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    When is the best time to book you?

    As a general rule - as early as possible! I only take on a limited number of births per year so I can focus completely on them and give every family my all. I typically only work with one or two families a month, so I encourage you to contact me pretty much as soon as you know you’re pregnant.

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    Do we get to meet before my birth?

    Absolutely. Birth is an incredibly intimate experience; I do not want us to meet for the first time on the day and I’m sure you don’t either! Getting to know you helps me when planning how to best document your journey, as well as calm any fears you might have about the process. These meetings can last anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours depending on what we talk about and the level of detail you would like to go into about the process/what to expect. I’m also happy to communicate via email, text message, over the phone or video chat - however you want! Everyone is unique. I’m flexible and here for you.

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    How far will you travel for births?

    I’m a Perth birth photographer based north of the river. I service all NOR homes and hospitals, including my fave KEMH family birth centre, and I’m happy travelling about half an hour south of Perth CBD. Mt Lawley birth photography? Subiaco family birth centre? Joondalup home birth? Let’s get talking. But if you happen to be outside this general area, still reach out. We can chat about your plans and if we don’t work out, I’d be delighted to refer you to a birth photographer based closer to you.

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    How many births have you documented?

    I have had the absolute honour of documenting twenty-one beautiful births as of March 2021. Each birth was totally unique and holds a special place in my heart. To date, I’ve photographed two births in a public hospital with one of those being a VBA2C, three in a private hospital one of which was a maternal assisted cesarean, four home births through an independent midwife, five through KEMH Perth family birth centre and seven through the Perth Community Midwifery Program. Documenting such a wide variety of scenarios and surroundings has given me invaluable experience in capturing all kinds of journeys - I’m prepared for anything!

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    Do you photograph everything?

    I consider myself equal parts artist and documentary photographer. My aim is to capture the connections I discover during your birth journey. Raw moments of power, honest moments of surrender and beautiful flashes of pure emotion, like when you meet your little baby for the first time. Sometimes, there might be moments I miss. I can’t alter the way my eyes see the world; this is where my artist side comes in and it’s part of what makes my work unique. All digital images are delivered in a private online gallery. You have absolute control over which images you keep between yourselves and which ones you choose to share. I will just say that I’ve found it so much easier to delete a photo of a moment after it’s passed rather than wishing you had a photo of a moment now lost.

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    How do you handle dark birth spaces?

    I use the very best photography equipment on the market for low light. I’ve also invested a lot of time into learning the (dark) art of how to beautifully edit low-light images. I work very well with the available light in the room, but I also make good use of my flash if necessary. I make it a goal to be as unobtrusive and gentle as possible, so will always bounce the flash off the ceiling or behind me. You want to hire a Perth birth photographer who knows how to handle themselves around this delicate moment and that’s why this is my speciality. So don’t worry. Make your birth space everything you want it to be. I’ll adapt.

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    How do I know when to tell you to come?

    I usually arrive sometime during ‘active’ labour. I find it’s generally best to go by how frequent your contractions are, how intense they feel and if they are building. My theory is that if it’s intense enough for the midwife, it’s intense enough for me. We all know how unpredictable birth is, so I use this as a sort of cheat sheet, as opposed to dilation. Having said that, I believe communication during the process is key; I prefer to have two phone calls, one when you think you’re in labour and another right after you’ve called your midwife to attend. The more I know, the more prepared I can be and of course, I’d rather be six hours early than six minutes late!

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    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 caesarean (you can read about her journey here). This was pre-arranged with her obstetrician, anaesthetist and private hospital. I must stress that discussing my presence in theatre with your care provider is essential. I have a letter that I can supply to you, but as the birthing person it is up to you to advocate for me to be by your side during birth.

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    What happens if I go into labour before 38 weeks?

    Good old-fashioned communication is the key here! I require a minimum of one hour to get to your birth location once you give me the second phone call to let me know you need me. Contacting me at the first signs of labour, no matter how far along you are, will help me to reschedule any appointments, rejig my family life and make sure I’m ready to go when your baby is. I’m an experienced Perth birth photographer, it comes with the territory. Even if it ends up being a trial run for the real thing, I’d rather you let me know than not.

