Sophie Kirkham from Calm Hypnobirthing chats to Hannah Palamara about her work as a birth photographer and doula.
You can find out more about hannah’s work at
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hi welcome and so today I'd like to introduce you to somebody very very very good birth photography this is Hannah palomar Oh Hannah is a birth worker and we are going to talk about the why and how she is a birth topher what Beth dog feels like so um Hannah worry based and why why why did you get into ya doing this beautiful work tree of life photography do love photography thanks for having me and I I don't know where to start I got into photography after and the birth of my second child I originally studied fashion um Atlanta college of fashion and I was not so interested in photography then I was really into styling and so I worked a little bit in the fashion industry and then I got pregnant with my second child and like things change with pregnancy and birth I kind of changed direction after I had her and became more interested in photography bought my first camera yet and I'm started taking pictures of my children and so I was kind of doing a photography first before my dude rang and it was through the birth of my third child that I became a dealer so your third baby was a very healing birth it was I had two c-sections and a crash c-section with my first which was quite traumatic and then I'm not so scary one but still I wanted to be back with my second and with my third be banging the journal birth after cesarean sorry yep and with my third I did a lot of research and I just really wanted to have her vaginal birth I wanted to bed a B and I kind of went against the advice and I got an independent midwife and I decided to birth at home because I felt safest at home and I had a amazing empowering birth and did you did anyone take any pictures that um yes I didn't have a professional photographer i wish i had but some i got some great photos from my midwives mm-hmm we've got to talk to you I just remembered we're learning all this Facebook live stuff and we're talking to each other and it's very fascinating but we have to remember to talk to you because it's kind of like a one-to-one whoever you are hi I'm I'm here mummy Andy watching hi um and so describe maybe so that people know what it's like how does it work so you know someone thinks right well actually they look at birth photography and if you're pregnant and you're looking at hitting the birthing channels you probably in your feed going to have some other stuff coming up with beautiful photos that the photograph I've used for this event that lovelies kind of brown and black and white image of mum and fresh born babe at the breast that's Hannah's work and it's beautiful beautiful beautiful picture mine are all a bit blurred they're all so yeah that's just given birth bit blurry yeah it would have been gorgeous to have some definitely one definitely you know it's it's um it's very different it's like having your cousin get their camera and come and take photos at your wedding view be your photographer the difference between having a professional photographer taking photos at your birth and having a friend or a midwife or dealer with the camera yeah is you know so different because when you're taking photos at birth you only have you know one chance to get all of those photos and you're always fighting you know very challenging lighting situations and everything changes you things change very quickly and bath so knowing you know having a knowledge about birth and physiology of birth yeah and it's really important as a birth photographer I wouldn't go as far as saying that all the Burford offers need to be dual is no I'm i think all bath photographers need to have the essence of a birth worker I think they need to have you no knowledge of the physiology of birth how you know the buff space is how it needs to be how it needs to do yeah so for me I would want that I would want the photographer there and not there just like the mini I they're not there currently this is something that comes up a lot for me and I think because I'm a doula an experienced do it really helps I'm sorry man original because your mates from across the pond or for watching this later I imagine that you're talking to them and because i have the knowledge that I have as a doula and the experience I think it helps that I understand how the birth space is and how to work with other professionals in the birth space and you know i I've worked with people before that have been very you know kind of put off by the fact that I was going to be there as a photographer and and you know through speaking to them explaining how I work and then from them seeing how I work in the buff space yeah um it has put their mind at rest because my goal is to kind of be invisible and to you know facilitate the birth space as much as I can in my own way as a photographer I do not do love em so it are you there you're your there photographing as the birth took affair and so this is all my projection of what would what it would be like that how do you not like what do you do love you dearly yeah it's different I like mostly I have mostly done do not and photography together where I'm doing both I'm wearing both hats yeah and which I love doing and but more recently i'm doing a lot more of just photography and um it works it works really well I love both for different reasons when I'm just in photography and I even more step into the back and yeah and I'm just focusing on you know my photography um it just works really well when I'm doing both and I wear both hats and you know there's always time to put the camera down and dueler and to get the camera up in those quiet moments and take photos well I'm what so when you're being in service to those women and taking photos and they're both partners and will tell us a story of one like yeah it's amazing um I had a beautiful birth recently on the super moon when I was just a photographer and I had more babies do come around the full moon they do that you read studies that say that's not true but our local Member Center matron she puts on more midwives okay the road to Anna for me it was really busy yeah I was expecting a baby on the super moon and it did happen and yeah and I formed a really great relationship with the dealer and the two midwives and it just really felt like we were very much working together as a team and we kind of understand each other very well and I would step out in and out of the room and because it was very important to facilitate um privacy for this mother so I would come in and take photos it was pitch black in the room so that's another thing let me know ah overcomes intagra fur yes um yes and imagine as well like a fresh born baby to someone a flash camera yeah I'm in its fresh born eyes where you know the Charles dusting used to daylight that's right yeah some somebody togas don't use flash tool and I use flash when it's needed but I use flash in a way that it's never directed at anybody's face and it's always discussed