Missoula Woman owned small business

THE HUMMINGBIRD LODGE

A sacred space to ground and gather

The Hummingbird Lodge is located in the Miller Creek Valley, just south of Missoula, Montana.  We are only 20 minutes from downtown. Our space is nestled up close to the mountains, far enough away from town to provide a beautiful sense of peace and serenity, yet close enough for your convenience.

Jessica is one lovely woman I trust and love. I have had the opportunity to grow to know her and her family over the course of many years of photography. Our most recent venture has been the photography branding of the Hummingbird Lodge.  The Lodge is a gem here in Missoula. I hope everyone has a chance to take a class or workshop through the space or enjoy it as an Airbnb.

https://www.hummingbirdlodge.org/

What if…

What if we didn’t caption art? What if how you felt about it had nothing to do with how well I can write, or find a quote on pinterest and copy it? What if the art itself had to speak to you, you interpreted the art and let it move you, how it should? What if it wasn’t about engaging community and rather engaging an eye, or a visceral reaction? What if you liked/loved something you had to prove it yourself in words…words were mandatory of the viewer in order to pass judgement? What would you say? Would you take the time, to stop and write about that love, write to the artist from you heart – how the art made you feel? Could you explain back to the artist that you loved their work because of their use of lighting, composition etc. ? How lofty would our followings be then?

Missoula Birth. Birth Stories MT

I would hope we all know by now that birth looks different everywhere, minute to minute, woman to woman. I SEE you.  I am no stranger to birth- hospital birth, cesarean, twin birth in the OR, home birth, water birth, etc. But I do not know your story and as much as your prepare you don’t know your story either. Birth is unpredictable. Birth is a visceral story, a love story, a story of courage and commitment, of sacrifice. Birth is beautiful and fierce and it will unfold within in you and in front of me and that story will be a masterpiece in all it’s details, all the rawness and magic. Birth is transformative, no one has been able to argue that point.

I can’t wait to see you. SEE your story, this one you have been waiting for.

BirthWEB-0275MissoulaBirthF-0030MissoulaBirth-0642MissoulaBirth-0557MissoulaBirth-0347Missoulabirth-0240missoulabirthphotographer72-0589Birth-1099

Serving Missoula and surrounding areas- Butte, Anaconda, Bitterroot Valley.

Mother’s Day 2018. A unique gift

What if you could give a gift of photography, voice and video combined into one visceral keepsake to your self and your child, or to the Women in your life MOTHERING your children?

Well you can.

Mothering in Skin. A beautiful fusion of photography, video and a special message or reflection from the mother to her child/ children.

Note: 2 minutes of darkness with only Mother’s voice begin the story. Be patient.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/227945534″>motheringinskin</a&gt; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user51524353″>Jenna Nord</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

She is coming. Vesna, Persephone, Danu….

She is coming. Spring. Vesnu, Persephone, Danu, Ataegina, Ostara, Kore…

She comes to us, here in Missoula, quietly. I would say, she comes with a touch of reluctance. Taking time; there is still bitter cold. Spring awakens slowly, uncurling beauty from the slumber. Soft, rich songs to leave the bed of winter. Spring comes not polished, but messy, unkept. Raw chords resonating, pushing vibrant moods and colors,,yet lingering shadows. Spring the in between. Equinox. She is on her way.

flower crown by – Earth Within Flowers http://earthwithin.com/

 

FILM! OFFER

Birth Mama! Birth Community. In the near future I will be offering full birth films. I have mentored under the amazing Monet- Birth Becomes Her. AND, I need continual practice. MARCH mamas, book your March birth and receive a complimentary fusion keepsake. What is a Fusion Keepsake? This is a birth keepsake made up of still frame photography and live film clips. Clips will contain such moments as: early labor, baby’s first cry, your partners initial reaction upon deliver, and first latch- breast feeding.

Please share with any one you know who is bringing a baby earthside in March. If someone loves this idea and is delivering during another month, still have them be in touch. If applicable, the offer may still stand.

I was inspired to update my about me page from a current birth client. She thought it was important that mamas know simple and easing things about me. For instance, that when I come to your home I will not judge. I have lived most of my mothering life with a Golden Retriever and understand the wafting dog hair. Also, I have always had cats in my life and I love cats. Our current girl’s name is Tawny Cat and she loves to sleep and shed in my green velvet chairs. I live with and work hard, some days, to manage clutter. Being a mom and nursing a total of 9 years, I also am accustomed to hoodie sweatshirts that have not been washed in three days and undoubtedly smell of sour breast milk and may just have toddler boogers on the sleeve. So, although you are trusting me to come into your space, I am coming from my own space. My own motherhood journey. I think that adds a world of value to what I do.  A woman, a mother- photographing mothers. Let that settle in your soul.

