A change will do you good…

I have taken the last several months to think about business and ways to simplify things around here. I become reflective as each year draws to a close. I think about what’s working and what’s not. I make changes if necessary. And because I have this amazing family to take care of (4 wonderful, growing children and a husband who encourages me to follow my heart), and a need to organize, simplify and channel my love for photography in one direction, I have decided to focus my business exclusively around babies from this time forward (excluding currently booked portrait sessions).

This may come as no surprise to many of you. I realized that birth photography was my true calling sometime last year, but knowing myself well as a fairly impulsive/passionate person that loves to have her hand in many pots, I kept the portrait side of my business going until I had some true clarity. That clarity came quickly, with huge blessings and growth in my business and support base in the birth community. I cannot deny now that this is where my focus should be.

A little back story: I have 4 children, the first 3 of which were born under extremely stressful circumstances. I had preterm labor with each one, was on bedrest for 5-7 weeks, and was in 1-2 different dr.’s offices weekly for vaginal checks, ultrasounds, shots, you name it. It was so hard. I felt like a number. 4cm dilated. 50% effaced. 0 station. 27 weeks. This is what my interaction with my care providers was like every. single. week. When #4 came along I realized there was this whole other world out there! Doulas, midwives – they still existed! Home birth, water birth – I read these birth stories and felt such peace. I knew I wanted (needed!) a different kind of birth. So I hired a doula and compromised with my husband on the home birth idea (I gave birth naturally in a hospital instead). Things went so well during this, my final pregnancy. I read a lot of birth books. I devoured everything birth related. I loved talking to my doula; she listened and calmed my anxieties. I was in a much more zen place about everything. And guess what? Baby girl came at 39.5 weeks. Healthy as could be. First child not to be born with complications or a lengthy stay in the NICU. I seriously considered becoming a doula at that point, but decided against it due to the season of life I was in, and instead talked about birth every chance I got with whomever would listen or shared my passion. It was within that year that I also began photographing people outside of my family, especially babies and pregnant mamas. Soon I was photographing families as well, and then high school seniors, engaged couples, etc. Fast forward to May 2011 when my sister-in-law asked if I’d be interested in photographing her birth! I had seen birth photography here and there over the years. Thought it was so cool, but more artsy than I had ever gotten with my camera. But this was an opportunity to find out if it was something I could really do. And I was hooked. I loved being there for the birth of my niece, but finding all those subtle moments between my brother and his wife during labor, capturing the brand new details of a fresh new baby, and preserving the joy that fills a room when a baby is born could not be matched by any other thing I had ever experienced behind the lens. It aroused that same passion I had felt when I discovered what birth really was, in it’s entirety.

I have such respect and love for birth, in all its forms. I have now photographed c-section mamas, home birth mamas, hospital birth mamas, adoptive mamas, induced mamas, water birth mamas. I know what to expect during labor and I have seen some pretty amazing things. I know how to flow with the birth environment and make myself hidden or known, depending on what’s best for the situation. Being a part of the birth environment, whatever or wherever that may be, has become second nature to me now. And I love my job more and more with each baby I capture! So in the interest of myself, my family, and my clients (who deserve the best in the field for their needs, not somebody who is stretched too thin) I will only be taking birth clients from now on. And I will offer to those clients: maternity, lifestyle newborn/family and birth photography services (which will still include the First Glimpse option).

It is difficult for me to say goodbye to the amazing families and kiddos I’ve met. I will especially miss doing Imagination Sessions (which was my other “baby”). But if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you cannot have everything you want, all at once. Believe me I have tried (and failed)!

I am happy to refer all past clients to other talented portrait photographers in the area for family and children’s portraiture. All you have to do is ask!

Here’s to the future. Here’s to honing my skills in an area that I feel divinely drawn to. And here’s to all the amazing love, support and encouragement I receive from each of you! Thank you for everything!!!

**Pricing for birth photography will change after the New Year. I will begin at the same price I currently charge, but it will no longer be all inclusive. I will have “add-on” packages to personalize and customize each birth session to the needs and wants of the client, as well as to include some new products! Anyone who is wanting birth photography in the year 2014 can book me at my current pricing until December 18th, at which point my office will be closed until the New year (this includes new client appointments).

7 Comments

  1. by Christina Powell on September 25, 2013  6:27 pm Reply

    How exciting for you as you specialize! I admire your work and am especially blown away by your birth photography. Many blessings in your transition!

  2. by Diana Hirsch on September 25, 2013  6:44 pm Reply

    I totally understand you... being at the birth scene is somehow addictive! It's the most special place to be, to witness the miracle of a baby coming earthside, a mom getting empowered, a family being born is magical!
    So glad you will be there to capture my special day! :-) Good Luck!

  3. by Michelle Nolan on September 25, 2013  7:00 pm Reply

    Congrats to you for making that decision! I can tell it's where your heart lies. And you're AMAZING at it! My heart still aches for the birth (and photos) I didn't get with Denver and I think that has been a great instigator in my growing fascination with birth photography. I hope to take the next few years to learn more about the art as my own babies grow and hopefully be in your shoes one day :) I don't need to wish you good luck because it's clearly what you were meant to do!

  4. by Lois on September 25, 2013  7:36 pm Reply

    Very exciting! My first was born in the hospital induced but natural birth with no epidural, 2nd waterbirth at birthing center & 3rd water homebirth. It's quite the experience! I'm glad you get to capture these precious moments for all moms & families!

  5. by Kim on September 25, 2013  9:50 pm Reply

    So happy for you. I know you've been trying to find s the right balance for your family and work for some time. You are amazing and I am so blessed to know you.

  6. by Colette on September 26, 2013  7:09 pm Reply

    You go girl!

  7. by Sarah on September 27, 2013  11:33 pm Reply

    Congratulations, Leilani! This is great news, for you and the Austin area. :)

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