elizabeth ashdown photography: Blog https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog en-us (C) elizabeth ashdown photography [email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) Thu, 23 Jul 2020 23:12:00 GMT Thu, 23 Jul 2020 23:12:00 GMT https://www.elizabethashdown.com/img/s/v-12/u676112169-o55078516-50.jpg elizabeth ashdown photography: Blog https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog 80 120 birth documented https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2020/7/salt-lake-birth-photographer  


Documenting birth is one of my favorite subject matters and I have really missed birth stories as the world has all but shut down these last few months of pandemic living. As a birth photographer I am gifted the opportunity to be present as a little one enters this world, as two people become parents and help create visual memories of a day so filled with emotion, that so much of what happened can be eclipsed by the hard work, exhaustion and brand new little person who has come screaming into the picture. 

Someone offered to document my own first birth--here I am, a photographer, and all I could think at the time was "why in the world would someone want pictures of that?!" And now all I have to show for the day I became a mother (other than my amazing 9 year-old) is a few, weirdly composed, blurry pictures taken by a thoughtful nurse. If I could go back and remake that decision, I would! Birth photography celebrates the power of a woman, the beauty of a couple, the first breaths of a human. Each time I have given birth, I go to my own place--to cope with the discomfort, the intensity, with eyes closed, my memories are visceral, otherworldly. Having someone document my second, third and fourth births, allows me to go back and see for myself what was happening. My memories are jumbled, but through the beautiful, raw images I am right back in those moments and can understand how it all unfolded.

I make a point to meet my birth story clients in person to discuss my being present for their birth, to document such an intimate experience. More often than not the one expecting has reached out to me and expressed that their partner is more on the fence about having the birth photographed. It doesn't even phase me. Because I was that person! But once we sit down together, talk about what hiring me looks like (and that I will be a fly on the wall), explore what birth images actually look like, they are all in! 

I photographed my first birth story nearly a decade ago. I immediately fell in love with birth photography--each birth is unique, follows its own rhythm. There is no need to pose anyone or instruct them what to do with their hands. A laboring couple is so in the zone, their chemistry palpable, their connection so clear. Many women have told me that they can't imagine having a photographer present for their birth because they would look terrible by the time the baby arrives. Can I just tell you something? The look on a mother's face as they reach for that warm, wiggly, sticky baby eclipses any perfectly made-up, dolled up woman any day! I may be ugly crying when I laid eyes on my second daughter, but the fact that I have a picture of that moment helps bring back every one of my own four newborns and their unique arrival.

I try to arrive during active labor, unless baby decides not to play nice, and document the details and anticipation. I then stay through the birth, skin-to-skin, all the first cuddles and measurements. Some clients opt for me to stay a bit longer in order to document their other children meeting their sibling for the first time. And I have to say that is one of my favorite of life's moments. I would have all the babies if I could continually witness siblings meeting. Some are thrilled and out of this world excited, others don't seem to notice the tiny bean all snuggled up with mama. Of course a few are a bit put out that there is a new baby and aren't so thrilled. Whatever the reaction, my clients seem to cherish this birth story photographs most. 

Each time I return to my own home after documenting a newborn's arrival, I am filled with love for my own kids. I appreciate what we all went through to become a little family. I forget so much of the stress and frustration of being a mom as I have felt transported into a scenario where time seemingly stands still and reminds me why I do this--why I mother, why I photograph, why I love telling other peoples stories. It clarifies my own lie


[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) birth birth photography birth story city county lake newborn photography Park photography salt salt lake birth story story utah utah baby photography utah photographer https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2020/7/salt-lake-birth-photographer Thu, 23 Jul 2020 23:05:14 GMT
here comes her son https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2017/6/here-comes-her-son Just as sweet baby Lee was about to enter into the world, The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun started playing from his mama's labor playlist and we all cheered.  The timing was so perfect as here came their little son who is always literally sunlight to this sweet family .  After Carly delivered a micro-preemie fourteen years ago and then suffered a devastating late term loss in 2014 which was accompanied with a cancer diagnosis, this little boy is a miracle!  Watching her patiently labor and triumphantly deliver him, I couldn't wipe the smile from my face.  Once again, I am honored to have been there with Carly and Tyler and their family as they finally met and cuddled their shining Sun!  Congratulations you two!

Please enjoy their birth video...





[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) birth photography birth story natural birth story newborn photography salt lake birth story unmedicated birth utah baby photography utah birth photography utah photographer https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2017/6/here-comes-her-son Mon, 12 Jun 2017 21:34:16 GMT
little luka https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2017/3/little-luka I met sweet Melissa when I was taking school pictures of her oldest son.  She was adorably pregnant.  I told her how much I love photographing birth stories and luckily I did, because I got to shoot hers!  We knew it would be a c-section since this was her third and we hoped beyond hope that I would be allowed in the OR.

She scheduled her c-section for first thing in the morning in hopes that the anesthesiologist wouldn't be tired, ready to leave and instead wouldn't mind me tagging along.  After all the pre-op preparations were made, Melissa mentioned to her nurse that it would mean the world to have her birth photographed since there were aspects of it she had never seen.  I couldn't believe it whens she walked back in with a surgical suit for me to put on!  I loved accompanying Melissa and Ryan into the OR, watching them find out it was a boy--their third!  It was an amazing experience.

