A few months ago, we had the pleasure to meet Hanna of Hanna Hill Photography, and we knew after that first meeting she truly is not only a wonderful photographer and artist, but also wonderful person. Furthermore, one of our doulas recently attended a birth with her at WakeMed Cary and got to see first hand her professionalism, compassionate, and amazing talent to capture the emotions our client was feeling.
Hanna has a background in fine art, and you can tell by looking at her pictures that she has the skill to document the beauty of life. She specializes in birth photography and family sessions, and believes that life is worth celebrating. She loves that she can document these celebrations through her art and then share with her clients.
We recently caught up again to talk more and learn even more about what makes her the best birth photographer in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and someone we are proud to recommend to our clients!
What made you get started in birth photography?
Birth photography for me was an answer to a lot of questions I was asking myself over the last 4-5 years. When I was in college I was studying art and was very focused on the female experience, body and the position of women in society, religion, you name it. I had already started my photography business back in 2010 doing a few families here and there and maybe a wedding or two a year but I never felt fulfilled by it. When I was in college is when I photographed my first births, not for business but for documentary photography's sake. I followed around a midwife actually as a class project and from there was able to witness a hand full of natural births. I found it both magical and fascinating, how much mystery and power can be found in birth. When I graduated college I still wasn't thinking photography business and definitely not birth photography but life changes you. I got married after a year or so and moved across the country to Kansas City and didn't work much at all. So I started taking photography clients again, slowly at first but within maybe 6 months I was all of the sudden filled with that energy people get when running their own business. I was on cloud nine and wanted nothing more than the expand and grow in talent. Right around that time is when I thought about birth photography again, I really had nothing portfolio worthy anymore (photography styles change so much) so I did my first birth free for a close friend and the rest was history. I remembered the rush and joy I got from creating art about womanhood, the body and the creation of life. I remembered the power that is birth and rush of the on call life(as stressful as it is.)
How does your background in studio art impact your photography style?
I think my Art background heavily influences the type of images and compositions I create and want to create. I hope to bring out an artistry with my photos as well as an emotion. I look at each photo as a memory, a painting and a story, it needs to take you back, look really beautiful and tell you something about the subject you didn't know. If it doesn't do some of that I'll usually sit looking at it for ages.
When you are photographing a birth, what can birthing people and their partners expect from you?
I'm a pretty hands off and quiet presence in the birth space. I am intuitive as best I can to mom's needs and the needs of her partner. If it's just me and mom I step into a more supportive roll if she needs but I try not to be apart of story as much as possible. I do encourage during pushing and ooh and aww over baby with them once he or she arrives, but when mom is in labor, I try not to add anything extra she wasn't expecting to the birth space and rely on the support she has already put in place to be her main source of comfort. Unless of course she asks be to be support in that moment then all bets are off and I'll be your best friend!
When you aren’t on call or at a birth, where would we find you?
I love my house and drinking wine on my couch :P I am actually pretty middle of the road on introvert and extrovert so I do hang out with friends pretty often too and love going our for dinner with my husband. We also love traveling all over the world. I actually try to set aside a month a year from births so we can without stress book a trip somewhere in the world. We will actually be going to Kenya this December for Christmas with some friends, just for fun :)
What’s your favorite binge worthy TV show?
Favorite binge tv is probably all tv, i have a horrible filter and could probably watch anything. My favorites right now is probably re-watching Arrested Development and Chefs table.
Coffee or tea?
I drink about 3-5 cups a coffee a day so...