If what I say next resonates with you, then I am your photographer.

My words won’t touch the heart of each and everyone that reads on, but my hope is that for those they do touch- you trust me to be your story teller, and for those I won’t touch, let my images continue to move you.

I want to see your lines, the hard and soft. I want to love your skin through my honest photography. I want to savor your baby’s first moments with accurate, artful documentation. I want to show you, your power. Let me share with you my cesarean stories, I hope they warm your belly. Where there is shadow, I will capture it’s richness. Give me light, I will give it back unfiltered. I want your real.

I want to be amongst the dust of your life.

I am a mother. I have four children. I am a wife. My husband has been filling my heart with music since 1998 and has filled my children’s hearts in the womb. I know clutter & chaos. I know diapers on the back porch. I know golden retriever love, and the endless hair. I know sleepless nights, piled high dishes and breast milk engorgement. I am made of stretch marks and scar tissue. I am shaped by 9 years of breast feeding. I know feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders with a small, perfect babe in my lap. I know deep, loneliness. I know an abundance of joy and pride through motherhood.

We always have to come back to; OUR WHY

NOW

My why is rooted in this very personal story.

It has also flourished into more. I continue to offer birth photography to women, partners, families- as a means to heal by, celebrate birth, validate the journey, stamp and preserve what transforms us. How many things in your lifetime can you say truly transformed you? Birth does this, whether you are willing, ready, scared, brave, planned out -or not. I am here to document and hand back to you this gift!


This was written in 2011.

My first two cesarean births were unplanned.  I did not have a birth plan that specifically addressed my desires.   I felt so blessed to have my babies and have them healthy, however  their final journey into this world was sad to me.   Words that come to mind when I think of the births are: vacant, scary, white, distant, alone, wondering.  While I was in the recovery room I wondered what my baby looked like, smelled like, felt like.  I wondered what the nurses and doctors were doing with my newborn child?  I wondered why everything was taking so long?  Yes, I got to see my baby’s little faces before they were taken away, but they change so fast.  And you don’t understand this unless you see your baby, and then don’t again until 3 hours later and you can tell your baby already looks truly different.  I was not able to see the umbilical cord cut, nor the first bath.  I wasn’t able to hold my baby until hours later, this was anguishing.

In contrast, my third and then fourth cesarean were the most gratifying to me.  I had a very demanding birth plan, but not one that was outside the means of the nursing staff.  My last two babies never left my sight, they stayed with me while I recovered and then both baby and I traveled back to my room where family awaited.  The first bath was done in my room where I could watch as were the other newborn exams.

The fourth cesarean is highlighted in my mind because I had immediate and continual contact with my baby as well as snapshots taken of the birth.  I also was lucky enough to have my sister in the operating room with me as Charge Nurse that morning.  Since she was going to be there, I asked her to take pictures.  She was able to capture my tearful expressions as my baby was being brought into the world, my husband holding my hand, my husband feeling nauseous, the cutting of the cord by my husband, my babies first wild cries, little toes, and fingers in the warming bed.  All these awesome sights that I couldn’t myself witness because of course I was on the operating table.

Pictures of me on the operating table holding my little pink cheeked bundle amidst a variety of thick, cold, and intrusive cords speaks so loudly to me.  I look at these pictures and see how brave I am, how amazing my doctor is, how strong and vulnerable my husband is, how me and my baby are a glowing contrast to all around us.  These pictures serve as my inspiration to offer other women the same opportunity to create lasting memories of a truly blessed event.

 

Missoula Mountain Maternity. Mothering in Skin has intention.

#Motheringinskin. My oldest daughter told me that the purpose of a hashtag is that others will use it. I said,

“One day they will.” 

Mothering in skin. The beauty. The push the pull. Stretch, release, love and surrender.

This mothering was hot and wet. Maternity photography in the great Northwest. Rocky Mountains!

I am not okay with a session just anywhere, anymore. I guess I never was, I have always encouraged my clients to choose a location that means something to them. And if you don’t have an idea, then yes, I will come up with one. Maternity is an adventure and adventure in Missoula, Montana is what settles so many of us here. Hiking, skiing, hot springs, rock climbing, cabins, and campfires.

To play devil’s advocate. Adventure takes place in the intimacy of one’s home, next to the nearby creek–it is mainly the intent and spirit one brings to the session. Your baby is going to be the biggest and best adventure of your life. I guarantee it.

