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Friday Finds: pelvic floor health, body acceptance, circumcision, and more! by Meredith Westin

We have been hard at work on Gather Birth Cooperative and we are so excited to be bringing doula support and birth photography to families in the Twin Cities! In between working on the website (launching soon!), meeting with my co-founders, and attending a funeral, I had the privilege of documenting this gorgeous birth. Scroll on for links!

 
 

If you’re in Minneapolis and St. Paul, check out these fantastic businesses:

  • Hola Postpartum: a fantastic postpartum meal delivery service

  • Doula du Nord: an excellent postpartum doula who is now offering tuck-in support and evening support to families in the Twin Cities

  • Soul Lao: Lao food made with heart

Did you do anything fun this week? Do you have any big plans for the weekend? I’m shooting the wedding of a former birth client and I am so excited to be there with them as they celebrate this milestone! Gather is doing a special giveaway of some of my absolute favorite products, and you should enter! Visit this post and follow the prompts for your chance(s) to win! A winner will be drawn on Aug 17, so hurry!


Friday Finds: meal planning, secret talents, ethically responsible souvenirs, and more! by Meredith Westin

Did you see my big announcement last week? Gather Birth is LIVE and we are so excited to be bringing doula support and birth photography to families in the Twin Cities and nearby in the rest of Minnesota! We’re doing a special giveaway of some of my absolute favorite products, and you should enter! Visit this post and follow the prompts for your chance(s) to win! Scroll on for links!

 
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If you’re in Minneapolis and St. Paul, check out these fantastic businesses:

  • Hola Postpartum: a fantastic postpartum meal delivery service

  • Doula du Nord: an excellent postpartum doula who is now offering tuck-in support and evening support to families in the Twin Cities

  • Soul Lao: Lao food made with heart

Did you do anything fun this week? Do you have any big plans for the weekend? I’m heading to the Hobo Convention, and rearranging some furniture at home. Have a great weekend!


Friday Finds: a big announcement, beautiful objects, a compelling essay, and more! by Meredith Westin

WHAT. A. WEEK! It was a mad dash to the finish line as we worked hard to get everything ready for our big announcement: Gather Birth Cooperative. I’m joining forces with some AMAZING people and starting a new business. Gina, Emily, Brooke, and I are so excited, so proud, and so looking forward to sharing more with you soon. What’s the best way to support a small business? Comment on posts, like content, and brag about them on your own feed. Follow us on facebook, instagram, and check back on our website soon, if you like! Scroll on for a shorter version of my weekly links and one of my favorite photos from our headshot session a week ago. We really do have that much fun together and it’s the best. <3

 
Minneapolis Doula Birth Photography
 

If you’re in Minneapolis and St. Paul, check out these fantastic businesses:

  • Hola Postpartum: a fantastic postpartum meal delivery service

  • Doula du Nord: an excellent postpartum doula who is now offering tuck-in support and evening support to families in the Twin Cities

  • Tare Market: helping the planet by providing resources to reduce waste

On a personal note, I’m offering a special on my intimate Real Postpartum sessions in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. I’d love it if you’d spread the word! Have a great weekend!


Friday Finds: diverse toys, gorgeous travel photos, privilege, and more! by Meredith Westin

Did you read last weeks’ post? I was wondering whether I’d hear from any of my July clients on Friday, and I did! All three of them, and I have to tell you how grateful I am for reliable and talented backup photographers. I feel so fortunate to have found a lovely community of wonderful and supportive birth workers who dropped their plans at the drop of a hat to help support my clients. Once I got over the chaos of the day, I realized … because I took a light load in August, I’m practically off call for the rest of the summer! Woo! Scroll on for links!

 
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If you’re in Minneapolis and St. Paul, check out these fantastic businesses:

  • Hola Postpartum: a fantastic postpartum meal delivery service

  • Northern Natural Gardens: a sustainable landscape company specializing in native plants, pollinator gardens, and invasive plant removal and I am so stoked about their mission

  • Tare Market: helping the planet by providing resources to reduce waste

On a personal note, I’m offering a special on my intimate Real Postpartum sessions in celebration of the upcoming World Breastfeeding Week. I’d love it if you’d spread the word! Have a great weekend!


Friday Finds: jewelry for activists, traveling responsibly, the 3.5 rule, and more! by Meredith Westin

What a week! Between the storms, the lunar eclipse, and the full moon, I was sure that my last three July clients would call me at some point but Nope! I didn’t hear from anyone until Thursday night! TBD on whether any of my clients give birth today. When I wasn’t waiting to be called to a birth, I was hard at work on some behind the scenes business stuff that I can’t announce quite yet that I’m SO EXCITED ABOUT. Check back in next week for more deets. Scroll on for links!