previously with the clients yes so we talk about everything in our antenatal so there's no surprises and but I use bounce flash with a black diffuser and that's flash and my feedback has been it's very unobtrusive and I only use it when its nest very and the other time I'm trying to work with the available light you know a lamp a curtain cracked yeah it's it's very much a case of working with what you have on the day being very creative with it all okay and this lovely super moon baby yes it was a beautiful V back at home and it was wonderful it was very it was a beautiful bath beautiful birth to watch in to witness and to document and got beautiful photos and i love them around there already yeah lot of them her out then so then um right so just explain a bit about it as something people can mmm happy bear their birth yeah so both photography um a lot of the time when I tell people I'm a birth photographer the first so look I guess and because all I imagine all they imagine is um somebody standing there they're at their end and with the camera directed at a vagina and obviously and you can get beautiful images of babies emerging very faithfully recorded but it's not just about the vagina shot you know there's so much more to birth photography but photography is storytelling um you know birth photography seeing your the images of your birth is almost like a I call it a visual debrief so we all know that bath it has its own way and it doesn't always go the way that you've planned but having you know the images afterwards to see can be very healing for some women um so I like to talk two couples and explain to them that it's it's about telling their story however it unfolds and um I usually do um to about one or two antenatal appointments with my couples and we discussed in detail their birth plan you know who the team is how we're going to work together I tell them exactly how I work what my experiences and obviously discuss what it is they would be interested in having a story um and then I much like a doula I go and call around 37 week yeah so that means that you are on call possibly for a month yeah I've weeks even yet can be four to five weeks have been twenty-four seven on calls for that phone's always on yeah I can't go anywhere without reception you know everything has to be ready for me to leave at you know a moment's notice and and much like being a dealer when you know when I get the call we decide together when it's the right time to go and then I go and I can be gone for 24 hours at at least maybe longer and I'm stay there and I document that bath um and and I generally don't leave hmm it's and then so I'm really interested in and that kind of it's like a recollection of tools of people can look back and when we can see their strengths as well so we're just before we did this we're talking and I was saying if we could just get women to believe in the strength of their bodies before they have their babies if we could chance let them know you are so strong your body's so powerful it can do this you're incredible but they don't get it until afterwards a lot a lot of women are just like oh yeah yeah oh I'm really strong and I make new people that's really awesome I'm amazing and if we could just get that and photos of women but in labor managing their sensations their surges though downward pressure expansion all of that that's gorgeous and glorious to see oh so what's the ina may gaskin quote and if a woman in labor doesn't look like a goddess someone is not treating her right yeah okay airy too very very true and I think that's why birth photography is really important and why I think why Beth photography in the UK should be more but should be well known and that's why I would like to you know to talk about it and you want to work with some more kind of birth center couples and Hospital crumbles as well as yeah at home as well so if any of you are interested in hello doing this for you in your baby's birth then she would well I love with all kinds but I work with all births it's not just a lot of people and miss another misconception people think if you're having a do lower birth photographer that it's only for home birth or more only for you know whatever it is you're planning but actually um you know it every birth I can be there for you at a hospital bus carry center Kerry called by okay okay lately Carrie Carrie it's one of my lovely ladies that I was doing photographer for Hyundai and actually carry its carries photo that you see and on the ad for this talk to say Heather's today I've you okay gorgeous man may be gorgeous and well done oh thank you and yes so at birth photography it can be for for any type of birth yes planned c-section um birth center hospital obviously we're still working as both photography is still quite new in the UK yeah individually as photographers we're still working with local hospitals and midwives and obstetricians because different hospitals have different rules of tog refers come in but at the moment it's something I think that we're just doing on an individual basis yeah but I think as more both photographers pop up in the UK which is happening right now yeah and i have a group actually called UK birth photographers tribe which is for at new and aspiring and working UK birth photographers yeah and i think that we can try and network and create you know something together where we can approach trusts and discuss you know ma Zedong and well it makes me think this it makes me think actually it's the woman's decision it's the birthing woman's decision and I get that you don't want people sharing too much online or whatever but you know if um if a midwife says I'm really I don't want to be in any pictures and that's easily doable it's just like having a birth preference of document where you say certain things really really matter to me and I don't think that's an unworkable thing I think that's something that you could just keep very very simple and hopefully it wouldn't become a polarized thing because inland in the recent times I've had to practice as a edina and just call myself the woman's friend yeah because there was a degree of contempt for dealers in the hospital environment is fine and but it'd be nice just to be able to go look this is the work this is what it looks like but you have to have like a handy portfolio with you think this is what it looks like yeah and then they get it and that's not in fact your thing about it's not the vagina shot it's not not just keep taking pictures of her vulvar until the baby comes that's no no it's the storytelling and there's oftentimes when women look back at their photos and they say wow I didn't even realize that was happening and I didn't even realize you know they're just it's cuz you're in you know ideally you're in labor land and you're not aware of what you're going on around you um and so that's that's my job is to just capture those little moments and things that actually might not even see no and that it's such a glorious time yes it's powerful guess it's intense yes it's raw birth is incredible