“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “
Why are you passionate about birth photography?
I am passionate about Story Telling. And this kind of love, devotion, strength is all part of the best story ever told. I also find myself falling in love with
every family. How can you not. Each time I leave a birth space I leave with a little piece of them in my heart and it feeds my soul and my passion for it.
When did you first realize your love for birth photography was growing? Or have you been a lover of birth photography from the beginning?
When I started it was still very new and there were only a few of us really doing it and showing our work publicly. I fell in love with it instantly. I started
shooting births 3 months after my 3rd child was born, and she came only 11 months after her older brother. Not really the best time to start a business, but I truly had fallen head over heels for it. Sometimes things just choose you, and I believe that is
what happened to me. My whole life and career changed after that moment.
What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to dive into the world of birth photography? (aim for at least 5, but any are welcome)
Birth Photography isn’t for everyone. One of the most challenging parts in being on call. You have to be available 24/7 for every client and often that will
mean never being away from your phone, and packing up your kids off the beach to head quickly to a birth. So I think making sure that that is something you are ok with is the first part. Gear isn’t everything, but with Birth it definitely helps to have some equipment that can handle low light situations. Know your stuff. Start reading up on Birth, or better yet, get your Doula certification. Knowing what is happening and knowing what to expect in a birth space is a great tool to have. There is a lot of emotion involved, and not just in the room on that day. Make sure you always take time for yourself afterwards. I find that even at the most peaceful, and amazing births I have to have a day or so to decompress and let all the moments sink in. Dont be afraid to do that, and then when those moments come that are hard on your heart, you already have the tools to be able to move forward with editing and delivering images to your families.
Dont do it for the money. Birth Photography really is still up and coming and most Birth Photographers are not charging even half of what their time is worth. The very Talented, Lexia Frank once said at a Conference when asked about the cost of Birth Photography
“Shooting a birth is like getting an inquiry from a bride saying that she wants you to come photograph her wedding, but isn’t going to set a date. She’ll just call you whenever. and when you ask her how many hours of coverage she would like, she says she’s not sure, probably around 24, but maybe only 2. And you ask her when she’d like for you to start coverage and she says she wont know, but probably around 2am. And also, that she doesn’t want any use of flash. So when you ask her if there will be bountiful natural light she says that she’ll be getting married in a dark closet with no light whatsoever. And, she’s going to want the image s right away to send out announcements. AND you’re not going to be able to use them anywhere on your website or blog because she wants to keep her privacy intact. We’d all be quoting this bride $50,000.00.”
I LOVE this because it is so true! She nailed it.
But we do it because we love it and we make strides every day, as photographers, to charge our worth. And that is no exception with Birth Photography.
Be prepared to cry, love, laugh and be completely and totally amazed.
Every Birth is a miracle. Its a pretty amazing job to be capturing miracles.
What were the challenges for you in the beginning?
Definitely all the time away from my family. It was a hard balance at first, but I now only
take on 2 births per month and I take July and August off from Birth Photography so that I may live ‘Off Call’ with my family in the Summer.
Tell us one funny anecdote about being a birth photographer.
I dont know if I have one! What I always find
amusing though is all the funny places Ive slept while waiting for a momma to have her baby. The last one was in the hospital over two uncomfortable chairs and tucked behind the Maternity Ward Christmas tree. It was actually quite peaceful and I got a solid 45 minutes of sleep at 2am. Which is all a birth photographer needs to keep going
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER :
“Love and laughter comprise the primary subject matter for Vancouver Island-based birth and lifestyle photographer Ashley Marston. An award-winning Birth, Lifestyle & Documentary photographer (and busy mother of three), Marston strives for images that capture those two staples of family relationships, as well as the quiet moments that might otherwise go unseen. Always seeing life through a lens, Marston also photographs her own family daily, cherished images she shares on Social Media through her year-long A Daily Occurrence project. Whether the photographs capture moments with her family or a client, storytelling is the heart of all her work”