go into your gallery.

Should I let my care provider know I’ve hired a birth photographer?

Absolutely, most maternal healthcare providers want you to be able to create the birthing space you envision so letting them know as soon as possible always helps. Thanks to a lot of incredible birth photographers all over the world this form of art is becoming more and more normalised every day. I’m professionally certified through Birth Photographer and a proud member of the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers, I also understand the importance of the medical profession and how to work alongside them to make your birthing experience the best it can be.

Do you offer payment plans?

Absolutely. I require a $500 non-refundable deposit to hold your birth spot. This fee is due 3 days after signing your contract and is the only thing due until your third trimester. After that $1500 is due by 37 week’s gestation with the final payment due 4 weeks after your estimated due date. You can make payments weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly. You know what works for your finances and your family. I'm here to support a financial plan that works best for you. My other option is an interest-free repayment plan over twelve months through PayRight. I wholeheartedly believe professional birth photography should be attainable for every family, this is why payment plans are available.

How long have you been a photographer?

Since I was old enough to hold a camera! Once I got to high school I was given my first SLR and was hooked. I spent a lot of my days in the darkroom, developing and processing my own negatives and prints. I then went on to study a bachelor of design at university majoring in Photography with honours in 2007. I’ve been specialising in birth photography since 2018.

What if I experience loss after booking?

Unfortunatly loss does happen. It's devastating and heat breaking. In the event of loss, all payments are fully refundable. However, some families wish to continue with their birth package and photograph the birth as it unfolds. You hold the best answer for you at that time.

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Amber May is an award winning birth photographer based in Perth, Western Australia.

Perth Birth Photographer // Including - maternity, postpartum, newborn and family photography

Copyright © Amber May Creative //