So use it. #motheringinskin  How will you use it? Show us your journey. Tell us your story. I am listening.

Looking for artful documentation to tell your story- please be in touch.

maternity$web-7108

What you believe YOU deserve.

birth2-0263


I just read a lovely blog post by a photographer who wrote about her relationship with a family that is dear to her that she also photographs. She mentioned she was planning to photograph the next (last) baby’s birth. She was thrilled. She went on to say that the planning fell through and the timing wasn’t right. ( She also mentioned many of the photography plans of hers with this family fell through) . But non the less was sharing their updated portrait session and honestly the images are sweet.

But there is more.

This story moved the energy in my gut as I read it.
I want to reflect that even the initial planning to photograph someone’s birth comes with great responsibility. It is important to note that when it comes to birth, the timing isn’t about YOU (the photographer).
There are some notable differences between a photographer who will photograph your birth and a Birth Photographer, someone who specializes. This may come down to a simple yet profound list of comparisons, that include ethics. That include reverence for birth, women and knowledge of the birth space. Commitment, surrender to an unpredictable on-call timeline and hired professional back up.

If those last two sentences don’t resonate with you. If they are not important to you how can you expect your birth story to be important to the person behind the camera? Your birth may be subject to “the timing wasn’t right .”

In all the pro birth photog groups I belong to there are shared stories of photographers who decided last minute that they were tired ( @2a.m.) and didn’t want to make it to the birth, or they felt sick and couldn’t make it, or they decided to go out of town etc etc. These were professional photographers, but they were not Birth photographers. In each case the women sharing these stories had been contacted by the frantic, and deeply hurt mother looking to find another birthtog last minute. The professional, specialized, committed, backed up, and yes more expensive birth photographer.
In some cases because of timing we know that there were birth stories not documented; missed completely.
You may choose what you believe you deserve, what does your birth story deserve.?

More on touch. Missoula Maternity, Birth & Newborn Photographer

THE TANGIBLE

The tangible. It all comes back to my story. Stories we share, stories that unite us. Childhood memories. The story of family & Love.

I am a mother of four children. Before my first child was born, I was already reading to him. The value placed on reading, shared reading, story telling and story writing are very high within my walls.

Each of my children have all been able to sit and be active listeners from a very young age. I was reading Charlotte’s Web to my three year old. Where the Red Fern Grows to my 5& 7 year old. The Giver to all four kids, over 2 years ago. The ages sitting beside me were: 6, 8, 11, 13.

SHARING STORIES IS POWERFUL AND HUMANELY CONNECTS US. 

Sharing stories allows for laughter, discussion, root- seeking, joy, resolution, healing.

My children LOVE reading and they LOVE their albums. Albums that are filled with images of family. Images that show me (mom) growing each one inside of me. The kids look with magic in their eyes at these memories. There are so many questions surrounding Birth Days. My children never grow old of hearing some sweet detail of the day they were born. We don’t sit at the computer pulling up file after file, or searching for files to reminisce. We lustily grab the big, thick albums and sit together on the faded sofa.                                                              We turn pages. 

We feel together texture and warmth of fiber and fabrics- are eyes flood with the moments that have been preserved.

This is the behind my business –values that I want to share more honestly and openly over and over again. I want my clients to know that when working with First Embrace Photography they can invest in a product to sit down with, slow time with, create and enjoy connection through.

Me. Pisces I am.

lifeasme-0865

PISCES (February 19 – March 20)

Pisces instill an appreciation of the arts in their children and they encourage their kids to be creative. A Pisces mom’s kids will be sensitive, imaginative, and will learn to treat other people with kindness and compassion. Pisces moms will hand down a love of nature, a sense of pride in helping others, and an independent spirit.

The Pisces mom may not know how to teach their children to make their dreams a reality but they will support them the whole way as their children try to figure it out for themselves.


Reference:

https://www.popsugar.com/moms/Moms-According-Zodiac-Signs-44077073?utm_campaign=desktop_share&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=popsugar

Montana Birth Stories

Birth Stories of MT coming soon. In collaboration with Bozeman (http://www.midiphotografi.com) and future recruiting for a voice in Billings!

Birth Stories of MT is a visual resource, celebrating and validating the 4th trimester of the female journey and the intimate details of new motherhood. It’s vision is to create awareness and community, to provide evidence and healing through visual birth stories and uplift women in their rawness, their simple nature and the beautiful and visceral demand of the skin. 

