Birth Photography Book Project

I recently fell in love with home birth photography and am now working on a documentary photography/book project on this topic.  My mother wanted a water birth for me and I have always had an interest in the home birth concept, but after meeting a number of fabulous and brilliant women (through my maternity portraits) who were doing the home birth thing I’ve been thoroughly convinced that it’s a great way to go! I shot my first home birth and was amazed by how calm I felt and natural it all seemed to me- I was worried it would be too intense for me, and it WAS intense, but I really loved being a part of this most intimate and exciting time in a family’s life. Probably for the same reasons I love shooting weddings… I just love documenting people going through intense emotional things!

I’m happy to give references if you like. I don’t use flash, and basically I’m unobtrusive, like a fly on the wall– shooting in an artistic documentary style– and trust me, when you’re in the middle of labor you will hardly even be aware of anyone/anything outside of your own body– much less my presence. I have great lenses and can shoot in pretty poorly lit interiors. Being out of the way is my first priority- I’m always capturing the action from a distance that you’re comfortable with, and if a midwife needs me to grab a towel, I will stop what I’m doing and grab the towel! If at any point you want me to stop or if you decide at the last minute not to have me come to the birth, I will of course graciously accept this and wish you all the best!

To give you an idea of the sort of coverage you can expect from me, here is a set of photos from Alice and Jorge’s birthing of baby Buster– shot over approximately 24 hours in a windowless east village apartment.  PLEASE NOTE, ALL images here are shown with the permission of the subjects.  I do not show birth pics unless it’s part of our agreement.

I arrived when Alice was in early labor, and I documented the entire process as her contractions got closer together and finally we were joined by the midwife. She and Jorge were so excited that the day had arrived.

Contractions became more uncomfortable… but she was doing great.  After contractions were timing a certain distance apart, Alice decided to call in the midwife.




This dog was SO well-behaved… he was worried, it was very sweet..


So good to see her smile!


Looking up at Mama… first moments.

This daddy was very excited to meet his son.

Time to stretch!

In grandma’s arms… look at those eyes!


First breastfeeding… so sweet.

And here they are in my studio about a month later!




Having a photographer on call for your labor is tricky- (it can happen anytime within weeks of your due date generally, and can last for upwards of 24 hours)- but doable.  In exchange for your participation in my book project (home birth stills) I will happily shoot for free and give you access to the photos I shoot– a high res archival disc of images will be yours with rights to print, and of course I’d let you know when the final book is available.  If you prefer to have your birth process documented WITHOUT being involved in my book or portfolios of course I am available for hire as well.  Get in touch with me if you’re interested in meeting to discuss your upcoming birth!   I have availability to shoot home births more in winter months (October through April roughly), as wedding bookings may prevent me from being able to commit to many due dates in the late spring and summer months. I can reschedule most anything else that I may have going on when you call me to come over because you’ve gone into labor, but I can’t reschedule a wedding! If you want to try me for a summer due date anyway I’m happy to come and shoot if I am available when you call but I can’t promise that I’d be able to come…

rachel carlson - May 9, 2009 - 7:44 am

wow. simply WOW. thanks for the inspiration! cheers, rachel

Marie Long - August 4, 2009 - 5:59 pm

I love your work! You got some wonderful shots, they are all very beautiful. I looked up your site because I have had 3 homebirths of my own, and wanted to see how you capture birth.

Danyelle - February 4, 2010 - 9:23 pm

Your work is amazing and has truly inspired me.

Lisa Gndron - April 12, 2010 - 1:57 am

Hello! I am a photographer working out of RI, working on a similar project- I am looking for other photographers working in this field. They are rare! I am also a doula and have had a homebirth myself (my second child) would love to hear from you!

Andrea Pfisterer - August 9, 2010 - 8:50 pm

Hey Girl!!! Love your work. I am currently working on getting my website up so my apologies if you try to check out my work and can’t. VERY SOON it will be up. Anyway, I was wondering how you first got the opportunity to do this. I am so amazed by the entire birthing process and would love the opportunity to capture these moments for families. If you have any advice please feel free to contact me anytime. I’m in the Memphis, TN area…

Relaxnsmile - July 30, 2011 - 7:08 pm

Thinking about another baby so I can hire you to photograph! Seriously, these are incredible.

