Island photographer helps deliver new trend

The birthing process got a lot more creative with the idea of birth photography.

A sample of Shea Long’s work. Her birth photography can begin with a family-to-be well before delivery.

The birthing process got a lot more creative with the idea of birth photography. Capturing those special moments of a new born entering the world is what professional photographer Shea Long loves most about her job. Long specializes in birth and  story telling photography, meaning she tells the whole story for couples before the baby is even born.

“So I’m kind of a fly on the wall in the background and I want to tell the story how it is. I don’t want people posing and fake smiles, I want to get them in their honest, raw state and how they’re feeling at that time,” she told the PNR.

Born in Saskatoon, Long began her adventure into the world of birth photography last July. After working in veterinary medicine for 17 years, she determined that work was stressful for her and often times there just wasn’t the happy results she had wanted.

She then thought of what she likes to do in her spare time, photography, and decided that would be her next path.

“When I had a day off or when I wanted to chill out, I would take my camera out for a walk and just take pictures and so I decided that I needed a career change and I needed to start doing something that I really loved and photography was it.”

Later moving to Vancouver to take a one-year program at a media college, Long met professional birth photographer Morag Hastings and the rest was history.

While a student on the mainland, Long’s best friend was pregnant at the time and had asked for Long to photograph the birth.

She jumped at the opportunity.

“So I photographed the birth (of the woman’s child) and I cried the entire time, because its so emotional. It’s a miracle every single time.”

When Long graduated from school, she moved to Vancouver Island and has since photographed seven births.

“I can’t have children so this is why it’s extra special for me.”

Couples can hire Long for sessions from when they are getting ready to have a child.

Long said one couple asked her to take photos of them getting the nursery ready, preparing for the baby while still pregnant and even taking photos at home of the pair with their pets.

Long said she enjoys telling the whole story and is on call from around week 38 of a pregnancy, to the time of delivery to capture all of the emotions of birth.

She even photographs the day after the event to show the excitement of going home.

Long said birth photography is becoming a real trend, with nobody having even heard of it until five years ago.

Now having gained so much popularity, there are organizations getting out there and being known, supplying information on birth photography — where people can find it, what it entails and so on.

Long recently entered three photos in an international competition put on by the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (of which she is a member).

One of her images was chosen out of a little more than 300 entries, to be featured in a bunch of international publications.

For more information, visit Long’s business page, coastallifestylesphoto.com.