Documenting: maternity, BIRTH, Fresh48, Surrogacy, loss, Postpartum & Breastfeeding

Birth Stories of MT. What makes MT mamas different? What is birthing in MT like? What makes us all the same? How is Birth love and how can it create community? What do your local birth places offer? Why choose home birth or center birth? What does a water birth look like?

We can’t wait to explore all these questions. We can’t wait to hear from Montana mamas- Birth Story client’s.  Let’s SEE these stories and talk about them together!

©2017 Jenna Nord- First Embrace Photography

Family. Photography. Missoula. Holding Space

NewbornMissoula72-0210

Holding space for family is a big, BIG deal. Family takes time, patience. Family takes commitment, perseverance. Family takes selflessness to contribute to the greater mission.

It has taken me quite awhile to realize that family also takes me being my healthy self, so that I can give and give and give. As mothers we give so much, I think it’s auto pilot at times. We can go on for days, years not even realizing how much we are depleated, because face it, those treasured faces looking to us are hard to deny.

I took a nap today, and felt slightly guilty. But why? I really needed that nap. I’m holding space for myself, my four kiddos, my husband and I am on-call. Which means I am holding space for my mama client in Butte, MT. She may call me at any given moment and I will be off to navigate the intense energetic space of birth!

The image above is just so beautiful. I love all the directed energy. Mom giving to child, dad giving to mom. The space between them holds so much. I know, from working with Jenah, who lives here in Missoula MT, the breastfeeding journey has not been an easy one. To give and give and love, through constant struggle takes grace. This image is grace.  You can see the love, admiration and I’ll go out on a limb here to say empathy on dad’s face.

I am so glad this time was captured for this family. Everything is so new. All the joy and the challenges. You can look into your images remembering how you weren’t quite sure of yourself but walked the walk despite. You loved with abandon. Yes you cried and here is a moment when all is peace.

Personal Part ?

When I started featuring personal posts a year or two ago I should have never thought that numbering them was a good idea. Of course I was going to lose track. I have no idea what part I am on. Personal is a great way to make sure your viewers know that what you are posting is from your personal life, or a personal project and not your business or “work”. I have to say though all of my work, my personal, my projects, my passion are all intertwined. For instance, I am not a birth photographer without MY own birth experiences. And I think for you to know me and bits of my personal life, make our connection more authentic. Mother’s resonate with me because I am a mother, I share similar challenges and joys. I am also a wife. Wives can hoot and holler right along side me and feel that I hold space for them. These personal, resonating connections shape me and my work. My projects are full of heart AND there is an investment associated with that.

Here is a little personal – photo walk I had with my oldest daughter the other day. It was really fun and spontaneous. The rest of the family had left for a river float, I couldn’t go because I am currently on call for birth. As soon as the house cleared of the float energy I asked my daughter what she wanted to do. She launched off her bed and expressed going to take photos and video of her with her beloved Uke. We threw things together in a flash and headed out. We had the van, which has no AC this summer. So sweating, disheveled, moaning and groaning we drove through town searching for our location on the fly. We ended up at this local park. My daughter is easy in front of the camera, we have less FUN than what you might think–it’s is usually a mix of pleasure but more so a MISSION. The feeling of pursuit and once fulfilled ends with a classic teenager coffee drink!

Mothering. Breastfeeding. Skin

The video begins with the mother’s voice, hold space and listen, imagery to follow. Mothering in skin. First Embrace Photography presents a thoughtful, visual reflection on the journey of motherhood in the skin. #motheringinskin #worldbreastfeedingweek #mothersmatter#missoulamama #missoulamoms #eatingdisorderrecovery #selflove#montanafamily #womensupportingwomen

I can’t do this journey alone. WE can’t do this journey alone. All of us have a different story to tell of the skin. My first reflection- as an example to my client, was me talking of the surrender of skin. I shared with her how I felt touched out. So many little fingers needing me, needing my skin. I didn’t feel as though my skin was my own. I also rejoiced in the pleasure of breastfeeding and the little quirks each one of my children had with my skin during their upbringing.

When Jenah shared back. I could have never imagined what spilled from the audio files. I felt so humbled and honored that she shared her story. So much was edited out for the production and I thought a lot about this. Should I really edit anything out? Instantly my project starting feeling alive in a different way and I wasn’t completely in charge- but it felt right. There were many voices guiding it. I have loved this process and I know that I will return to the footage and create different takes of it. I am not sure if there is one “right” version.

 

Mothering in Skin. A new look on the life journey.