Every birth is unique and so special.  So grateful I could be part of this one.  Welcome baby Luka!

[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) LDS Hospital birth photography c-section elizabeth ashdown salt lake birth photography utah birth story https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2017/3/little-luka Fri, 10 Mar 2017 05:08:51 GMT
which says birth to you https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2017/2/which-says-birth-to-you Please help me pick your favorite images of birth.  I am doing a birth expo soon and am having a hard time narrowing down which images to print.  Can you help me?  Pick your top 4 or 5. Thanks! (the number corresponds with the photo below it)



































[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) birth story salt lake birth story utah birth photography https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2017/2/which-says-birth-to-you Thu, 02 Feb 2017 06:07:45 GMT
adorable Kate https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2017/1/adorable-kate A few days after Christmas, I spent the afternoon with a brand-new Kate and her wonderful family--including both sets of grandparents! She is one lucky girl who is clearly adored by her big brother and has such loving, calm parents.  I loved my time with them.  It was fun to capture some candid moments of this sweet baby girl as well as some adorable posed ones.  Kate's mom remembered at the end of our session an tiny little fox outfit we included in our last few pictures.  Thanks again Ashley and Jeremy for the chance to photograph your newest addition!  Can't wait to see you again. 

[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) family photography lifestyle newborn newborn photography utah baby photographer utah lifestyle photography https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2017/1/adorable-kate Wed, 25 Jan 2017 22:00:37 GMT
expecting ella https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2016/12/expecting-ella A couple days after her due date, I met Ella's parents (Dalyn and Jordan) for lunch to talk business and birth photography.

The next evening Dalyn texted to say she'd been contracting a lot of the day. Shortest timeline so far.

But then Ella started calling the shots.  I think she may have been distancing herself from such a tumultuous election.  Sweet Dalyn was so strong and brave and waited 48 hours from first contraction to finally meet her sweet, beautiful baby girl.  I was honored to be there for the labor and birth of a very close friend's very close friend, who I now call my friend.  Things did not go as they planned, but Dalyn and Jordan were gracious and patient.  So grateful for the hours and hours (and hours) we spent together!


[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) birth story newborn photography salt lake birth story utah baby photography utah birth photography utah photographer https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2016/12/expecting-ella Sat, 03 Dec 2016 06:09:37 GMT
greeting georgia https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2016/11/greeting-georgia Sweet baby Georgia settled in a breech position for most of the third trimester so for the last weeks before she was born, we knew her birthdate and about what time she would be born by cesarean.  As soon as I met her sweet mama, Hollee, I liked her and I felt like I'd known her forever.  As soon as she got checked in at the hospital she was passing out sweet little gifts to everyone who helped her (including me).  You can't help but smile in her presence.  I am expecting that sweet Georgia will inherit this warmth and affection from her.  

I love that once Georgia arrived, she was most comfortable bent at the waist with her feet up next to her face, her legs as straight as can be. I have to give credit to Bryan, Georgia's dad, for the first pictures of their baby girl.  Since I was not allowed in the operating room, I sent one camera in with him and kept the other to get the most complete birth story possible.  He did such a great job!

[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) birth story c-section ogden birth photographer salt lake birth photography utah birth utah newborn photographer https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2016/11/greeting-georgia Sat, 12 Nov 2016 04:58:00 GMT
labor day https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2016/9/labor-day I thought for Labor Day it would be fun to put together a little collection of my favorite images from various births I've been honored to photograph.  Each birth I have documented is unique and each mama faces labor with such poise, love and excitement.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be with parents as the anticipate meeting their sweet baby.  I've photographed induced labors, cesarean sections, labors that seem like they'll never end; one birth, I arrived just a couple minutes before baby boy arrived.  It's fitting that the process of getting a baby into this world is called labor because that exactly what it takes--labor, intense labor.  And any parent knows, that's exactly what it continues to require each and every day with these little people we're entrusted with.

Thank you to each sweet family who as allowed me to be a small part of their incredibly special day.  Enjoy a little touch of (someone else's) labor on Labor Day!



[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) birth photography newborn photography utah baby photography utah birth story https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2016/9/labor-day Tue, 06 Sep 2016 02:57:26 GMT
six month portraits https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2016/8/six-month-portraits


Six months with this sweet little leapling in our home!  I love photographing babies, especially when they are old enough to interact and show me their brand new bottom teeth!  It also doesn't hurt when it's my own baby!  Turns out my bed is my favorite place to photograph my kids with our creamy bedspread and natural light from a big window.  I love taking clean, simple, yet not posed portraits of people: family portraits that aren't stiff and instead captures everyone laughing, a three-year-old sibling who is suddenly no longer the baby because the newborn she is holding has now taken that title.  Thank you to those who have allowed me to experience and photography these sweet experiences, many of them unrepeatable.