 
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If you’re in Minneapolis and St. Paul, check out these fantastic businesses:

  • Hola Postpartum: a fantastic postpartum meal delivery service

  • Northern Natural Gardens: a sustainable landscape company specializing in native plants, pollinator gardens, and invasive plant removal and I am so stoked about their mission

  • Tare Market: helping the planet by providing resources to reduce waste

On a personal note, I’m offering a special on my intimate Real Postpartum sessions in celebration of the upcoming World Breastfeeding Week. I’d love it if you’d spread the word! Have a great weekend!


Friday Finds: boundaries, beautiful birth photography, bad first dates, and more! by Meredith Westin

In between being the photographer at a few births this past week, I found time to hang with friends, get some work done around the house, and bike around Minneapolis. I also found out that I picked up E. coli on Lake Minnetonka over the 4th! That explains why I was so unwell late last week. Friends, it was a pretty brutal few days and I am truly so glad to be feeling better! While I was laying low, I spent some time online. Keep scrolling to see a few of the links that resonated with me.

 
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If you’re in Minneapolis and St. Paul, check out these fantastic businesses:

  • Hola Postpartum: a fantastic postpartum meal delivery service

  • Northern Natural Gardens: a sustainable landscape company specializing in native plants, pollinator gardens, and invasive plant removal and I am so stoked about their mission

  • Get Organized.: a non-judgmental Minneapolis-based professional organizer

On a personal note, I’m offering a special on my intimate Real Postpartum sessions in celebration of the upcoming World Breastfeeding Week. I’d love it if you’d spread the word! Have a great weekend!


Friday Finds: the World Cup, #plasticfreejuly, easy recipes, and more! by Meredith Westin

Friends, I was AMBIVALENT about celebrating the 4th of July this year. Instead of focusing on the aspects of the holiday that didn’t sit well with me, I took the opportunity to spend time with loved ones, swim in a big, beautiful lake, and contribute to a few deserving organizations. I was also on call for a few births and got to do a postpartum session with one of my June families. Keep scrolling to see some of the links that resonated with me this week.

 
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If you’re local, check out these fantastic businesses:

  • Hola Postpartum: a fantastic postpartum meal delivery service

  • Northern Natural Gardens: a sustainable landscape company specializing in native plants, pollinator gardens, and invasive plant removal and I am so stoked about their mission

  • Hairy Poppins: a Dog Trainer Professional who geeks out on dog behavior and training. She uses evidence-based positive training techniques, and understands the importance of effective communication and consistency while working with and walking dogs. Serving South Minneapolis for walks and training.

Don’t forget to watch the World Cup final at 10 am on Sunday the 7th! Regardless of who you’re rooting for, supporting women’s sports is always a good call. On a personal note, I’m offering a special on my intimate Real Postpartum sessions in celebration of the upcoming World Breastfeeding Week. I’d love it if you’d spread the word! Have a great weekend!


Friday Finds: body positivity, travel plans, how to help at the border, and more! by Meredith Westin

If last week was all about attending births, this week was all about catching up. Catching up on housework, catching up on me time, and catching up on editing birth sessions. Here are previews of a few of the births I documented last week: a second baby in St. Paul, a home birth in Minneapolis with Gail Tully, a speedy fifth time birth, and a remarkably serene first time birth. Of course I spent some time online in between editing sessions. Keep scrolling to see some of the links that resonated with me this week.

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If you’re local, check out these fantastic businesses:

  • Hola Postpartum: a fantastic postpartum meal delivery service

  • Northern Natural Gardens: a sustainable landscape company specializing in native plants, pollinator gardens, and invasive plant removal and I am so stoked about their mission

  • Hairy Poppins: a Dog Trainer Professional who geeks out on dog behavior and training. She uses evidence-based positive training techniques, and understands the importance of effective communication and consistency while working with and walking dogs. Serving South Minneapolis for walks and training.

On a personal note, I’m offering a special on my intimate Real Postpartum sessions in celebration of the upcoming World Breastfeeding Week. I’d love it if you’d spread the word! Have a great weekend!


