Baby Elias was born on April 25, 2016 at WakeMed Cary Hospital. His proud parents, Chad & Amber Langhoff, are talented documentary photographers (seriously- go check out their portfolio!) and knew from the beginning of their pregnancy that birth photography was a must for them. Amber sat down with The Birth Collective for an interview about their birth photography experience, and I'm so excited to share their story with you! Read below to learn more about why this couple decided to hire a birth photographer and what the experience was like.
1. Tell me a little about you and your growing family! Are there any special details unique to your family’s story that you wanted captured during your birth?
We are Chad and Amber Langhoff. We work together full-time at home running a couple of businesses, one of which is a documentary photography business. We value marriage, first and foremost, and we act as a team on so many levels. For us, having our teamwork in birth captured, as well as the way we interacted as husband and wife throughout the process was really important to us.
2. Although it is slowly becoming a trend in The Triangle, hiring a birth photographer is still an unconventional choice. Tell me about your thought-process behind your decision to have a photographer present at your birth. Did any one event/person plant a seed of desire in you to hire a birth photographer, or did you always know you wanted to do this? What drew you to The Birth Collective and our style of photography?
As documentary photographers ourselves, we fully understood the value of having such important life stories captured. From early on in pregnancy, we began searching for a photographer who could genuinely capture our birth story well, and who was someone we’d be comfortable with having with us. There were times I reconsidered it briefly due to expecting such vulnerable, unexpected and intimate during labor and delivery, but ultimately, we always circled back knowing that we’d regret NOT having it documented! Once I was accepted the idea that the images would be for us and not shown to everyone I know, it freed me up to be comfortable and excited about having someone there. Plus, after meeting Courtney and hearing her heart behind what she does, learning about her approach to birth photography and seeing her beautiful photojournalistic style, we knew it was a no-brainer! Her photographic style is dynamic and timeless, and clearly moment-based and story-telling which were all important to us, as that’s our goal for our work, too. Courtney nails it—she’s so talented!
3. What expectations did you have about your birth experience going into it, and how did you see birth photography fitting into that vision? How did your actual birth experience line up with those expectations?
We had planned to give birth at Baby+Co birthing center, but our unexpected transfer to the hospital threw us for a loop. I’m so thankful that TBC (Courtney!) rolled with the punches along with us and was there to capture everything exactly as it truly went. Transfer and all, it was still beautiful and it was still “our story” that we’ll always remember. I’m so glad it was documented so beautifully.
4. What was it like to have a photographer in the room with you during your labor and delivery? Did anything about my presence surprise you?
Courtney is so easy going, sweet and sensitive. She was a part of the birth experience, but was never intrusive. At some points, she had faded right into the background and I forgot she was even there. During calm and quiet moments, she was so helpful and personable, making sure I had everything I needed/wanted. She even pulled my hair back for me at one point! I can’t imagine Courtney NOT being a part of our birth story.
5. How did you feel when you first saw the photos?
When we saw TBC’s sneak peek gallery the next day after giving birth, the emotions were still running high. I cried when I first saw the images (and every time since). You’re so focused during labor & delivery that time becomes a blur and moments are lost quickly. I can’t imagine NOT having these images… They not only bring me back to the moments I DO remember so vividly, but they also fill in the gaps where I have no recollection. They truly transport me to those moments and the emotions come flooding back. Even my mom cried when she first saw them—she said it reminded her of the moments surrounding my birth!
6. What is your favorite moment(s) that I captured?
My absolute favorite moment you captured was the moment right after Chad announced that it was a boy and they pulled him up onto my chest. Chad and I looked right at each other with the purest form of elation and love, directly over our brand new baby boy. “We have a son!” we said to one another, followed by endless stares at Elias’s sweet face.
7. Do you plan on sharing these photos with your child one day?
YES! I can’t wait to share them with Elias some day. We may not show him every image, but he’ll definitely get a sense of the love & events surrounding the moments he was brought into this world.
8. Anything else you’d like to add about your birth or birth photography experience?
I cannot thank you enough!!! We are SO thrilled with the quality of the images you captured, and all of the incredible moments you captured. You have a gift for story-telling with your photography and our family will benefit from that for years to come. Priceless! Thank you for your friendship and sweet sensitivity to all things “birth”—especially those messy moments. I had absolute trust in you to portray our story with grace, and you did not disappoint. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!
Amber + Chad, thank you so much for being SO AWESOME and inviting me to document Elias' journey into the world. I value your vulnerability and dedication to sharing your birth story. I'm so grateful for our connection- you are inspirational photographers, storytellers, and parents. :) Thank you for sharing your story!