Denton birth photographers capture new lives and milestone moments

Denton birth photographers capture new lives and milestone moments

Denton birth photographer Casandra Hawkins documents the journey of childbirth. Brigitte Zumaya

Denton birth photographers capture new lives and milestone moments
October 18
21:11 2017

Growing up, the idea of birth never scared Teagan Jacobson.

She skipped school to watch her cat have kittens and helped her family deliver newborn calves during her childhood. The book she read most often was “The Birthing Room,” a novel about 1800s prairie home births. 

“It is unbelievably rewarding to watch a baby be born,” Jacobson said. “I get an adrenaline rush every single time, and I’ll admit — it’s a tad addicting.”

Jacobson is a birth photographer and, along with fellow photographer Casey Hawkins, owns Denton Birth Photography. For a couple of years, the two Denton residents have captured the most intimate moments of the birthing process, ranging from cesarean sections to home births.

“Most people get a little horrified when they hear about birth photography and assume it is graphic,” Jacobson said. “They are so surprised by how beautiful and [not] awkward the photos are.”

Hawkins and Jacobson both previously photographed weddings and portraits. Jacobson said she was looking for something different and new.

“After years in the portrait and wedding photography business, I had become a little burned out on all the posing, makeup [and] ‘say cheese’ stuff,” Jacobson said.

Their foray into the business was prompted when they hired photographers for their own births. After seeing the depth and uniqueness of the photos, Hawkins and Jacobson said they felt compelled to pursue it full time.

“I booked my own birth photographer and after having [my daughter], I just felt like it’s what I had to shoot,” Hawkins said.

For each client, Hawkins and Jacobson book a tentative due date. They remain on call for two weeks prior and two weeks after, just in case any changes with the baby occur.

Often, the phone rings in the middle of the night.

The timing isn’t always perfect, but Hawkins said it is worth it.

“Even with a repeat client, they’re never going to have an identical birth,” Hawkins said. “Being able to witness and document an event that’s completely one of a kind is really amazing.”

Hawkins said birth photography is becoming popular, but it is still a niche in the photography industry. Clients want to capture the full experience in detail, since recalling the process can often be fuzzy and hectic.

“If something had to give, it shouldn’t be the photography, as it’s memories and emotions captured through a lens that you can cherish for a lifetime,” client Sophia Pizana said.

On their website, Hawkins and Jacobson describe themselves as “storytellers.” Both of them have their own style that translates into the events that unfold during the birthing process.

“I would say that Casandra is a bit more artistic, and me more journalistic,” Jacobson said. “But we are both crazy about details. While we may shoot different angles or focus on different aspects, we both tell the full story through our own eyes.”

Capturing the births are both an adrenaline rush and an emotional moment for them. As a mother of two who experienced different types of births, Hawkins said she relates to her clients every time she enters the room.

“When I’m at a birth, I’m not there working so much as I’m there experiencing it with them,” Hawkins said. “Since I’ve been through it twice before, I feel everything. I know what those contractions feel like. I know how hard it is.”

As beautiful as it is, Hawkins and Jacobson said it is a special challenge to stay poised and ready during unexpected moments.

“We can’t just re-pose the shot later if the first one doesn’t turn out,” Jacobsen said. “[It’s like,] ‘I missed that, could you please put the baby back in and deliver it again?’”

On a technical side, there are often times when Hawkins and Jacobson don’t know what the setting will be. Sometimes it can be pale and bright while in others instances it could be in the middle of the night.

“It’s very challenging to walk into a birth with no idea what lens or settings it will require,” Jacobson said. “C-sections have intense fluorescent lighting and home births often happen at night by candlelight.”

No matter the struggle, the two photographers continue to provide new and experienced mothers with the gift of reliving a milestone moment and one of the most joyous days of their lives.

“It is difficult to place a value on these pictures,” client Misty Leigh Jeter-Bennett said. “When I look at them, I can feel every emotion just as strong as the day our son was born. I will never tire of looking at them.”

Featured Image: Denton birth photographer Casandra Hawkins documents the journey of childbirth. Brigitte Zumaya

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Amy Roh

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