Friday Finds: great links, local businesses worth supporting, gorgeous birth photos and more! by Meredith Westin

I am nearing the end of my June client load. I had the honor of witnessing two families welcome a new baby into their lives on Father’s Day - one in St. Paul and one in Minneapolis - and I got to be on the welcoming committee for yet another baby the next day! What a whirlwind. Here are a few links that resonated with me this week while I spent some time online in between photographing births, spending time with loved ones, and editing birth sessions.

 
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If you’re in the Twin Cities, check out these fantastic businesses:

  • Hairy Poppins: a Dog Trainer Professional who geeks out on dog behavior and training. She uses evidence-based positive training techniques, and understands the importance of effective communication and consistency while working with and walking dogs. Serving South Minneapolis for walks and training.

  • Hola Postpartum: a fantastic postpartum meal delivery service

  • Northern Natural Gardens: a sustainable landscape company specializing in native plants, pollinator gardens, and invasive plant removal and I am so stoked about their mission

On a personal note, I spent some time with a different kind of client this week doing a Website Review. If you are a doula, birth photographer, or other kind of birth worker in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or the surrounding areas and you’d like to grow your business, get in touch! Also, I’m offering a special on my intimate Real Postpartum sessions in celebration of the upcoming World Breastfeeding Week. I’d love it if you’d spread the word! Have a great weekend!


Friday Finds: ethical clothing, sustainable landscaping, why to make plans on Sunday evening, and more! by Meredith Westin

I am in the thick of a very busy and birth-filled June. As I recover from being on the welcoming committee for new babies and wait for the next call to photograph a birth, I’ve been laying low, sticking close to home in Minneapolis, and making sure that I charge my batteries (literally and figuratively, ha!). Here are a few links that resonated with me this week while I spent some time online in between attending births, spending time with loved ones, and editing photographs of labor and delivery and Real Postpartum portrait sessions.

 
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If you’re in the Twin Cities, check out these fantastic businesses:

  • Hola Postpartum: an amazing new postpartum meal delivery service

  • Northern Natural Gardens: a sustainable landscape company specializing in native plants, pollinator gardens, and invasive plant removal and I am so stoked about their mission

  • Organized Period: a professional organizer in the Twin Cities who can help get your clutter under control

On a personal note, I spent some time with a different kind of client this week doing a Mentoring Session. If you are a doula, birth photographer, or other kind of birth worker in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or the surrounding areas and you’d like to grow your business, get in touch! Also, I’m booked up for births for the year but my calendar for Real Postpartum sessions is wide open, and I would love to capture you and your little one(s) at whatever stage of postpartum you’re in. Have a great weekend!


Friday Finds: Father’s Day gift guides, binge-worthy shows, implicit bias, non-binary words, and more! by Meredith Westin

I have a handful of clients who expect to deliver their babies in June, which means that I am very on call right now. I’ve been laying low, sticking close to home, and making sure that I charge my batteries (literally and figuratively, ha!). While I wait for one of my birth photography clients to call me in, I fill time by riding my bike, kayaking the Minneapolis lakes, browsing design blogs, curling up with a good book, and experimenting with new recipes. Here are a few things that resonated with me this week while I browsed websites in between editing Birth Stories and Real Postpartum photo sessions.

 
 

If you’re in the Twin Cities, check out these great free events in Minneapolis and St. Paul:

  • Free pics of your dog by Leslie Plesser of Shuttersmack at the Copilot Dog Outfitters anniversary party: 12-3 on June 8

  • National Get Outdoors Day: Powderhorn Park, 4-8 p.m. on June 7

  • Summer Flower Show: Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily from April 27-Sept. 29

  • Rose and Melvin Smith: Remembering Rondo: Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum

  • 4th Annual Chalkfest at Arbor Lakes: The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on June 8 and 9

  • Juneteenth Celebration: North Regional Library, 1-3 p.m. on June 9

Also in the Twin Cities:

On a personal note, I’m almost completely booked for birth photography sessions in 2019! If you’re birthing in November in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or the surrounding areas, get in touch! As always, my calendar for Real Postpartum sessions is wide open, and I would love to capture you and your little one(s) at whatever stage of postpartum you’re in. Have a great weekend!


Trade for Services | Minneapolis and St. Paul Birth + Postpartum Photographer by Meredith Westin

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Twin Cities Birth and Postpartum Photographer

As a birth photographer in Minnesota, I am occasionally asked if I will trade or barter for services. My short answer is yes! There are many things that I pay for already that I would be happy to trade for and working for trades can be more than worth my time and energy. If you are interested in my photography services, can’t quite make my prices work with your budget, and a payment plan or gift registry isn’t for you, consider suggesting a trade! Especially if you can offer one of the following services, I’m excited to discuss the possibilities of trading or bartering for services.