I love photographing in people's homes--it puts them at ease, making them less inhibited and the result is more intimate session.  I especially love in home sessions for newborn and maternity photography.  As we've made the transition to living in Utah, I am thrilled to be growing my photography business once more!  Help me find those looking for a birth photographer, newborn photographer or who might need updated family pictures, but hasn't enjoyed the experience.  We'll go somewhere you love and get you and your kids laughing so it's a little less painful.  Thanks!

[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) salt lake baby portrait salt lake photographer utah baby photographer utah family photographer https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2016/8/six-month-portraits Mon, 29 Aug 2016 21:35:23 GMT
barely beating baby beau https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2015/2/barely-beating-baby-beau So it happened. I almost missed a birth.  I got to the hospital at 11:08 PM and little Beau was born two minutes later.  I had waited all day with my camera packed and ready, anxiously checking my phone for any updates.  Mama hadn't progressed for hours and finally at 10:30 I decided maybe I should try and get a little sleep in preparation for a long night. 

Then my phone rings: "Water broke and baby's coming soon."  I quickly dressed and was on my way.  Phone rings again a couple minutes later: "the Doctor is ready to deliver the baby, how close are you?" 

I drove like a crazy lady as I got my camera out of my bag, prepared everything, all set to shoot.  The woman at the front desk seemed to take her sweet time. Talk about an adrenaline rush!  Forget the waiting with a couple for hours as he loving couches her through another contraction and another as I document their interaction, the room, little details.  But to be there for this sweet baby boy's entrance and the moment his mom first laid eyes on him was incredible!  That moment is why I love birth photography!

Because I arrived just before Beau was born and was unable to get many "before" photos, I went back the following day and was there as each of Beau's siblings met, held and cuddled him.  Talk about magic!  Thank you Bryn and Grant for allowing me to be there. 

After a self-imposed, extended maternity leave of my own, I am back in the game and itching for another birth story!

[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) birth photography birth story newborn photography salt lake photography utah birth photographer utah photographer https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2015/2/barely-beating-baby-beau Sat, 21 Feb 2015 04:16:35 GMT
malakai meets his mama https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2013/10/malakai-and-his-mama This post is way overdue thanks to quite a few factors, including a hard-drive that crashed and my giving birth to my second baby girl.  That being said, documenting sweet Malakai's birth is something I will never forget and was an experience I want to share.  I have known Malakai's mama, Brittany, for many years; I was there when Brittany married Brad and I am honored to have been with them as they first met their sweet baby boy.  Brittany was calm and collected, kind and considerate throughout many, many hours of labor.  Brad was there, offering counter-pressure on her lower back for every contraction.  They chose a small birth center and were prepared with music, snacks and Brittany's best friend who flew in to be there for her labor.

In the end, Brittany was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and after all measures were exhausted, she required a c-section.  Having shared an entire day with Brad and Brittany in great anticipation of documenting their son's arrival, I was worried for them and hoping for the best.  Because Brittany had to go under general anesthetic, I am all the more grateful I could be there to capture when a beaming Brad came walking down the hall towards his parents to introduce his baby boy to them. 

Thank you, Brad and Brittany, for the opportunity to be part of Malakai's birth!

Now that technical difficulties have been resolved and my baby is here, I am eager to be shooting again!  If you are awaiting your own sweet one, let me come and help you document the events of your labor and the first moment you lay eyes on that baby of yours! Memories fade, but journalistic photographs last a lifetime. It's your baby's story, I am just there so you'll be better able to tell it.



[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) Salt Lake birth birth center birth photography birth story c-section cesarean midwife newborn photography salt lake baby portrait utah birth photographer https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2013/10/malakai-and-his-mama Tue, 29 Oct 2013 05:49:05 GMT
meeting maxwell https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2013/4/meeting-maxwell I can't think of a better way to start my new blog than with an entry about photographing my first birth story in Seattle.  Soon after moving here, I met Gina and Joe through Ballard Swedish Midwifery's Centering program as we were both expecting babies in May.  I instantly loved them; their wit, style and creativity.  I am so grateful to them for allowing me to be present for the birth of their baby boy and be present as they became three. 

Gina originally planned on delivering at Swedish Ballard, but late in her pregnancy she and Joe had to switch prenatal care to an OB/GYN and plan for a cesarean delivery at Swedish First Hill.  Due to hospital policy, we knew I would not be allowed in the operating room so Gina suggested that we meet at their place before they needed to check in, which allowed us the opportunity for some preparation photos as they completed the final tasks before meeting their baby boy.  The three of us then headed to the hospital to get Gina checked in and prepped for her delivery.

I was so impressed by how calm the two of them remained throughout the process as they patiently awaited their turn in the O.R.  On the way to the hospital we spoke about Gina's need for a c-section and I very much appreciated her positive perspective.  Maxwell is one lucky boy to be welcomed by these two!  Thank you again for the opportunity to shoot Maxwell's birth story.  Welcome to the world little guy!


[email protected] (elizabeth ashdown photography) Salt Lake birth birth photography birth story c-section cesarean newborn photography https://www.elizabethashdown.com/blog/2013/4/meeting-maxwell Mon, 15 Apr 2013 06:26:47 GMT