~SKIN~

I am starting a visual project, that for now, I’m calling Mothering in Skin. I yearn to be amongst mothers, telling the journey of motherhood, the supple skin connection with children that mothers have ( and fathers can have too).  If we think about skin- the beginning of the motherhood journey – where skin is stretched along with the heart – growing the child within, BIRTH- loving with abandon through skin- to skin to skin with baby- the newborn connection, wet nursing nights, clinging sticky skin- where the separation of skin is almost obsolete, then we move to young children and older children- hand holding, nighttime snuggles- I think of dewy/dirty neck snuggles- I think of the elasticity of skin moving away from the mother- being stretched tight to returning to mother – looking for balance and autonomy. There is a sacrifice of skin, on demand gifting of skin. So the journey continues.  If you would like to explore Mothering in Skin with me be in touch.

the Black & White family session

I have been moved as of late by slideshows and video- that a few of my heroines in the Birth community are sharing. I am excited to keep exploring my art, my passion- pressing into areas on the outer edge of my expertise. In my images I want to share the beauty of family, of childhood details.

 

Missoula Maternity Photography. Belly. Missoula Mama. Pregnancy

Missoula Birth Photographer. & Maternity

Jessica was one of my very first Maternity clients. I was running a Henna belly- photography event at Missoula’s local – Lotus Project. This building no longer exists but the resource and energy to provide expecting mamas with all local birth recourses does. Classes and events that were provided through the Lotus Project space were free or fairly cheap. Tracy Topp partnered up with me to provide beautiful henna art. Tracy lives in Arlee, MT and her main work is homeschooling her kids and she is the wife and support drummer behind her husband the well known Matthew Marsolek- THE DRUM BROTHERS MISSOULA.  I will need to dig up some of these images just to show you how amazing Tracy is.

Jessica was one of the first mamas through the door and she brought along her husband, Jonathan, as well. They had great energy. I was thrilled to be photographing them. They had no problem being photographed and seemed to easily slip into intimate spacing and emit that energy in front of the camera. To my delight Jessica booked a follow up Maternity session for the next week. They wanted the full session experience. I chose the Historic Missoula Mercantile. This building was currently up for sale, but I was able to contact the realtor and he allowed me access, at my own risk, to use the space for the session. This old building 139 years old, falling apart, hard wood floors, large windows- was breathtaking. Jessica & Jonathan took to the stage and we created some epic images.

Jessica went on to hire me as their birth photographer- twice, their wedding photographer and family portrait photographer.

In August 2017 I am honored to join this couple a third time as they welcome another baby earth side!

I felt Jessica needed a maternity session like no other we had done before. I had a crazy idea to travel and travel early. I wanted to head to water, and warm water so I could ask Jess to hang out, pose and not be tortured. We headed out with a 4:45 a.m. start time, 1.5 hour drive, 1.5 mile hike in and…..gorgeous hot springs. Jessica and I have messaged each other a few times since the session reflecting on how worth it was to get going that early and mostly the drive time we had to mama chat, uninterrupted as we never do. Jessica and her family are tender to my heart. We are friends, birth united us.

 

The Tangible

 

The tangible. It all comes back to my story. Stories we share, stories that unite us. Childhood memories. The story of family & Love.

I am a mother of four children. Before my first child was born, I was already reading to him. The value placed on reading, shared reading, story telling and story writing are very high within my walls.

Each of my children have all been able to sit and be active listeners from a very young age. I was reading Charlotte’s Web to my three year old. Where the Red Fern Grows to my 5& 7 year old. The Giver to all four kids, over 2 years ago. The ages sitting beside me were: 6, 8, 11, 13.

Sharing stories is powerful and humanely connects us. 

Sharing stories allows for laughter, discussion, root- seeking, joy, resolution, healing.

My children LOVE reading and they LOVE their albums. Albums that are filled with images of family. Images that show me (mom) growing each one inside of me. The kids look with magic in their eyes at these memories. There are so many questions surrounding Birth Days. My children never grow old of hearing some sweet detail of the day they were born. We don’t sit at the computer pulling up file after file, or searching for files to reminisce. We lustily grab the big, thick albums and sit together on the faded sofa.                                                              We turn pages. 

We feel together texture and warmth of fiber and fabrics- are eyes flood with the moments that have been preserved.

This is the behind my business –values that I want to share more honestly and openly over and over again. I want my clients to know that when working with First Embrace Photography they can invest in a product to sit down with, slow time with, create and enjoy connection through.

Missoula Professional Birth Photographer.

