Twenty-three MILLION miscarriages take place annually.  In 2019, an estimated 2 million babies were stillborn, globally. 

That is twenty-five million babies sent to dance amongst the stars via early pregnancy loss and stillborn birth. These moments and births matter. Though they may be full of tragedy and heartbreak, these moments may be the only opportunity a family has to honor and remember their baby. Loss photography, or remembrance photography, is not only important, it is needed. 

As Professional Birth Photographers, we have this opportunity to create beauty from ashes while helping to memorialize a family’s birth experience as well as their baby.  These precious photos may be the only items this family has to remember their child.  Consider it a privilege and an honor to be allowed into this sacred space filled with loss, heartache, and shattered dreams.

Typically, births are full of adrenaline and wonder.  The outcome is bright and before you know it, you’re photographing a baby being placed in their parents’ arms as they utter their first cry. Births ending in loss also have adrenaline and wonder embedded in them, but the energy is different. The adrenaline screams “this is happening and I can’t stop it” but the wonder rests in grief.  Photographing this birth experience can seem daunting and scary.  It can also bring a healing to your heart that you didn’t know you needed. 

Mother being comforted post pregnancy loss while holding stillborn infant.
Image by Lacey Barratt

Here are five tips to ensure best photography practices are at the forefront while capturing a moment in time that is heartbreakingly beautiful and so very deserving of being remembered.

  1. Acknowledge each person.
    When walking into the environment, greet every person there.  You are entering a very sacred place that is going to bond the members of this family forever.
  2. Curate yourself as a safe space.
    Prior to photographing, cultivate a safe space of mutual admiration and respect by asking the family what photos they want and do not want.  Remind them that when you are capturing this time, that you are there to capture the deep love felt within that space.  
  3. Be prepared to be responsive.
    If a parent requests that you stop taking photos or declines a shot, simply honor their wishes and move on.
  4. Be descriptive and communicative.
    To help the grieving parents cope, walk them through everything that you do.  This includes how you may or may not move their baby, why you use a prop that you do, etc. 
  5. Capture a legacy.
    Be sure to capture anything that could share the story of their baby’s memory.  This may include toys and outfits purchased, a crib, etc. Close up shots of their newborn’s toes and fingers or catching the family while embracing are also so important.

Love is found within it all and as a Professional Birth Photographer, you have the incredible opportunity to ensure that.  At IAPBP we strongly believe that birth is beautiful and deserves to be remembered, regardless of outcome. Our talented birth photographers are required to uphold our community Code of Ethics and promise to provide a professional, honest and respectful experience for any birthing person.  Find a birth photographer in your area.


Featured image: Lacey Barratt