Keep scrolling to learn more. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.

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Here’s a short list of things that I would love to trade for. I’m also open to other ideas!

  • House cleaning

  • Landscaping

  • CSA and/or fresh, organic produce

  • Sustainable meat

  • Meals out

  • Massage (I’ve never had one!)

  • Haircuts

  • Airbnb/VRBO/cabin time

And I’m sure there’s so much more that I’d be open to!

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Thanks for reading! View my FAQ, archives, and learn more about me.

Nine Fascinating Facts About The Placenta by Meredith Westin

The placenta is an incredible organ. I always try to capture at least one image of the placenta at each birth I attend. I find them to be fascinating, but for those who may not find them appealing, there are many reasons to respect them. Here are nine interesting facts you may not know about your baby's placenta.

a true knot in the cord

a true knot in the cord

 

1. KNOTS ARE A VARIATION OF NORMAL

Cords knots occur in less than 2% of pregnancies. Most are relatively loose and don’t present a problem. Many times, the knots we see at birth were loose in the uterus and become tight through the delivery process. A substance called Wharton's jelly provides cushioning around the important blood vessels of the cord and protects them even if the cord gets knotted. As long as the knot remains loose, it won't cause harm to your baby. If the knot becomes tight, it could interfere with the circulation of blood from the placenta to the baby and cause oxygen deprivation. Such a complication is most likely to occur during your baby's descent through the birth canal, but these cases are rare. More common than knots are nuchal cords, the technical term for when the cord wraps around a baby's neck. Nuchal cords occur in as many as a quarter of all pregnancies and rarely pose risks to the baby.

 
the mother’s side of the placenta. this is the side that was attached to the uterus

the mother’s side of the placenta. this is the side that was attached to the uterus

 

2. LAYING LOW AFTER GOING THROUGH LABOR AND DELIVERY IS ESSENTIAL…

in part, because the wound the placenta leaves inside the uterus needs time to heal. Allowing yourself to rest and recover with the support of family and friends in the first four to six weeks after delivering your baby will set both you and baby up for better health in the long run. To learn more about this, please read The First Forty Days and The Fourth Trimester. “As modern mothers are pushed to prematurely ‘bounce back’ after delivering their babies, and are often left alone to face the physical and emotional challenges of this radically new chapter of their lives, The First Forty Days stands as a lifeline—a source of connection, nourishment, and guidance. It is the perfect ally for the first few weeks with a new baby…and beyond.”

 
Twin Cities Birth and Postpartum Photographer
 

3. THE PLACENTA ACTS AS YOUR BABY’S LUNGS

When you breathe, your body provides oxygen to your organs and tissues. During pregnancy, the pregnant person does the same thing for the fetus through the placenta. The oxygen passes through the placenta and the umbilical cord and is delivered into your baby’s bloodstream. The placenta also acts as your baby’s kidneys by filtering out waste. As baby is born, their lungs quickly adapt to life on the outside. Leaving the cord attached for a few minutes after birth (wait for white!), known as delayed cord clamping, helps them go through this process smoothly. (Evidence)

 
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4. THE PLACENTA CAN PROVIDE IMMUNITY TO BABY AFTER BIRTH

During pregnancy, the placenta transfers antibodies that provide immune protection from the mother to the fetus. These antibodies provide three to six months of immunity for the baby after it is born.

 
a gush of blood lets you know that your placenta has started to detach

a gush of blood lets you know that your placenta has started to detach

 

5. THE PLACENTA BENEFITS THE MATERNAL BODY AS WELL AS THE FETAL BODY

Fetal cells can transfer to the mother during pregnancy, and they seem to target sites of injury. These cells have been found in the skin, liver, kidney and bone marrow in healthy women as well as women with autoimmune diseases. They have also been found in women with diseases like hepatitis C and cervical cancer. There is evidence that the presence of these cells is increased in diseased tissues. The placenta also creates cells to protect the mother’s heart and fend off breast cancer.

 
the membranes, or amniotic sac, are hanging off of this placenta. baby was born en caul

the membranes, or amniotic sac, are hanging off of this placenta. baby was born en caul

 

6. WHEN THE PLACENTA IS BIRTHED, MILK PRODUCTION BEGINS

While it isn’t the placenta itself creating a new mother’s breast milk, it does have a role. When the placenta has separated, it triggers the production of prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone responsible for milk production. Once your milk comes in, it is produced on a supply and demand basis. The more often the milk is removed from your breasts (by baby or breast pump), the more milk your breasts will produce.

