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I have known Kristina for a very long time and was so honored when she allowed me to be a part of her birth team when she delivered her 3rd beautiful girl. Her due date was April 5th but she knew baby would come early and in the middle of the night. So it was no surprise when she messaged me at 1:30am on April 1st, letting me know her labor had started. Sweet Braelyn made her arrival at 2:08pm on April Fools Day weighing in at 8.6lbs and was 20.5 inches long. It was such a blessing to be a part of her labor and delivery.
A few years ago I was living in Great Lakes, due to my husbands military career and very briefly met a girl named Michelle. The one thing I have come to realize with the military is that we all connect again at some point. When I reached out to the birth photography community shortly after restarting my birth business, we connected again. When I decided to start doing interviews on my blog, I knew exactly who to start with first.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: I am a mother of two. A wife to a military man. I am a birth junkie and find my passion with birth photography. I grew up in Florida and we made our way to Virginia and plan to call this our home after the military. We love everything about Hampton Roads and have really built our family here.
Q: How many births have you photographed?
A: As of May 1st, 2017 I have photographed 100 births. I am currently waiting on births 101 and 102.
Q: Why do you feel that birth photography is important?
A: Birth is such a pivitol moment in a persons life. Its a moment where a woman becomes a mother or a whole family dynamic changes with a new addition. I look back at my sons birth and long for the images of him being born and those first moments with him. I do not remember what he looked like or what my expression was. I wish that I had someone there documenting those moments for us so that I could show him the day he was born. With my second child we had a birth photographer and I am so grateful that she was there. She documented the moments that I knew I had to have. I got to watch myself in my most powerful and my most vulnerable stages. Being able to look back on my daughters birth and see the strength that I had gives me that power to go through the tough moments in my life. Birth photography is more than just the moments, its about the journey.
Q: Being in a military community, are most of your clients military or civilian?
A: I have a good mix of military and civilian families
Q: How do you balance family life with 'on call' life?
A: On call life has just become our life. Five years ago when I started birth work it was hard balancing it all. We had one car and my husband was on sea duty. There were times that I thought I could not do it anymore and I had to give up to keep things sane in our home. I instead kept on pushing through and now it has just become a normal in our lives. Once I switched to specializing in birth it was easier to only book birth and keep my schedule sane for my family.
Q: Did you have a photographer at your births? Why or why not?
A: With my son we did not have a birth photographer. I wanted one but there were not many people doing it, especially in our area. It was not something that was common. With my daughter I knew that I had to have one. I made sure that I saved and payed each month to make it happen. I am so glad that we did because I cherish those images and video.
Q: A lot of people hesitate when they see the price of a birth photographer. Can you explain a little everything that goes into your work and why this service is worth the expense?
People do get a shocked when they see the price of my services. I understand that yes, it is a lot of money. Being on call 24/7 is my biggest reason why I charge what I do. I do not go on vacations due to being on call. I have to often drop everything I am doing, even on a holiday, and rush off to be by their side. The toll on my family is what makes the price I charge worth it to me. Other things I factor into my pricing is babysitting fees, editing hours, insurance, business taxes, anything that comes with your package, subscriptions to the gallery you view the images on, marketing etc. When all is said and done I do make money off of each session but defiantly not the whole price I am charging goes to my family and our bills. Along with all of that you also have to factor in how long you could be at a birth. There are some births that I am there max 6 hours. Then there are births where I am there 38 hours. It all evens out in the end so charging one solid price is how I chose to run my business.
Michelle shared some of her favorite images with us and more of her work can be found at https://michellelynnphotographicartist.com/
If you or someone you know is having a baby in the Hampton Roads area, check her out!!!