When a dad reviews my page, it is the biggest compliment. Dads may see things through a different filter than mom. See birth and babies just a bit differently. And it was a wonderful surprise to hear this Dad’s review-

Jenna did an amazing job capturing the beauty and power of birth.- Joel Patton

Short and to the point. Two words: Beauty & Power. This is it. This Dad was able to see the beauty and power that was captured. My job here is done.

The joy of his daughter’s arrival lingered in his smile for hours following the delivery.

#existinphotographs

I just listened to a short talk by Sue Bryce on the importance of existing in photographs, not for yourself but for those who will be looking for them when you are no longer present!

The short 3 minute video, had me teary!

I really would like to start living by this- EXIST IN PHOTOGRAPHS. It is so easy to always be behind the lens. It is also easy to have hard drives full of images and never look upon them.

I encourage my clients to print, invest in a wall mount, album. Be present, exist in photographs, see yourself, your family in the tangible.

 

Missoula Birth Photographer

May was amazing! I was blessed to be the witness at 3 — THREE– births!  I was able to share space at familiar stomping grounds- Missoula Birth Center. I was also warmly invited into two new birth facilities- Butte and Anaconda. All three stories are so different, beautiful and warm. All the staff and family holding space for three, different, amazing mamas.  I am so lucky to give the gift of photography back–.  For you I witness and give it back. This is your story. Your baby’s story.

WEBSITE-0267Missoula BirthMissoula BirthWEBSITE-0332

Missoula Maternity

I have had the honor of photographing some really gorgeous maternity sessions recently here in Missoula. I’m drawing some fans from Butte, Anaconda and transplant Washington mamas! This has been such a joy, stretching my wings in different directions, making these mama connections. Showing mamas just how beautiful they are. Not sexualizing but emphasizing the body, the change that is happening from within.

Missoula Newborn Photographer. In-Home sessions.

So this has always been it! Newborns at home in their sweet surroundings. Loving parents, pets, siblings. Comforting linens, colors that truly represent the identity of your new LIFE with BABY!

Missoula Newborn Photographer

Another note, I’ve mentioned before about these sessions is the comfort of home. HOME. – Food. Not only food for mom and dad, but food for the newborn. It is completely natural that we might take 2 breaks during the newborn session to feed your baby.  You can be comfortable in your rocking chair, or the well worn couch. If it pleases you, breastfeeding images are some of the most cherished moments, I will thoughtfully photograph you nourishing your newborn.

Book Now!

Birth. What it is. Missoula Birth Photographer

Birth just IS. I have to start with that. The world of Professional Birth Photography is so tricky. Tricky in terms of what to post, how to crop. How will my images be received by society? Wow. Consider the workflow of a birth photographer. The added element of risk and judgement a birth photographer takes on surpasses – I believe all other forms of photography. We, risk being banned on social media platforms for sharing images of birth. Birth images are repeatedly kicked out of photography competitions trying to reason that said images might offend the overall audience. Birth photographers are constantly assessing their market to determine what types of birth images will be accepted or recoiled at.

Just think about that for a moment. If someone were to recoil at a birth image, doesn’t that speak volumes about that individual and their view of birth versus the artist? I say so. Looking at the big picture. – Society has yet to accept birth completely- accept women and our right to birth in a manner we choose, in a place that we choose (?)Yes, we are making waves in the community. There are more and more pockets of humans that love and appreciate birth and the sharing of the journey through images. We still have a long way to go.

This year 2017. I am unwilling to keep stunning birth images a “secret”. I will love what I do with complete abandon. Birth IS. I cannot risk stifling my passion and a women’s birth story for the sake of possibly offending some one individual. And maybe, just maybe…the more we start to look–really look at birth we all will be more accepting, uplifting, and empowering of women.

Thank you to so many. To private people and private groups. Friday coffee ladies. Local groups and online. Birth Becomes Her (closed) & The women of birth (closed). To the lodge and the sweat! Wow that was intense.
To my business coach and mountain friends. To intense soulful talks in the book store. Thanks to a family that blesses me with their childhood and love. A passionate man who sings to me. A mom who has presence. Open people, soulful people. People who have helped and let me help. People who press me to be better. Thank you Pattee Canyon, thank you Spain. Thanks to doors that shut, I preach being a pathfinder. All these, that I cannot go on, but enrich my sphere. In business this energy has transferred into- a Press Company contacting me in request to license 3 images for a lamaze book, September birth, December birth, January birth, coming February birth, May Butte birth, Winter portraits, Intimate Materntiy- , Newborns, —in all of these the relationships I’ve found! This week an opportunity – contact from a film maker after having seen one stunningly raw birth image and my caption.- updates to follow- and back to the beginning.