 
a unique cord insertion

a unique cord insertion

 

7. THE PLACENTA IS PART OF THE EGG AND THE SPERM

When a sperm fertilizes the egg, the cells begin to quickly multiply. The egg and sperm become a blastocyst. The blastocyst becomes the placenta and the baby. Not only does the placenta belong to the baby and it’s mama, it also contains genetics from the father!

 
extended delayed cord clamping

extended delayed cord clamping

we can see the cord, the baby’s side of the placenta, and the membranes which held the baby

we can see the cord, the baby’s side of the placenta, and the membranes which held the baby

 

9. THE BIRTH OF THE PLACENTA IS KNOW AS THE THIRD STAGE OF LABOR

After you give birth, you'll continue to have mild contractions. Your health care provider might give you a medication called Pitocin to reduce postpartum bleeding (here’s the evidence on that). Your provider might also massage your lower abdomen to encourage your uterus to contract and expel the placenta. This is called a fundal massage and many people find it to be incredibly unpleasant. You might be asked to push one more time to deliver the placenta. If you have a C-section, your surgeon will remove the placenta from your uterus during the procedure. Your provider will examine the placenta to make sure it it is intact. Remaining fragments must be removed to prevent bleeding and infection.

 
another true knot

another true knot

Did you get to see your baby's placenta after giving birth? Would you (or did you) have it encapsulated or made into a tincture? Share your experiences in the comments!

 

Birth From Above | A Collection of Overhead Birth Photographs by Meredith Westin

You may not know this, but hiring a tall birth photographer has its advantages. Minneapolis and St. Paul have an abundance of birthplaces that my birth photography clients can choose from. Not only do the Twin Cities have several hospitals as well as a handful of fantastic birth centers, but we also have a ton of wonderful homebirth midwives who work in the area. We are fortunate to have such a progressive environment in which to be pregnant, giving birth, and adjusting to life as a parent and rediscovering ourselves in our postpartum time. The variety of wonderful Minnesota birthplaces gives me plenty of opportunities to be creative while I'm documenting births. One of my very favorite angles to capture is a shot of birth from above. Whether I'm preserving a bit of labor, delivery, or those beautiful first moments with your baby in your arms, there’s something so special about capturing this overhead perspective. Take a look if you like!

Visit my birth photography blog archives, see The Best Birth Photography of 2018, and learn what to ask a birth photographer in an interview!

Ten Questions To Ask A Birth Photographer Before You Hire Them | What Do I Need To Know About Birth Photography? by Meredith Westin

(updated July 2019)

As a birth photographer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I’ve photographed over 100 birth stories. I’ve been hired by people who hadn’t heard of birth photography until after their first baby was born and then just had to have a birth photographer at their second birth. I’ve been hired by people who knew they wanted the once-in-a-lifetime moments at their birth captured before they even got pregnant. And I’ve been hired by people who had a less than stellar experience with a birth photographer the last time around and hired me because they valued birth photography and wanted to protect their investment. Their stories inspired this post. As a full-time professional birth photographer in the Twin Cities, I want you to have the best possible experience at your birth, and I want your birth photos to be something that you can always cherish.

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What Do I Need To Know About Birth Photography?

As you email and interview birth photographers, here are ten questions to keep in mind.

How many births have you documented?

Experience matters. A birth photographer is a lot different than any other kind of photographer. Birth photographers need to be able to shoot in every type of lighting situation, day or night. I’ve documented over 100 births in the Twin Cities, and my skills have grown and developed with each one. (See a few photos from my very first birth on my about page — how far I’ve come!) From dark birth center births to beautifully lit daytime home births to hospital births with mixed lighting, I know my camera inside and out and can expertly capture your birth story.

What happens if you are sick or already with a birth client when I go into labor?

We’re only human, after all. Sometimes, despite our best intentions and lots of planning, a birth photographer won’t be able to make it to a birth. Your birth photographer should have a support network around them and at least two dedicated backups who can step in if they are ill or already at a birth when your baby decides it’s go time. Ask to see their portfolios, make sure they’ll adhere to the model release you have with your birth photographer, and find out what their qualifications are.

My fantastic doula partner Gina of The Sown Seed is at the top of my list if I am unavailable to attend a birth and she is so ridiculously talented. Here’s a preview of a birth that she captured for me while I was across town at a different hospital with another client. I’m so lucky to have Gina and a few other incredible women in my Minneapolis birth photography community.

