Interview with a Maternity and Baby Photographer

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about a fellow business owner.  My first interview blog was way back in May of 2013 when I interviewed Margaret Holman, doula.

This time I am sharing an interview with Catherine Bowser, photographer.  Who doesn’t love looking at beautiful photographs?  Especially when those are perfectly round pregnant bellies or brand new babies?  I highly recommend hiring a professional photographer to document this important time in your life.  Just look at these two beauties and I’m sure you will agree.

Bowser Photo 2Bowser Photo 3

 

Q.  What differs you from other photographers?

 

A.  I specialize in maternity, working with newborns and into the baby stage.  Stages instead of ages.  The stages are more important.  I show the beauty of the woman, letting her see herself as beautiful and showing how special those moments are.  I offer print rather than digital.  I will offer a digital file if you purchase a print as a package.  But my main purpose is to sell the print  for a wall because it’s emotional real estate.  What you are getting is the emotion in the artwork.

 

Q.  Do you feel that when clients order digital photo’s that they end up not getting printed?

 

A.  Yes, most people don’t print.  Or they never look at them again or lose them.

 

Q.  To clarify, receiving a digital copy is something you offer for free, as long as your client buys the print?

 

A.  If you buy a large print you do get the digital file for that print or you can purchase a package of digital prints, like ten.  It is a higher price item, if you buy a package of large digital prints.

 

Q.  On average, do your clients choose one photo and have that photo printed or do they get more?  How do you choose just one when there is a dozen or 20 awesome pictures?

 

A.  The first thing I do is a consultation with my client.  I interview them.  We discuss the colors of their house and where they plan on hanging their photo’s.  This way I am customizing the entire session to them, their house, to where their prints are going to be.  I find out at that time what they are going to be interested in purchasing.  Like if they are going to be purchasing an album at that time or not.  My session has to be geared toward what they’re going to be purchasing.  If they are going to be building an album there are certain shots I have to get.Bowser Photo 5

 

Q.  Ok, so you will print multiple prints from one session?

 

A.  Yes, and then we do the session.  I present them with 5 X 7 prints that they review.  They can purchase at that time those 5 X 7 prints as well.  They can purchase them matted.  They can buy a box of 20 or they can buy the individual 5 X 7 at that time.  Or they can buy an enlargement or whatever they want.

 

Q.  For the benefit of anybody reading this right now what is your average price range?

 

A.  5 X 7 prints are $20.  Anything higher than that, like canvases, can go up to $300.  That’s a 30 X 40 huge print.

 

Q.  You mentioned matted prints earlier.  Do you do this yourself?

 

A.  I go through Sienna Gallery (in Rockland) for the mat and framing.

 

Q.  You must charge that to your clients in addition to the cost of the printing.

 

A.  A 5 x 7 print including mat is $25.

 

Q.  How often do you plan sessions with your clients?  Do they normally book the stages package and how do you plan that? 

 

A.  I just started offering stages.  Basically you call me to book your maternity session.  If you want to do the newborn session you have to book it right away as well.  We don’t know when the baby will be born but I leave my schedule open and we leave the stages open as well for when they hit those milestones.

Bowser Photo 1

Q.  Is there a cost advantage for your clients to book the stages in advance as opposed to contacting you for a one-time session?

 

A.  Yes, If you book two sessions (maternity and newborn for example) you get $50 off.   If you book three sessions you get $100 off  and if you book four you get $150 off.

 

 

CLICK HERE for a complete list of packages and fees.

 

Q.  What if they book in advance and then that day their baby is not cooperating?  Have you ever had that happen?

 

A.  Yes, I had one baby that came in – I’ve had several babies that have come in – didn’t cooperate so we re-book.  I had one baby re-book several times.

 

Q.  So you are accommodating to your clients needs?

 

A.  Absolutely.  To me it’s more important to get those images.

 

Q.  What does your training entail?

 

A.  My training started off by learning from my dad.  He learned from his dad and his uncle.

 

Q.  So you come from a long line of photographers?

 

A.  Yes, so I started off learning on film and then in high school because we had a graphic arts course.   My dad also started developing our own film onto slides because I went through too much film.  And so I learned the developing process at home as well as at school.

 

Q.  Do you know how to make pictures in a black room?

 

A.  Dark room.  I learned how to create slides at home.  And then I learned how to actually create print in a dark room at school.

 

Q.  So, you can do that, but you don’t.  Because you don’t have a dark room in your house?

 

A.  Right.

 

Q.  Is that something that you would like to have?

 

A.  I would love to have it, but to tell you the truth there is no point.  Not when you have a digital camera.  If I had a film camera yes, you need that.  But with a digital camera you don’t need that.