Dottie M - July 31, 2011 - 2:38 am


sarahtew - July 31, 2011 - 9:47 pm

Thanks for the kind words! I’m always looking for another birth to photograph but it’s hard to find people who want the process documented– if you know anyone (or decide to have another) who might want me to photograph PLEASE refer them to me (I am doing a book project on birth so I don’t charge for it as it’s for my own personal work).

sarahtew - July 31, 2011 - 9:47 pm

Thanks for looking, Dottie!

Leslie R. Broussard - August 2, 2011 - 3:58 am

Your a wonderful person I know I can say this without ever having met you. A proud person with such love, determination and with so much to offer . I became so excited but relaxed at the same time looking at these photos. At any rate the photos are so lovely !

Leslie Broussard
New Orleans, La

giugiu bee - August 2, 2011 - 1:43 pm

Um, this just made me cry at work. Beautiful!

Susan Dean - August 26, 2011 - 3:43 am

Beautiful home birth pictures! Reminds me of fond memories of my home birth with my first; your pictures rejuvenate my excitement for another birth at home! If you ever plan to be in Orlando, please get in touch. Lots of home birth mamas down here! Looking forward to your book too! Cheers, -Susan

Leigh William - October 3, 2011 - 5:46 pm

Any chance you want to come and hang out in Atlanta for the month of February? I’d LOVE to have you at our home birth. xoxoxo- Leigh

sarahtew - October 3, 2011 - 6:05 pm

Wish I could be there, Leigh! Have you looked around Atlanta for a photographer? I’m sure someone would be very interested in shooting your birth– try looking on the WPJA (wedding photojournalists association website listings, people who are used to shooting documentary style long-hours events with high emotional/stakes… fly on the wall style, many of them are former news-photojournalists with excellent skills and equipment appropriate for shooting a birth.) good luck!

georgia - March 30, 2012 - 8:50 pm

Wow! Just amazing! To capture the wonder of bringing new life forth! You are gifted and blessed.

Mary L. - April 11, 2012 - 3:29 am

Absolutely stunning photography!! You really capture the sacredness of the experience. Good luck with your project!

Kelli Damron - April 11, 2012 - 4:24 am

Stunning! absolutely gorgeous. Can’t wait for the book!

Cheryl - April 12, 2012 - 2:03 am

Absolutely beautiful pics! I am a midwife attending hospital births, I would like to start adding some photography as part of what I can bring to a woman’s labor to help preserve her special day. Can you point me toward any guides or offer any advice for getting started? Any guidance you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Again, the images you’ve posted here are phenomenal. Thank you…

sarahtew - April 12, 2012 - 2:35 am

Thank you, Cheryl! The short answer would be…. NO flash. Stay out of the midwife’s way (um, but in this case that’s YOU, so nevermind)… There’s a good guide to fundamentals of photography you can purchase (ebook/video tutorials– i got it for my husband, who is a burgeoning lover of photography, it seemed nice and comprehensive)– it’s on “”…. good luck.

sarahtew - April 12, 2012 - 2:36 am

Thanks, Kelli, I’ll email you when it’s finished (might be years… it’s not as easy as I’d like it to be finding subjects who will participate… if you know anyone giving birth in the new york city area who might be interested please forward my info along to them!)…

sarahtew - April 12, 2012 - 2:37 am

Thanks for looking and commenting, Mary!

sarahtew - April 12, 2012 - 2:39 am

Thanks so much, Georgia, I do feel very lucky to do what I do… the women whose births I’ve shot are so inspiring, it’s a joy to be present.

sarahtew - April 12, 2012 - 2:41 am

What a kind comment, thank you so much for looking and taking the time to let me know how the photos made you feel— that’s always fascinating to hear how it affects a viewer. I am so glad to hear they relaxed AND excited you!

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