What happens if I have an unplanned cesarean?

Your photographer should be comfortable supporting you through a surgical birth. Make sure they are open to the idea of not only witnessing but also documenting the process for you if you want them to. Ask to see examples of other c-sections that they’ve documented and make sure you know what your hospital’s policy is on photography in the operating room.

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Do you offer birth videography as well as birth photography? How do you prioritize when to take video vs. still images?

Maybe you’d like to capture not only the sights of your birthing experience but the sounds, motions, and emotions too. Does your photographer offer videography too? And do they know how to capture video footage while they’re taking photos? Having multiple cameras makes this possible, and it’s one of my favorite things to do for clients. Many of my birth photography clients in Minneapolis and St. Paul request that I capture video footage as well as stills for the moment of birth. Here are two recent examples.

Can you show me what a full birth gallery looks like?

To know whether your birth photographer is a good fit for you, you should see the full story and not just what they put on their website and social media pages. Any professional worth hiring will have a full gallery available to share with you.

What to look for:

  • Are the images high quality? All of the photos should be in focus and not blurry. They shouldn’t be too grainy. Too much grain, or staticky speckles on the images, indicates either improper exposure in the camera, over-editing, or an inability to work in low light.

  • Do you like how the photographer edits their images? Digital photography is meant to be manipulated, and every photographer has their own style. Make sure you want your photos to look the way the photographer processes/edits their images.

  • Are the photos in color or black and white? Be sure the photographer’s style aligns with what you want. A good birth photographer will be able to deliver most images from your session in color and should be able to provide any image in black and white too.

Here are links to a few of my full birth galleries: Zoey (hospital), Baby Liv (home birth), Roman (birth center), and Robyn (birth center).

Are you comfortable documenting births in dark spaces?

Cameras need light to work, and there isn’t usually much light in the middle of the night. A well-lit daytime birth is rare. Is your birth photographer going to be able to handle the low light when the lights are dimmed down at your birthplace?

Look at the images that your photographer showcases on their website. Do they feature a variety of lighting situations? Are they as capable of making beautiful images in a dim room as they are in one of those rare sunny daytime births? Not only can births be dark, but sometimes the lighting is incredibly complex. Between overhead fluorescents, ambient lighting, natural light, the surgical light that is usually turned on for the moment of birth at a hospital, and even operating room lights, a variety of light sources is something that a pro will know how to navigate.

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Are you running a legitimate business?

It’s easier than ever to say you’re a photographer, but any birth photographer worth their salt will be operating a legal business with a business license, insurance, and professional quality gear. Merely owning a camera does not make one a professional photographer. And entry level-equipment doesn’t do super well in birth. Along with having high quality cameras, lenses, and cards, your photographer should know how to use their camera on manual settings.

A professional birth photographer will be running a sound business as well as using pro-level gear, working with backups, and signing a contract and model release with their clients. Is your photographer charging a living wage? What is their turnaround time? Are they continuing their education in the field? While you don’t necessarily need to know all the details of how they run their business, working with a professional gives you a lot of peace of mind.

Are there any hidden costs that I should know about? Will I have to pay more after my baby’s birth?

Your birth photographer should be able to tell you exactly what they include in your package, and you shouldn’t have to worry about how much you’ll end up spending later. If they list their prices on their website, great! If they send you a cost sheet via email, great! As long as they are transparent about what they are selling you and it’s part of your contract, you’re good. If you’d like to see my pricing for birth photography in Minneapolis and St. Paul, click here. Interested in videography too? Here you go!

Are you going to put my photos on the internet? Are you going to take, ahem, that photo?

Your birth photographer should have you sign a model release that doesn’t permit them to share a single image if that’s what you want. I’m so fortunate that so many of my clients have allowed me to share their beautiful and intimate birth images — but I do not require them to do so. As far as that image goes — you know… the crowning shot — if you want your photographer to capture that specific moment where your baby is thisclose to being in your arms, they should be able to! Barring a super speedy delivery or an emergency situation, a professional birth photographer understands the ins and outs (ha!) of birth well enough to be able to get that shot. Alternately, if you’re concerned about modesty, a pro will know how to work with your preferences and can find creative angles to preserve your privacy.

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And finally, one last question to ask. I almost didn’t include this one because I don’t have kids of my own (yet! fingers crossed) but it comes up in interviews every once in a while so I figured I should address it. H/T to Hannah of Milk and Hannah for addressing this in her own fantastic post about questions to ask your birth photographer! Below is a direct copy from her site. She said it better than I could have!

