The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Image of the Year Competition. Our Judge panel had a very difficult job in narrowing down the winners this year as there were many excellent entries. We are appreciative of their time and efforts. Winners were chosen on a point system and judged on technicality, emotionality and composition. Thank you to each and every IAPBP member who entered this year and, of course, the families who agreed to share their birth moments with us all!
- All images have been shared with the permission of the family and the photographer. Please respect their choice and copyright. Do not copy, print or save any of the images. You are, of course, welcome to share a link to this page if you wish.
- This competition has now ended. Judging was completed by a point system. For more information please view our official rules, terms and conditions.
- All media requests and questions about this contest should be directed to email@example.com.
If you are new here and would like to find a birth photographer in your area, please visit our Birth Photographer directory.
Please note: While birth is beautiful, it is also messy and real. You should expect some nudity when viewing the entries.
2016 Competition Winners
First Place WinnerMarijke Thoen Geboortefotografie
100 | Underwater birth, baby with gorgeous curly hair
Best In Category: LaborApple Blossom Families
223 | The Surge
Best In Category: DeliveryBirth Blessings Photography & Childbirth Services
341 | En-Caul Unassisted Twin Water Birth
Best In Category: PostpartumNatalia Walth Photography
500 | Where peace begins.
Honorable MentionLove By Krista Evans Photography
382 | It calls to her both loudly and softly in song.
Honorable MentionAngela Gallo – Untethered Beginning for The Birthing Woman
26 | Maternal Grace
Honorable Mentionalexandra kayy photography
7 | in between two worlds.
2016 Competition Entries
Ricki Lake & Abby EpsteinFrom acting and producing, to dancing her way into the hearts of television audiences, Emmy Award winning Host Ricki Lake is a pop culture icon who has built a career on her graciously candid sensibility and her authentic, relatable nature.
Ricki Lake’s legacy and perhaps her greatest love is her role as an independent filmmaker. Her award-winning documentary The Business of Being Born debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007. Lake worked closely with filmmaker Abby Epstein on the project, which resonated with audiences, striking up a conversation about a subject that is sometimes considered taboo. Declared a film that ‘should be seen by every pregnant woman in America’, it has also inspired a rise in homebirth rates and an increase in midwife practices.
Lake is again collaborating with Abby Epstein and they are currently in production on two documentaries; Sweetening The Pill, about hormonal birth control and Weed The People, about medicinal cannabis. Both films are slated for late 2015 release.
Lake competed on the 13th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” where she partnered with three-time champion Derek Hough, making it to the finals. She recently performed with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.
At the age of 24, Lake entered the living rooms of millions of television viewers with her daily talk show, “The Ricki Lake Show”. After 11 successful seasons, “The Ricki Lake Show” wrapped in 2005. Lake returned in 2012, and won the Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host.
The world first met Lake in 1988 as Tracy Turnblad in John Waters’ film Hairspray. Her additional film credits include Cry-Baby, Serial Mom, Working Girl, Last Exit To Brooklyn, and Mrs. Winterbourne. Television credits include “Babycakes”, “China Beach”, “The King of Queens”, “Matters of Life & Dating”, and “Loving Leah”.
Abby Epstein produced and directed the celebrated documentary The Business of Being Born, with her longtime producing partner, Ricki Lake. Heralded as a “must-see for every pregnant woman,” The Business of Being Born premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival where it was named among “Best of the Fest” by New York Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. The Business of Being Born was released theatrically in 2008 and had its broadcast premiere on Showtime. The success of the film inspired Abby and Ricki’s book Your Best Birth, which was published by Hachette. Their follow-up DVD series More Business of Being Born featuring Cindy Crawford, Alanis Morissette, Gisele Bundchen and Christy Turlington was released in 2011. Abby made her film directing debut at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival with the documentary, Until the Violence Stops, featuring Jane Fonda, Eve Ensler, Salma Hayek and Rosie Perez. The film played at the Miami, Santa Barbara, Maui and Locarno Film Festivals and won the Audience Award at the Amnesty International Film Festival in Vancouver. Until the Violence Stops premiered on Lifetime Television and received an Emmy and a Gracie Allen Award. Under their joint venture BOBB Films, Abby and Ricki served as Executive Producers of the 2014 documentary Breastmilk and are in production on two new films: Weed the People and Sweetening the Pill. Prior to her film work Abby directed theater, helming National Tours and international premieres of RENT and “The Vagina Monologues.”