THANK YOU

A birth photographer on Hiring a birth photographer.

missoulabirthphotographer-0433

Things to ask.

  • Do you have a website where I can see your most recent work?
  • How many births have you photographed?
  • Are you familiar with my place of birth?
  • Do you own professional gear? Are you able to shoot in low light?
  • What providers have you worked with?

 


Are you allowed in the OR?

This is important if you are scheduling a cesarean, if you are high risk, or in the event you do have to have a cesarean.

Why are you a birth photographer? This is possibly one of the most important questions.

In private birth photography groups that I am a part of, we have discussed the business of birth. We have discussed hearing that some photographers have picked up a birth or two because it sounded fun. In a few cases due to the inconvenience of birth, the photographer did not show up- it didn’t mesh well with their schedule in the end. A professional birth photographer who has made this their specialty, aims at serving the client on a higher level- NOT to “pick up some work”, not to make some extra money on the side of what they primarily photograph.

There have been other cases where a photographer, inexperienced and not understanding the space of birth violated and or disturbed hospital policies or staff.  These unintended actions ruined the opportunity for the already established professional photographers to continue their work.

Birth does not happen on a photographer’s schedule. Birth is unpredictable and a professional birth photographer will have life adjusted accordingly to be able to drop everything to walk out the door for an unlimited amount of time to be present for your most transformative day!

I am a birth photographer because documenting the transformative in women is priceless, powerful, humbling, validating, and essential to my clientele. It is essential to advocate for women and women’s birth choices. It is essential to uplift women in their birth story. It is a tool for healing and education. It is a way to build a community around women. It is also a private, secret story to relish in the heart and share with the child- the coming earth side. 

This is important if you are scheduling a cesarean, if you are high risk, or in the event you do have to have a cesarean.

How do you navigate yourself within the birth space?

“JENNA IS AN EXTREMELY PROFESSIONAL AND RESPECTFUL BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER. WITH HER KNOWLEDGE AS A BIRTH DOULA, SHE UNDERSTANDS THE FLOW AND ENERGY OF THE ROOM AS IT PERTAINS TO THE LABORING WOMAN AND PARTNER. SHE MANAGES TO BLEND INTO THE BACKGROUND WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY CAPTURING BEAUTIFUL, INTIMATE IMAGES. SHE WORKS WITH THE FAMILY, BIRTH SUPPORT STAFF, AND MEDICAL PROVIDERS TO DOCUMENT THE EVENT WITH EASE AND GRACE. IT WAS A PRIVILEGE TO WATCH JENNA WORK WHILE I PROVIDED DOULA SUPPORT AND I LOOK FORWARD TO BEING A PART OF A BIRTH SUPPORT TEAM WITH HER AGAIN IN THE FUTURE!”
– MELINDA CLINE; DOULA

Do you have a back up, in case you can’t make my birth?

A professional birth photographer will have a back up in place in case they are not able to make it to your birth. They believe your birth is so important and they work with such integrity that they back themselves up. Birth is unpredictable and we do not know if your birth is going to happen when my child is in the ER, or if I come down with the flu.

I have two professional photographers who back me up. I trust them and their work. 

Do you own a business lisense?

Do you belong to any Birth Photography groups; has your work ever been featured?

This may or may not matter to you in making  your decision, but ask if you are curious.

I belong to IAPB (International Association of Birth Photographers). I have been featured on Birthphotographers.com, Birth Becomes Her, and Tampa Birth Photographer- Dear Little One.

NEW- one of my Twin images was chosen by Birth Becomes Her as one of the TOP 29 images this February 2017!

WEBSITE-0332

Do you edit in color and black and white?

This may be a discussion about philosophy of the art. But it is good to ask your birth photographer if they only edit in black and white and why?  Birth photography is subject to very challenging lighting situations. A strong command of light and knowledge of ones camera is vitally important. Being able to compose an image under stressful situations and poor lighting is a must. Black and white editing should be used to enhance an image, to focus in on the moment or emotion and is ultimately up to the photographer. But should not be used to mask poor quality images.

Personally birth is colorful- I edit in both color and black and white.

Why are you a birth photographer?

In private birth photography groups that I am a part of, we have discussed the business of birth. We have discussed hearing that some photographers have picked up a birth or two because it sounded fun. In a few cases due to the inconvenience of birth, the photographer did not show up- it didn’t mesh well with their schedule in the end. A professional birth photographer who has made this their specialty, aims at serving the client on a higher level- NOT to “pick up some work”, not to make some extra money on the side of what they primarily photograph.