What is your childcare situation?

The vast majority of birth photographers, I’d put my money on 80%, are parents to young-ish children. And children are the best, they really are, but… they make it absolutely impossible to do what you need to do when you need to do it.

If your birth photographer has babies at home, ask them what their childcare plan is. Birth doesn’t normally happen Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, it happens during Father’s Day brunch (been there!), it happens at 2 am on a Wednesday, and on Christmas Eve while everyone is still sleeping. It sometimes lasts for four hours, and other times lasts for 37.

Childcare for a birth photographer should be covered 24/7, 365 days a year, with little notice and no time limits.

If your choice doesn’t have a 24/7 care plan laid out, ask what the backup plan is — if they have no backup plan, you may want to consider another option.

Specific details you’ll want to know: Are you covered 24/7 in the time surrounding my guess date? What if my birth unfolds during a holiday or celebration? How much time does it take you to finalize childcare arrangements after being notified that I’m in labor?

Thank you, Hannah!

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Meredith Westin Photography- Twin Cities Birth Stories and Videos

Is there anything else you think I should suggest that birthing people ask their prospective birth photographer? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll leave you with another quote, this one from the inimitable Monet Nicole, which helps explain why all of those questions matter.

Hiring an experienced birth photographer isn’t cheap. But remember, your birth photos will be one of the greatest treasures of your life. Your birth photographer will be on-call for you (24/7) for weeks. She’ll leave birthday parties, holidays. She’ll wake up at 3am to sit with your family for hours. She’ll bring thousands of dollars worth of equipment. She’ll move through your birth space with grace and skill. She’ll capture the big moments and the small moments. She’ll edit each of your images carefully. She’ll weave together your story…a story you’ll hold onto for the rest of your life. Hiring an experienced birth photographer is worth it. I promise.
— Monet Moutrie
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Are you looking for a birth photographer in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding areas? You’ve come to the right place.

Learn more about Meredith Westin, the leading birth photographer in the Twin Cities.

Do you still have questions? Visit my FAQ, read my about page, or send me a message.

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The Best Of 2018: Birth Photography in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the Surrounding Suburbs by Meredith Westin

What. a. year! In 2018, I had the honor of documenting 21 hospital births, 10 births at birth centers, and eight home births. 15 baby boys, 25 baby girls. Four surgical births, one surrogacy delivery, and one set of twins. Most of my clients allowed me to share images from their birth and a few chose to keep their images private. Additionally, I captured six births for other birth photographers as a backup and took a few months off to travel! The joy, strength, and love that I felt and witnessed at each of these births was heartwarming and immensely fulfilling. These are some of my favorite moments of my birth photography career in 2018 and some of the very best moments of my life. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed capturing them.

Bonus Real Postpartum images are at the bottom of this post! I absolutely adore these intimate motherhood sessions and the collection of images that I make at each session commemorates a bit of your postpartum time.

If you're looking for a birth photographer the Twin Cities, visit this page and then contact me to get the ball rolling! I provide birth photography services in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding suburbs too! 

*all images shared with permission and gratitude*

Click through to learn more about my birth photography packages.

And if you’d like to know more about my intimate motherhood sessions, visit my Real Postpartum page!

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER TO DOCUMENT YOUR LABOR AND DELIVERY EXPERIENCE IN MINNEAPOLIS, ST. PAUL, OR THE SURROUNDING AREAS IN MINNESOTA, LET'S TALK! I'M EXPERIENCED AT HOSPITAL, BIRTH CENTER, AND HOME BIRTHS, AND I'VE DOCUMENTED (AND BEEN THE DOULA AT!) VBACS, TWINS, SURROGACY, WATER, MEDICATED, EPIDURAL, SAME SEX, AND CESAREAN BIRTHS.

My Absolute Favorite Birth Photographs of The Last Year | Twin Cities Birth Photographer by Meredith Westin

When I learned toward the end of 2016 that birth photography was a thing, I had no idea how my life here in the Twin Cities would change and how immensely fulfilled I would feel after I embraced this incredible subject and the unpredictable lifestyle that goes along with it. The joy, strength, and love that I felt and witnessed at each of these births (and so many more!) was life affirming, overwhelmingly wonderful, and supremely fulfilling. These are some of my favorite moments of my birth photography career over the last year and, honestly, some of the very best moments of my life. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed capturing them.