Barb UilJinky Art is a photography experience inspired by childhood wanderings, boundless imagination, far away places, antique treasures and all things family. Known worldwide for her magical and imaginative depiction of childhood, award winning photographer Barb Uil began her journey as a photographer in 2003 after many years of working with children in Pre-Schools and exploring all things childhood.
Her admiration and love for children has inspired not only the JinkyArt brand but has also allowed her to travel world wide booking countless portrait commissions, teach over a hundred JinkyArt photography workshops, feature in magazines globally and become a recognized name in the world of Children’s Photography.
However, Barb Uil loves nothing more than the simple pleasure of photographing the children that she meets and creating pieces that depict their boundless imaginations and love that they feel for their families.
Jan TrittenJan is the founder, mother and editor-in-chief of Midwifery Today magazine and a midwife who was in active practice from 1977–1989. She became a midwife in 1977 after the powerful homebirth of one of her daughters. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. She does this by organizing Midwifery Today conferences around world as well as publishing the magazine. One of her favorite tasks is to look at photos of mothers and babies and births so she is honored to participate in this contest.
Mandi Hardy HillmanI think it’s fitting to call myself a Jill-of-all-trades, as I often find myself filling many roles and juggling many different “jobs” in the process. I have a master’s degree in psychological counseling and am a licensed professional counselor. I first started working as a professional in the field of mental health in 2005. In 2011, I earned a PhD from Iowa State University in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS). My research focuses on modern maternity care experiences in the U.S., primarily from a social and feminist lens and exploring how birth experiences impact individuals as well as parent-child relationships and child development. I am a certified doula through DONA, International and certified childbirth educator through ICEA. In a former life I fancied myself a bit of a photographer and on occasion still pick up my camera. I am also a board member with ImprovingBirth.org and founder of Iowa Birth Organization. When I’m not moonlighting as a Doula, teaching childbirth ed, or trying to change the world (in one way or another) I am a lecturer at Iowa State University.
Kelly WinderKelly is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, which has been dubbed, The Thinking Woman’s Website For Pregnancy, Birth & Parenting. Since it’s conception in 2003, Kelly has become a doula, attended many births, spoken in parliament in the Inquiry Into Breastfeeding and her website now reaches millions of readers every month around the world. She has three children, aged 13, 11 and 3. It took two births to realise the wonderful gift and life long memories a birth photographer could provide. Kelly’s passion is educating and informing women and men, so they can feel confident making their own decisions from pregnancy to parenthood.
Lena HydeFor the last 16 years, Lena Hyde has been transforming the way her clients view photography through her stunning philosophy of life as art, and by creating memories of childhood that will be treasured for a lifetime.
With advanced degrees in photography and art history, Lena is highly capable in both the technical and aesthetic possibilities of her craft. Also frequently published and internationally exhibited, Lena speaks as a respected expert in the field of contemporary childhood photography. Her studio and offices are headquartered in Portland, Oregon.
Lena is the creator of both Design Aglow , the highly acclaimed and awarded design and business success resource for portrait and wedding photography studios since 2006. Lena recently authored two best selling photography books, released to an international audience of professional photographers by Random House.
Lena’s photography and businesses have been featured in Professional Photographer Magazine, Rangefinder Magazine, Click! Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Country Life Magazine (UK), Palm Beach Young Society Magazine, City & Shore Magazine, and Whole Living Magazine.LenaHyde.com | DesignAglow.com
Kirsten LewisKirsten is a family photojournalist based in Denver, Colorado however her work brings her all over the world, from New Zealand to Dubai, Brazil to Canada, Italy to Hawaii. Although she has been shooting and teaching for over a decade, it was her 3 day Creative Live class that really brought her approach to documentary family photography to the forefront as a desirable alternative to the traditional family portrait. Her Day In The Life sessions are completely raw, 24hrs of coverage of a single family usually producing incredibly funny and touching images depicting real life as a kid as well as a parent. She has been mentoring photographers Internationally not only within her genre of photography, but a coach guiding them to find their own unique voice by embracing their personal experiences and letting them reflect that history through their photographs. She is most excited for the biggest job she’ll be undertaking in the beginning of May, that of Mommy with the arrival of her first baby with husband Greg.
