Birth photography details for Portland Newborn Photographer, Sommessa. Mel specializes in maternity, birth, newborn, and family photography in Portland, Oregon.
+ How far in advance should we book our birth session with you?
Due to the on call nature of birth photography, I take a limited number of births each month. If you choose me to document this day, it's best to book your estimated due date as early as you can. A non-refundable hold-the-date fee is required to be added to my calendar.
+ Will I meet you before the birth?
I'll meet with you when you're ready to book your session. It's important that we are comfortable with each other and I ask that your partner comes along as well. Meeting allows me to answer your questions before you make the initial payment. We'll continually be checking in before the birth.
+ Do I need to talk with my care provider to see if they'll allow a photographer?
Yes! It's your responsibility to make sure your care provider and birth location will allow photography. Please verify the official policies with your provider and birth location, which might differ.
+ What is your on-call schedule?
I am available for your birth starting two weeks before your due date through two weeks after your due date. If labor begins unexpectedly outside of that time period, I encourage families to still contact me and I will do everything in my power to be there to photograph.
+ What happens when I think I'm in labor?
You'll connect with me by phone when you think labor is beginning at home, then again when you are heading to the birth location (excluding homebirth mamas), and also when it's confirmed you're in active labor. My goal is to get to the birth location when you are in active labor and have progressed to about 4-5cm dilated (if you choose to be checked), day or night. It's important to keep in touch with me as early as labor begins so I can get there in time to capture the birth.
+ How long do you stay?
Usually I leave after all of the "big moments": the birth, first latch, newborn exam, etc. Typically I stick around for 1-2 hours.
+ Do you use flash?
Typically, no I try not to. If your birth space is dimly lit, that's part of your story. In order to photograph your birth, I will need some light. Even the nicest cameras out there can't photograph in complete darkness. I may turn on lamps or make an adjustment to the curtains so I can capture your birth without using flash. I will ask you before making changes to your birthing space. If flash is needed, please know that it is bounce flash and not direct flash. My goal is to document your birth with the best quality of photos possible while still respecting your birthing space.
+ How are payments handled?
Birth photography requires a 50% non-refundable retainer to book with the remaining 50% due when I go on call.
+ Do you provide doula services too?
At this time I offer very "light" doula support along with birth photography. It's very important to me that families feel supported during the birth and my doula heart wants to step in to assist whenever that extra support is needed. It is near impossible to document the birth and support the family entirely at the same time, so there's a chance that will impact the # of images you receive. If you are looking for a doula who is able to 100% focus on you and your family, I recommend reaching out to my friend Rachael over at Milk & Thistle Doula Services.