If you're looking for a Twin Cities birth photographer, visit this page and then contact me to get the ball rolling! I provide birth photography services in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding suburbs too! 

*all images shared with permission and gratitude*


15. This lovely mama was touring her hospital in Minneapolis when her water broke. They were admitted immediately but didn't meet their little girl until over a day later after a long, hard labor. Her birth partner was so incredibly supportive and I was thisclose to featuring him here but I wanted to showcase mama's strength and tenacity instead. (Ah, I just have to! See a bonus image of papa at the bottom of this page!)

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14. This is postpartum: breastfeeding on cue, mesh undies, breasts brimming with milk, a lovely still-round belly, and settling in at home as the newest version of you. Prenatal and postpartum sessions are included in my Birth Story packages.

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13. I love the stillness of this moment. Mama is laboring down while papa watches the clock. Little did they know that they'd be meeting their sweet babe ohsovery soon! 

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12. Look at that cute little vernix-covered baby bum! This babe was placed on his mama's chest immediately after being delivered and then was covered by a blanket. If it wasn't for this quick shot, his parents might never have known just how cheesy he was and how lovely his cord was! 

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11. Sometimes birth happens really really really quickly. This baby was born less than 15 minutes after I arrived at the hospital, which was only minutes after mama, papa, and their fantastic doula arrived, and only 18 minutes after I was called in. What a timeline! Mama's labor was fast and intense, and don't you just adore that look of love and joy she's sharing with Papa? 

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10. Ohhhh my heart! When brand new babies lock eyes with their parents for the first time, I almost always shed a tear (read: sob.). I'm so glad this amazing couple got to experience their sweet babe's gaze just after her birth. 

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9. I loooove capturing one last shot of the belly before baby arrives as a birth photographer in the Twin Cities. This one, mid-contraction, is a favorite.

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8. Isn't that cord incredible? It's still pumping blood from the placenta at the moment of birth! And can you see dad's hand tightly gripping mama's as she powered through one last push? The best! 

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7. All eyes on babe. Tear-filled, relieved, and overjoyed eyes. It is such a treasure to be able to preserve these emotions for my families.

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6. This wonderful moment of stillness as mama rides out the waves at home in St. Paul is so peaceful. And...

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5. ...This moment, which has a completely different feel, is yet another reminder of just how crazy and beautiful birth can be. And though you can't see much of her, I love knowing that mama's midwife is right there caring for mama and helping her work through her contractions.

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4. This birth in St. Paul, which was the first birth of 2018 that I documented, was such a wonderful experience. A homebirth attended by midwives with an immensely supportive partner and an excited big brother waiting in the wings! I couldn't pick just one! 

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3. Birth photography isn't the only thing I do! I also offer Real Postpartum sessions to families in the Twin Cities, which feature mamas breastfeeding their babes. This session, which took place earlier this year with a past birth client of mine, remains a favorite. 

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2. Homebirth has such a special place in my heart and this mama rocked her birth at home. She was confident, trusting, and delivered her babe in a hands-off birth.

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1. And last but certainly not least, we have this. This moment, where mama and baby are both learning how to breastfeed, where papa is examining an adorable foot, where the placenta is still connected to the baby it coexisted with for oh so long... This moment is everything and this moment is fleeting, over in an instant but not soon forgotten. And this moment, and every other moment shown here, and ohsovery many more, are why I love being a Twin Cities birth photographer.

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If you're looking for a birth photographer to document your labor and delivery experience in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or the surrounding areas in Minnesota, let's talk! I'm experienced at hospital, birth center, and home births, and I've documented (and been the doula at!) VBACs, twins, surrogacy, water, medicated, epidural, same sex, and cesarean births.

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In Review: November 2016 through March 2017 by Meredith Westin

What a random collection of months, eh? This was originally going to be a birthday post: a collection of my favorite images from my first few months as a birth photographer starting back in November and going into March. It still is a collection of my favorites, of course, but I'm posting it a few weeks before my birthday because, well, it's my blog and I do what I want. I included a small caption on each image and, while I wish I had insightful things to say about each of these photographs, what I mostly have to say is, "Eeeeee! Baby! Cuuuuute!". I so enjoyed making these images, I'm looking forward to capturing more birth stories for families in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and I hope looking at these photos gives you a bit of insight into why I love doing what I do. 

xo,

Mere

DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE? CHECK OUT MY PRICING, MY BIRTH STORY ARCHIVES, OR VIEW MY TESTIMONIALS.