Angie ArthurAngie is the co-founder of I Heart Faces and is a professional photographer located in Northeast Ohio who has been recognized by Parent Magazine as a top mom blogger for her website TheArthurClan.com. Angie is a busy wife and mom of four children and enjoys teaching others about photography through I Heart Faces and their photography workshops, conferences, and online classes. Her love of capturing her own children in photos is what sparked her passion for photography. After many years of learning about her camera and working in various photography niches, she now specializes in customized photo + video sessions for teens and high school seniors with her business, The Picture Show. Instagram | Facebook
Christina BeckettTina Beckett is a professional photographer serving the Baltimore, MD and DC Metro surrounding areas. Tina is also the founder for the photography blog and forum In Beauty & Chaos. Tina specializes in maternity, newborn, and family portraiture. Documentary photography and dramatic light are her true loves. An army wife with three little ones, Tina stays busy documenting life at home, the lives of her clients, and spreading the love of photography as a mentor at In Beauty & Chaos. Christina Beckett Photography | Facebook
Kelly BrownCanon Master Kelly Brown is a portrait photographer, specialising in newborn and baby portraiture.
Her nurturing desire to capture her family as it grows led to launching her business Little Pieces of Photography in 2005. She has since travelled the world speaking at events and teaching newborn posing classes. In her quest to capture the little pieces of life, last year Kelly photographed 139 newborn babies, mentored 23 photographers and held 19 newborn posing classes across 12 countries.
Kelly has won numerous awards, nationally and internationally, including most recently the AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year (2014). She is also a Master of Photography with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and Wedding & Portrait Photographers Association, where she was awarded eight first place titles.
Rebecca DekkerRebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN, is the founder of EvidenceBasedBirth.com, an internationally-known pregnancy and childbirth website. The mission of Evidence Based Birth is to help mothers and families find evidence-based care by taking research evidence out of medical journals and putting it into the hands of the public. In addition to being a prolific writer, researcher, and educator, Rebecca is mother to 3 small children and resides in Lexington, KY, with her husband Dan.
Heather DessignerHeather is the founder of Mommypotamus.com, a site devoted to helping moms take steps toward healthier living. She’s passionate about real food, natural remedies, homemade non-toxic beauty products, and sharing research on health topics that affect families. Her interest in birth began, of all places, at a book store close out sale. On a whim, her brand-new husband bought her a copy of Birth Without Violence. Though they hadn’t started their family yet, it challenged every idea she’d ever had about birth and inspired her to research her choices. She and her husband now live with their three little “potami” on a homestead near Nashville, Tennessee. Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest
Erin HensleyErin is a simple girl who grew up in rural Idaho. She has spent the last several years living abroad and traveling with her husband and children. She is a seeker and observer. Whether at home or in travel, she seeks out natural light and moments. An observer of light and land, people and emotions; she embraces the imperfections in life and strives to make something beautiful out of them. Photography is her obsession, her way of life. She is particularly passionate about black and white photographs full of shadows, dramatic lighting, and mood. Erin considers herself very fortunate to be able to spend a good amount of her time working on personal projects, only taking sessions on occasion. She currently lives in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and thoroughly enjoys experiencing new places and cultures. Erin Hensley Photography | Facebook
Darren MattockDarren is an Australian-based expectant and new dad specialist and the founder of Becoming Dad. Becoming Dad is soon to launch a ground-breaking online program for expectant dads – Your Becoming Dad Journey, which is based on his 7 years of research, training, experience and insights from working with hundreds of dads in Australia and thousands online. Darren is a HUGE fan of birth photography! This is his third consecutive year as a Judge and he is thrilled to be invited back! Most importantly, Darren is dad to his son Charlie – his greatest source of inspiration. Becoming Dad | Facebook
Jen McLellanJen McLellan is a writer and certified childbirth educator who advocates for plus size women. She promotes positive information to empower healthy decision making during pregnancy. Within her blog, Plus Size Mommy Memoirs, she helps women navigate the world of plus size pregnancy, shares tips for embracing your body, and laughs along with the adventures of motherhood. Her work has been featured in major publications such as Yahoo Shine, Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, Everyday Feminism, and International Doula. Jen is also a skilled patient advocate, professional speaker, wife, and mother to a charismatic 5 year old.
You can find her website at plussizebirth.com and on Facebook.
Emily RobinsonEmily is a family and birth photographer in South Florida. Her work has been published online and in print all over the world.
She was the 2014 grand prize winner in the IAPBP photo contest and was awarded Honorable Mention in both 2013 and 2015. In 2013 she and her clients were featured on CNN and the Today Show when she documented their delivery on a sidewalk outside the hospital doors. She has photographed close to 80 births in the 4 years since she began. This year she will speak and teach in Mexico at BabyF, a family and baby photography conference. In addition to shooting for her clients, she gathers up her own memories almost daily by photographing her life and girls, Zoey and Maddie.