ABOUT LEILANI

Behind every beautiful birth image you see on my site is a story, the story of mama and baby of course, but also me. Every story I capture starts with me leaving in the middle of family dinner, or holiday, or kids performance, or 2am at night. I throw on some clothes, grab something to eat, drive (sometimes bleary-eyed) to the place of birth, and get my head in the game. Whatever was happening before is gone from my mind. It wasn’t just me that signed up for this, but my husband, my kids. Birth photography isn’t a job, it is a lifestyle. I couldn’t do this without their support and understanding. I have to switch gears from mom/wife/chaffeur. The story continues with me walking into the birth space and taking everything in. Reading the room. Like a game of double dutch, I jump in only when the moment is right. I observe mom. I carefully choose my frames. I play them out in my mind before, during and after so that I can be sure I am telling the story with precision and grace. You can’t have an “off” day in this gig. There’s no second chance to capture a once-in-a-lifetime moment. So, come what may – be it lousy lighting, cramped spaces, unwelcoming staff, temperamental equipment, you better be ready for anything. Then, after baby is born, a new story begins. 1 becomes 2 or 2 becomes 3 and I watch again as life makes way for this new little addition who has to adjust to bright lights, cold air and loud voices. And I document it all. Every cry, every coo, every grimace and sometimes smile, every suckle, every curled toe and splayed finger and unfocused gaze on mom. There is no one moment that is more spectacular than another. And then I leave the new family behind in their own world where nothing else matters, and I go home to my warm bed and my wonderful family, who always, always ask “how did it go?” My kids – I have 4 – always want to know “boy or girl?” And I sleep, or eat, and take care of myself so that I can dive into the images with a fresh mind. Hundreds of them. I comb through them with a fine eye. It takes me a few weeks. And that’s on purpose. I let the story breathe. I let it settle. And then I give it new life as I edit. One of my kids tells me that as I sit there working on these birth stories, I smile. In my mind, I am reliving this spectacle of a new life just beginning. And it keeps me grounded. It really does. Each birth begins a new all consuming cycle requiring a framework of mind, body and spirit. As I get older (now 43), I sometimes wonder how  long I’ll be documenting births. My daughter (12) tells me – it better be long enough to document mine! So I guess I better squeeze out another decade or so.

I’ve been in business for 10 years now. But photography didn’t fulfill me until I documented my first birth in 2011. I was named Austin’s Best Birth Photographer in 2013 in the Austin Birth Awards and have her that title ever since. I’ve been featured on television and in print all over the world including The Huffington Post, Midwifery Today, Redbook Magazine, Babycenter, People, FStoppers, CLICK, Eltern, SheKnows, SELF, Cosmopolitan, ABC News, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Hello Giggles, Yahoo and Where Women Create. I was a keynote speaker at Off-Call, a conference exclusively for birth photographers, in 2015 and 2017. I also spoke at The Baby Summit in Atlanta, GA in 2016. I’ve been both a finalist and winner in the 2014/2017 International Association of Birth Photographers Photo Competition. In 2017 I was a finalist in the Lensculture Portait of the Year Competition as well as ClickinMom’s VOICE Collection, editor’s choice with National Geographic Your Shot’s “The Gift of Life” assignment. I am the founder of the world renowned Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project(PBAP), an initiative to normalize public breastfeeding which includes over 60 photographers from around the globe. I also run and dcuational platform for birth photographer called The Birthbound Photographer. I serve all Austin Areas within an hour of Cedar Park, TX: including Austin, South Austin, North Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Georgetown, and Leander. For areas outside of the greater Austin area, please inquire for availability.

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