When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear. -Alfred Eisenstaedt
Why photography? Why birth photography? How did I get here? These are the questions that I am often asked and I love answering them.
I would have never guessed that I would be a photographer at this point in my life and at the same time, it all makes sense. From as long as I can remember, I have loved looking at photographs. From the landscapes framed on my grandparent's walls to pouring over family photo albums upstairs, I could spend hours taking in the details captured by a camera. I wanted to look at the emotions in my parent's faces throughout my childhood and see the milestones captured. Yet, what I truly loved was the photos of the "sweet spots"! The photo of my grandpa with my little girl face in his hands rubbing noses with me or the photos of me and my older brothers laughing with each other during our childhood on the farm-those were my "sweet spots".
Fast forward to the day that I purchased my first digital camera as I had been longing for that event for quite awhile. My (then) husband and I were embarking upon our honeymoon to New Zealand and Australia. I NEEDED a digital camera. I NEEDED to document everything that I could see that was new to my eyes and every emotion of this once-in-a-lifetime trip. We got the camera, took the trip, dreamed of moving to New Zealand and I found my eye for photography. I collected my first compliment of my photography skills from the photos that I had taken. I began to dream. I dreamed of having a professional level DSLR. I dreamed of being able to have hours of uninterrupted photography time. I dreamed of my home filled with "artwork" quality images.
Another jump forward to a close friend asking me to photograph the birth of her second child. What? I had never even heard of birth photography? YES! YES! YES! Forget that I didn't have a professional camera yet. Forget that I had never taken a photography class. I was in, whatever birth photography was supposed to look like and whatever that experience was, I was in!
I was a new mom that had been hosting a mom's group in my home, documenting all of the children and babies in the first year of their growth and discoveries. This was nothing new to me as I had been a teacher in a school which documented with photography the learning process of the children. I knew how to do that. I knew how to take endless photos of my daughter as any mother does. Yet, I was hungry to truly learn more and become a photographer.
I saved money and bought my first Cannon DSLR. Trip to NYC with said camera and lots of experimenting. I started to take classes from the University and local camera store. I discovered online photography courses at CreativeLive. Then came the birth of that first baby. I loved being at that birth! I cannot repeat that enough or add enough exclamation to express that. It changed my life! It was such an incredible honor. More importantly, giving the mama and papa the photos of the first day of their child's life was such an honor. I was so grateful for that first experience as a birth photographer. I was hooked and in love with birth photography for the gift it gives! That was the start of all of this-Joanna Niven Photography.
Jump to today. I carry a Canon 5D Mark 111 in my hand now, very happily. A huge step up from that first Cannon. Wow, was that a sweet moment to upgrade to my dream camera and all that I can capture with that in hand! I invested in many lenses, in even more classes, and have photographed over 10 births, several weddings, many precious newborns, pregnant mamas and adorable children and families. Here I am, a maternity, birth, newborn and family photographer! A dream realized and I have loved every moment of it all!
Memories of that first birth captured...