 

Q.  The pictures that you take are digital, and they get processed at a digital printing place?

 

A.  Yes, they get printed through a lab.  I do all the touch-up, artwork, and everything else.

Bowser Photo 4

Q.  You started your training obviously when you were a child.  You learned from your dad.  When did you really get into it?

 

A.  I’ve always had a camera.

 

Q.  Basically you’ve been training your whole life, you could say?

 

A.  Yeah, and I sort of took a hiatas.  My life went a different direction for a long time.

 

Q.  You specialize in maternity, newborn, and baby stages.  Do you do anything else?

 

A.  I include family groupings and also ‘one year after’ for mom.

 

Q.  ‘One year after’ for mom, how does that work?

 

A.  It’s a two hour session.  Mom comes in, we do her hair and make up.

 

Q.  Oh, this would be one year after having a baby?

 

A.  Yeah.

 

Q.  So, one year after to celebrate mom being a woman.  Is this a boudoir-type photo session?

 

A.  Yes, you are a mom, but remember you are also a woman.  It’s that reminder, yes I am still a woman.  Don’t forget that.  Don’t get so wrapped up in that role of mom.   It’s to feel more than a mom.

 

Q.  Would you share any challenging or interesting photo sessions that you’ve had?

 

A.  Once there was a baby with three sessions.  We couldn’t put him down.  If we put him down he’d start crying every single time.  There was no getting any sleepy shots because he’d wake up and start crying the minute we put him down.  So the only time we got some shots was over the shoulder.

 

Q.  The baby came in three times, did you charge these clients for each time?

 

A.  Oh no, I charged them for one session.

 

Q.  Because like we said earlier, you are accommodating to your clients?

 

A.  Yes.

 

Q.  Have you got any surprise action shots, like when the baby pees on mom or dad?

 

A.  Not yet.  I’m waiting for it.  I’m usually fairly cautious with that, telling the parents to cover it.  “Here’s a towel”.  (laughs)  The other thing is all my props get washed before-hand.  My clients select which ones we are going to use, and then the ones that get used we wash them again.

 

Q.  I imagine cleanliness would have to be important, especially with newborns because they have a weaker immune system.

 

A.  Yeah, everything is washed.

 

Q.  Ok, last question.  Why do you do what you do?

 

A.  Being pregnant was the most amazing experience that I ever had in my life.  Being able to photograph that and to pass those memories on to those women and those families, that they can see those memories for the rest of their life is just so precious.  I just want them to be able to hold on to those memories forever.  I love photographing pregnant women.  I look at all my photographs I’ve taken of beautiful, pregnant women and they are the most beautiful photos I have ever taken in my life.  I’ve taken lots of beautiful landscapes and everything else.  I still love the newborns.  Newborns are precious.  A pregnant woman is beautiful and a baby is adorable.

 

‘LIKE’ Catherine Bowser’s Facebook page HERE!

Bowser Photo 6

Catherine Bowser is located in Clarence Creek, Ontario.  For more information on her services please visit her website at www.catherinebowserphotography.ca.  Tell her Nature Prenatal sent you and receive a 10% discount!

 

SAVE 10% ON YOUR SESSION FEE BY MENTIONING THIS BLOG!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with a Doula

Margaret Holman photo

Margaret Holman of Bliss Doula.

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Margaret Holman of Bliss Doula.  I already knew a lot about doula’s and what they do, but surprisingly, I learned even more.  Margaret is warm and inviting, welcoming any and all questions I had with professionalism and experience.  It made me wish that I had met her a few years ago, before giving birth to my own daughter, so that she could have been my doula!  I know there are many people out there who don’t know what exactly a doula does, and that’s why I wanted to share this experience with you.  This is what we talked about.

Q.           WHAT IS A DOULA?

A.            A doula is someone, usually a woman, who supports women in the prenatal, birth and postpartum periods.  Someone who will discuss options with a woman, including her birth wishes.  A doula has a range of resources she can refer to for mutual support for women and their families.

Q.           YOU USE THE WORDS ‘USUALLY A WOMAN’, DOES THIS MEAN MEN CAN BE DOULA’S TOO?

A.            Yes, they can.  The first male doula that I am aware of was trained in the U.K. last year.

Q.           WHY IS A DOULA BENEFICIAL?

A.            A doula offers continuity.  She offers comfort measures, knowledge and should have no agenda.  She is neutral.  There are statistics which show having a doula at your birth will reduce the need for intervention, caesarean rate and less need for epidurals.  Having a doula for birth or postpartum support influences how a woman perceives her birth experience and the transition into motherhood.