and one of the books I bought recently is Becky's book called birth in focus which i've been recommending his great but it's got pictures of babies being born ok and it's not it it's ok for me to look at and when I show it to my son it's ok for him because he hasn't been taught that that's that's something to be afraid of or weird or the like and I think the more birth photography that we see the better Hannah and you're working worms of southeast England I'm sure she'd go anyway I'll travel yeah it's doable yeah yeah and Becky's in her book she's just taking pictures at births over the years and then obviously got permission when she came to write her book yeah it would be fantastic book to do for you I would love to that's kinda mature thanks Emily a dream in the future I'd love to do an exhibition I'd love to do but I can I just we've got horam we've got the with live on T channels were live in the hypno birthing group and I know the hypno birthing group is a question from Abby and I can't see it because i'm also on the mobile which is in the front and then Andy what's i beez question can you beat it out thank you and then so we just thought would be flashing broadcast on two channels and why not and it I think the broad bands just about handling it oh no it's gone again it's okay on the parent one but not only other yeah um hi Danny by the way nice to nice to have you on board and so just to recap if you've just joined this is hannah p tomorrow Hannah um takes exquisite photographs of birth she's trained in taking amazing pictures and creating a record for women of their birth experiences this is Abby's question hi Sophie lovely side hidden abeth last December my way guys one on the 21st December its most empowering experience very empowering on our journey hmm go you and happy happy birthday for next week little girl thanks for joining and right so we could ask the questions yeah um but i'm i'm not a curious i know you wanted to let people know about the cost yeah i wanted to talk a little bit about the investment into birth photography because as birth photography still quite new here in the UK there have been photographers shooting births for a long time but it's not really out you know it's not so much talked about it's not really out in in public so much and that's what I'm trying to change and one of the things that comes up a lot is the cost you know the investment of birth photography because people I don't think people really understand necessarily what goes into birth photography one being a photographer um and one of the things that I always liken it to is wedding photography you know we invest we have thousands of pounds in documenting the day of our wedding such as you know one of the most important days of our lives but also i'm giving birth to your baby is really important and I think you know investing in that I would rather invest in that to be honest with you i wish i had i said a lot of my wedding photographer and I didn't there back then and so it's you know it's it is an investment but what goes into being a birth photographer as we mentioned before is the uncle life yes so being on call twenty-four-seven yeah several weeks probably hmm and then being at the birth anywhere up to you know anyway from six to 48 hours and then we've got to go back and edit those photos which again can take you know sometime the deliverer yeah and not to mention the equipment that you know we have on the insurance we have to have for equipment you know how expensive kit it runs into in the thousands and thousands of pounds and so I like to talk about you know the investment of wedding photography versus birth it up because I think it's quite similar thing and people don't realize what goes into it how much goes into end there's a lot of sacrifice with Uncle life as you know as I do love it so don't enjoy being on cool there's a healer up to Lorraine but its own enjoy the Encore you don't sleep well for you I don't sleep well because I'm always like if I mr. cool do I know and that any they would phone back mm-hmm it on and like rearranging you know children's birthdays and I've missed holidays I missed a family holiday to New York and for two weeks I didn't go and lots of sacrifices are made to do this work and but we do it because we love it it's a vocation is it did you see it as a vacation and you see it as yeah is there anything else and so if I was preggers and um I was interested and just what's the most common question people ask I suppose I'm what's the most common question day I can't I can't as I know you are my question yeah d um I suppose one of the most common questions is how how long do you stay which I've already answered the other we stay we stay for the whole thing and we have we work with backup photographers ok I have backups yeah so if there was anything you know there was any unknown reason why couldn't be there then I have a backup photographer who could come and take my place or cover for me till I got there um yeah and I think most of the questions revolve around kind of well a lot of people that are interesting both talk they've seen both photography so they know what it is you know that they're looking for but it i guess it revolves around what what takes what to expect really from the package as a whole ok does that answer cuz nothing says I it does and I think having a couple of meetups before the bath just so that everybody's kind of knows how and what's gonna happen and how all you will be and knowing you because having people that you know and trust with you in your bad thing is massively important that's why it's important to go and check out if you're not staying at home to go out and check the place you're going to both because you don't want to just rock up somewhere you've never been deafening I'm getting into the kind of fear state stuff and anybody in their tenders birth is working hard to create space and tranquility and there are sort of sanctuary for the women so yeah having you on there there but not there in quiet yes yeah that's definitely what I try to do I tried to read the room and to then facilitate that with you know my presence just like with my do luring and I think that's why it goes so well hand in hand is to try and see what's happening and to work around them I think a lot of people do have concerns about how it if it could be intrusive and you no defeat all the feedback that I've had is that they don't know I was there they did she's like which is ideal really mmm okay all right so folks and do you want to give them information where to find you i will post up and yank two pictures and sites my cages afterwards yes you can find me on facebook at Tree of Life doula photography and my website www of life Duda photography com and I am on Twitter and I don't pretty much at love tree of life and Instagram I Instagram a lot I'm on a tree of life daily photography on Instagram thank you very much hello thanks for having me and thank you for popping your cherry oh yeah that was an experience thanks for having me thank you alright guys I fight