I've been thinking a lot about the kind of birth photographer I am and what I bring to the table.

I can say for sure that being a "fly on the wall" isn't it. That's not me. Not anymore. In the birth photography world, that term is used a lot. When I first started photographing births, being a "fly on the wall" was on the list of things I told myself I needed to be to be good at this job. Not necessarily because I felt pressure by others to be that way, but because I had seen that term mentioned so many times that it just sort of...stuck.

As time has gone on, and I have thought about this term more and more, I have come to realize that it doesn't fit me. And you know what? That's ok.

There are always opportunities to set my camera down during births. I can read the room and figure out when it's time to step out completely, or to, at the very least, set my camera down for a moment or two.

These are the times that you will find me doing anything but photographing, or waiting to photograph. I know that sounds a little funny considering that's what I'm hired to be there for...but hear me out.

I have been known to fetch towels from closets. Refill cups. Switch out the straight straw for the bendy one. I will cream cheese your bagel (and be sure to ask how much cream cheese you want), hold your hand tight and not let go, and let you yell in my face if it's what you have to do to get through that contraction.

I will quietly offer affirmations and encouragement. I will congratulate you and smile so big for you when you meet your baby. I will repeatedly put the hospital menu in your husbands hand to make sure he orders food for you before the kitchen closes. I will wash dirty dishes and probably help myself to your coffee making supplies. I will help empty the birth pool and skip songs on your playlist for you.

I don't want you to not know I'm there. If you're looking to have an invisible birth photographer(it's cool if you are!), that isn't going to be me. I feel too drawn to help. Too drawn to support in other ways. Too drawn to encourage you. Care for you. Be there for you, and the rest of your team! If there are moments that I can set my camera down and be a supportive team member in other ways, I am so happy to do it!

I can hear a question floating around... but Alannah, if you're filling my water bottle or getting towels from the closet, aren't you going to miss something? My answer is a resounding no. I have been to enough births and educated myself well enough to be able to do both. I understand the birth process, I see what's going on around me, and I choose when to step away wisely. Plus, snapping a photo is quick! It just takes a second. I can capture the moment, then put my camera down. I watch and I listen when I attend births. I am always scanning the space and anticipating what will happen next.

Sometimes when I am scanning the space, I overhear that a midwife needs more chucks pads. Sometimes I notice that your partner hasn't had a sip of water in hours. Sometimes I realize that the towel on your forehead has been sitting there long enough that it's probably not cold anymore. Reaching for chucks, passing your partner their cup, and rewetting a wash cloth for you are not ever things that will take away from getting the photos you hired me to take. I promise.

There are absolutely times when the appropriate thing for me to do in your birth space is to be a fly on the wall. To go unnoticed in the background. To blend in with everything else going on. That's the nature of birth work.

I think if I look at who I am and how I do this job, generally referring to myself in that way feels like it minimizes me. My presence, my commitment, my energy, my genuine support and belief in you and what you want for your birth. While your story isn't about me, I am a part of it. I'm a part of it because you chose for me to be. And I'll be damned if I squander the opportunity to be an active participant in what will *hopefully* be a day where you feel so held, loved, cared for, and seen that you just can't help but smile and move into parenthood feeling empowered and supported as fuck.

With Love and Gratitude,


ps. birth photographers who take the fly on the wall approach and the clients who prefer that type of support...VALID. this post is simply outlining what resonates with me personally. love to everyone always <3

Supporting ALL kinds of families in Maine.

I happily and humbly support and document life changing events for all birthing families who wish to have me. I accept and honor you and your journey. I photograph births in homes, birth centers, and hospitals.