Q.           WHAT CAN A DOULA PROVIDE THAT MY MIDWIFE OR DOCTOR CAN’T?

A.            A doctor and midwife will take care of the medical side of things.  They will do all the necessary checks and advise of progress and care.  A doula will be there continually.  She will give your partner a break and take some of the pressure off.  She will be there to remind the mother to eat and drink.  Sometimes women forget these things in all the excitement.

Q.           IF I KNOW THAT I WANT AN EPIDURAL, WILL YOU TRY TO SWAY MY DECISION?

A.            A doula is there to support women with their wishes.  Women who choose an epidural still need support.  They should always ask their doula first about their birth philosophy and be sure that they meet their own.  They will have visits before the birth to build a relationship.  Doula’s should not bring their own birth/postpartum agenda but work with women towards their own birth plan.

Q.           HOW OFTEN DO YOU VISIT YOUR CLIENTS BEFORE AND AFTER BIRTH?

A.            This is flexible.  Most doula’s offer 2 prenatal sessions.  They are on call 24/7 from 38 weeks until birth and make two follow-up visits.  A postpartum doula will usually have one visit before the baby arrives to discuss setting up, any questions the client may have and preparation.  She will provide breastfeeding support in the hospital when the baby arrives.  More hours are spent in the beginning that lessens as the mother gains confidence in her role as a parent.  Postpartum doula’s generally support women in the 4th trimester, from birth to 3 months.

Q.           HOW OFTEN DOES A POSTPARTUM DOULA VISIT DURING THIS TIME IN THE 4TH TRIMESTER?

A.            This is also flexible.  Visits are a minimum 3 hours.

Q.           WHAT EXACTLY WILL YOU DO DURING A POSTPARTUM VISIT?  DO YOU WEIGH AND MEASURE THE BABY?

A.            No, nothing medical.  A postpartum doula is there to nurture the family.  She can provide light meal preparation, breastfeeding support, and baby development.  She is there to help mom and dad get some rest.  She is there for family support with knowledge, resources and no personal agenda.  Studies have shown that having a postpartum doula reduces the risk of postpartum depression.

Q.           CAN YOU OFFER THE SAME SERVICES AS A LACTATION CONSULTANT?

A.            No, we are not lactation consultants, but we do have breastfeeding training, knowledge and resources.

Q.           DO YOU BELONG TO AN ORGANIZATION?

A.            Yes, I belong to DONA International, Nurturing Birth and Doula C.A.R.E.

Q.           WHERE DID YOU ACQUIRE YOUR TRAINING?

A.            From DONA International and Nurturing Birth.

Q.           ARE YOU CERTIFIED?

A.            Yes, I am a certified postpartum doula with Nurturing Birth and working towards birth certification with DONA.

Q.           WHEN WILL YOU BE BIRTH CERTIFIED WITH DONA?

A.            I will submit my paperwork this summer and generally we hear after three months; so hopefully this fall.

Q.           DO THE CHILD BIRTHS YOU ATTEND GENERALLY HAPPEN AT HOME OR IN A HOSPITAL?

A.            On average, the births I have attended have been in a hospital with an obstetrician.  It’s important to note there is a doula for every woman. I have also worked with Midwives.

Q.           WHAT MEASURES DO YOU TAKE TO ENSURE YOU ARE AVAILABLE FOR A BIRTH?

A.            Every woman should ask their doula who their backup is and if they can meet them.  If I know I am on call I will make sure I am available.  However, for sickness and family crisis, a backup doula will be available.  They will know the client’s expectations and birth wishes.  The backup doula will also share the same birth philosophy.

Q.           WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING OR MEMORABLE BIRTHING EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE SHARED WITH A CLIENT?

A.            Unfortunately, I cannot share this for confidentiality reasons.

Q.           DO YOU HAVE A NICHE OR A SPECIALTY?

A.            I teach prenatal classes at Anna Belanger & Associates with Misty Pratt.  I work with ‘Gentle Sleep’ settling.  This helps parents understand what to expect sleep wise.

Q.           WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT YOU HAVE HELPED YOUR CLIENTS WITH?

A.            Every family is different and will have different family dynamics.  The most challenging aspect is being adaptable to each family and their needs.

Q.           WHAT WERE YOUR REASONS FOR BECOMING A POSTPARTUM DOULA?

A.            I realized the need for postpartum care after having my own children.  I worked as a Registered Nurse in the UK and an Early Years Educator and so have supported families in many roles.  Being a Doula is a passion of mine and it is a privilege to be part of a family’s journey into parenthood.

 

I would like to thank Margaret for meeting with me and sharing this information with you.  If you would like to contact Margaret, please visit her website at www.blissdoula.com.