There have been other cases where a photographer, inexperienced and not understanding the space of birth violated and or disturbed hospital policies or staff.  These unintended actions ruined the opportunity for the already established professional photographers to continue their work.

Birth does not happen on a photographer’s schedule. Birth is unpredictable and a professional birth photographer will have life adjusted accordingly to be able to drop everything to walk out the door for an unlimited amount of time to be present for your most transformative day!

I am a birth photographer because documenting the transformative in women is priceless, powerful, humbling, validating, and essential to my clientele. It is essential to advocate for women and women’s birth choices. It is essential to uplift women in their birth story. It is a tool for healing and education. It is a way to build a community around women. It is also a private, secret story to relish in the heart and share with the child- the coming earth side. 

blog-0621

IAPBP. #birthphotogs

So glad I was a part of this amazing, jaw dropping competition. Birth is wondrous!

So proud to be a member of such an awesome association. Uplifting birth and women.

Welcome Baby Landon!

“In this way, every birth is a natural birth: each of us is part of nature, not separate from it, and nature is always stunning in its variety. Your birth, then, is part of the natural world, however it unfolds.” — Lauralyn Curtis


Congratulations Megan & Jesse!

A beautiful and sweet baby boy was born into the world

Monday January 23 2017.

I am honored to have been a witness and document a great miracle of life.


Last Weekend as a Birth Photographer, Mom and Woman.

Happy Anxiety, is this a thing? Well, I truly can say this is the feeling that fills me up hours away from birth. When a mama is near her birth or over due. Each day is a strategic symphony of energy, business scheduling, family scheduling, baby sitter and grandparent scheduling. Keeping groceries in check , activities in check, back up transportation, back up activities, lists of resources that fit each individual child, have I eaten today?–all for the moment that I get the call to zip up the bag and head out the door. The bag has been checked and double checked. Batteries charged and recharged. Compact flash discs cleared and multiple on back up. Everything I might need or find helpful to be away from my home and my family for an undetermined amount of time. This is Birth Photography. The behind the birth photographer view.

Missoula BirthWhat is needed to do this job?  Patience, passion, compassion, art, skillfulness with light. Ease of presence. This list can go on for the photographer personally. There is also, in my life, a family that is flexible and loving. A husband who is resilient and can step up, when I step out. Children who can appreciate the simple and edited stories I share with them about why I was gone for so long, and how important I think my job is. When I leave, they say, “Please don’t go!” and when I return, they say, “Was it a boy or a girl?”

Birth Photography requires an on-call life and a be present life. Once I am on a birth, I may be working for 15 hours. I may take a 30 minute nap in the waiting room, while mama naps. I may be working my SQUAT as I take a position in the OR.

There have been times when the camera comes second. I have put the camera aside to assist, in what strangely becomes a little bit my story. I have held and rocked a baby, so a loving husband could stand by his wife as she was prepped to re-enter the OR. I have become a willing messenger, letting nurses know the needs of my client- she is thirsty, her back is hurting, she says she feels pressure, she wants you to come back now, the monitor is beeping etc. I have passed cold wash clothes to midwives and drug over the medical bag in a time of need.

As a birth photographer I am a QUIET, FEELING, VESSEL. I hold the stories of every birth story I have witnessed. I hold the stories through my lens and also my eyes, even when my camera was not permitted. I hold the now hushed stories of the OR, so thankful I have been permitted in to deliver a seamless story to my client, yet I leave with the KNOWING. Truths that aren’t discussed and truths that are CELEBRATED! Stories of YURT births, and water births, birth center births, and cesarean births, TWIN births. Hypno births, and yelling- shouting births.

Last weekend was back to back birth for me. I had some amazing resources on board. I worked with an amazing doula who kept me in the know–knowing I was eating, sleeping, not sleeping and scheduling like a mad woman on the back end. Thank you, thank you Marisa! The first birth, scheduled induction, twin vaginal delivery in the OR. Oh yeah! What a great, loving, fun couple. They could not have been matched better with their OB. Stand up man. So cool, can’t really say enough. Because birth is BIRTH. That 7 a.m. induction was a full day into the night story of patience. Two beautiful, healthy twin boys were born! SECOND birth of the weekend- what another amazing story of patience and endurance, stamina and family. Mama was quite a warrior. Friday night to Monday right before noon, was the journey. Handsome baby boy, born into this world!

Bless these families that choose me. Bless my family that supports me. Bless my hands, my eyes, and my heart that guide me. Bless the providers that nurture and perform their jobs well.