frequently asked questions
1. I have questions and would like to meet before I make any decisions, is that possible?
Yes! I always encourage mothers who are interested in my work to meet me, with your partner, for a cup of coffee or tea, so we can get a feel for each other, and you can feel confident having me in your birth space.
2. How and when should I book my birth story session with you?
I take on a limited amount of clients, so the earlier you contact me, the better. There are some months out of the year that I do book full, or reserve for family time, and am unable to take more sessions. You can start by filling out the contact form. I'll get back to you so we can set up an in-person meeting.
3. What comes with my Birth Story session? How does it work?
Your session includes a meeting with you and your partner, my on-call, 24 hour availability until your birth, my arrival when you are in active labor, and then continued coverage for 2 hours post birth. You will also receive a link to your photos, in a private, password protected gallery to download.
Birth photography is a collaboration of information shared between the parents and photographer. I'll give you a phone number to reach me at, so you can keep me updated on any changes to your birth plan, and any progress that's being made, so I can arrive in plenty of time to capture your birth. Think of me as part of your birth team.
4. What is it like having you photograph my birth?
"Gentle. Supportive. Respectful. Invisible at times. These are all ways I can describe the wonderful experience of Mary capturing the birth of my
third baby." - Ashlie Arbuckle
I usually take a quiet, documentary role, while doing my absolute best not to be too disruptive to your birth environment, but still get the photos that you'll want, and love. I am knowledgeable and comfortable with the many different kinds of birth experiences, and strive to be a calm and supportive presence. These very intimate moments that I'm invited to, are always treated with respect and discretion. I believe that trust is one of the most important aspects of my work. To find out more about me, take a peek here.
5. What kind of equipment do you use?
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark IV, a Canon 6D, and a few different lenses - my favorites are my Canon 135L and my Sigma 35 Art. Although I love great equipment, I don't believe it makes the artist.
6. Why a birth photographer?
Your birth is uniquely your story. It will be filled with incredible and intense moments. And because it goes so quickly, it's easy to forget all of those little moments. The way your partner held your hand, the beauty in your strength during intense contractions, the first look in to your little one's eyes, and the way their skin was so pink right after birth. It's a powerful story that you won't want to forget. Even though a family member can take photos for you, they probably won't have professional equipment, have knowledge about the different lighting scenarios that can come up, or know the best angles to capture your birth in a flattering way. Hiring a birth photographer ensures that your story is beautifully documented.
7. What kinds of births do you photograph?
All kinds! I've photographed home births, cesarean births, twin births, surrogate births, natural births, and hospital births with epidurals. The day your baby is born, is always an incredible day.
8. At which hospitals or birth centers have your worked?
I've attended births at The Birth Center in Sacramento, South Sacramento Kaiser, Lodi Memorial, St. Joseph's, and Kaiser of Modesto.
9. How do you insure that you make it to my birth?
I am fully committed to the clients I take on. The day you hire me, I am on-call for your birth, making a particular effort to have my phone on and with me at all times, my equipment packed, and avoiding travel. Clear and early communication is vital to this partnership.
10. When do you arrive at the birth?
I like to arrive when you are in active labor, and contractions are becoming more intense. This depends on other factors as well, like past birth experiences and the type of birth you plan to have.
11. How long do you stay?
I attend your birth for as long as it takes, whether that's two hours, or ten, and I stay for about two hours after the birth, so I can document baby's first weighing and feeding, and some cuddles with Mom and Dad.
12. Will you share my birth photos online? And what about privacy/ discretion?
Birth stories are beautiful and inspiring, and I love to share the stories that I document. However, I understand the vulnerability in birth and want you to be comfortable with your decision to hire me . I always go over what types of photographs you are looking for, at our first meeting. Births can be photographed in a very modest way, if that's important to you. Your story will be delivered to you in a password protected gallery and I will never share your birth photos without permission - each client has the chance to approve photos from their story, for public viewing, or approve none at all.
13. Can I see more examples of your work?
Yes! Recent Birth Stories can be found here.