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    What if my labour is really long?

    My fee is full coverage. That means active labour all the way through to ‘golden hour’, which is up to two hours postpartum. Labour times are different for everyone, I get that. There is no hourly limit; some labours can be up to and over 24 hours, while others are as short as two. After the 24-hour mark, I reserve the right to call in a back-up so I can eat and rest if necessary, but don’t worry; I guarantee your birth will remain continuously covered.

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    Do you offer payment plans?

    I do indeed. I require a $500 non-refundable deposit to hold your birth spot. This fee is due three days after signing your contract and it’s the only payment due until your third trimester. After that, 50% of the remainder 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 or bi-monthly. You know what works for your finances and your family. I'm keen to support any financial plan that works best for you, so don’t be afraid to chat to me about it. My other option is an interest-free repayment plan over 12 months through PayRight. I wholeheartedly believe professional birth photography should be attainable for every family; this is why my payment plans are available and as flexible as possible.

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    What if you miss my birth?

    Birth is unpredictable! Missing a birth can happen, but they’re rare. In the event of illness or emergency, I work with a pool of talented birth photographers who I wholeheartedly trust and won’t hesitate to 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 post-birth journey as possible. I also offer either a ‘fresh 48’ or documentary newborn session to create a full gallery of images.

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    How soon will I see my images?

    I will deliver a handful of hand-edited images within 24 to 48 hours of the birth as an ‘oxytocin booster’ so you can relive it right away. Your full gallery takes a little longer, especially when you factor in my own children! I try my best to deliver by four weeks after your birth, but because I hand-edit each and every image with care and precision, gallery turnaround can be up to six weeks.

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    Will you post my photos on the internet?

    I only publicly share photos for which I have explicit approval. 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 consistently my top priority. The images I choose to share speak about connection. Primal, honest and enthralling. I share them in the hope that they'll empower other women preparing to birth their own babies. Birth is natural, inspiring and beautiful. It should not be feared.

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    When do I receive my images?

    I deliver your images to you digitally, via a beautiful password-protected gallery where you'll be able to download both high and low-resolution images. You can also select a ‘favourites’ list to order your heirloom-quality professional prints.

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    How many images should I expect in my gallery?

    It varies from shoot to shoot. I guarantee a minimum of 100, but you can be sure I’ll never exclude a shot that turned out incredible! My process involves hand-editing every beautiful image that I uncover (which isn’t a duplicate); all these then go into your gallery.

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

    Absolutely! Most maternal healthcare providers want to help you create the birthing space you envision, so letting them know as soon as possible is always beneficial. Thanks to the efforts and work of many incredible birth photographers all over the world, this art form is becoming 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 safely alongside them, making your birthing experience the absolute best it can be.

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    What if I experience loss after booking?

    Unfortunately, loss does happen. It's devastating and heartbreaking. In the event of loss, all payments are of course fully refundable. However, some families wish to continue with their birth package and photograph the birth as it naturally unfolds. You hold the best answer for you at that time, but please know you can reach out to me at any time to talk things through.

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    What happens if things don’t go to plan?

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

     

    When we work together in the lead-up to the birth, I will always ask you: if there is an emergency situation during labour or birth, do you want me to keep documenting? This is such a crucial question and I do not ask it lightly. I also never get in the way of medical professionals and if they ask me to stop photographing, I will.

     

    For an emergency cesarean, the chances that the medical staff will let me in theatre are slim, but it will come down to you advocating for me to be there. If you desire it, we can only try. Otherwise, I set my camera to auto and give it to your support person to operate during your birth. I should then be able to meet you in recovery and photograph moments from that point on as I usually would. I consider the documentation of a caesarean birth as equally important as any other type of birth!

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    How long have you been a photographer?

    Since I was old enough to hold a camera! I was given my first SLR in high school and I’ve been hooked ever since. I spent a lot of my days holed up in the darkroom, developing and processing my own negatives and prints. I then went on to study a BA in design at uni, majoring in Photography with Honours in 2007. I’ve been a professional Perth Metro birth photographer since 2018!

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

Perth Birth Photographer | Maternity | Postpartum | Newborn | Family

Copyright © Amber May Creative // hello@ambermay.com.au