The Collazo Family
The anticipation of birthing our second child was so exciting and nerve wrecking all at once. Once the idea of having Amanda photograph our birth journey was introduced by our doula I was so excited and nervous all at once. Not completely sure what to expect, we set up a meeting with Amanda three weeks prior to our due date. We immediately clicked perfectly with her and were immediately on board but still not sure how the actual experience would be with having an additional person alongside our journey. However, once my labor started only a week after meeting her, Amanda joined us at the hospital & she immediately became a part of my birth team and she is a major part of my birth story. She allowed me to lean on her during a moment I was doubting my own abilities and I will forever remember the courage she gave me in that exact moment. She is an extremely personable person who is there for support if needed but otherwise takes incredible photos and does not interfere with the calm & serene environment needed of a laboring woman. The photos she captured are magical and make me cry no matter how many times I see them. They are moments I would never remember otherwise and nothing can put a price tag on such an experience!! I am so grateful for having her there alongside the birth of Gabriel and would hire her again and again!! -Meghan
Dad's Perspective: As a first time father, saying I was skeptical about having a photographer in the delivery room was an understatement. My wife suggested having a professional photographer capture the birth of our daughter. My first thought was this was a special moment that we should not share with anyone. I didn't even want our parents in the room! I am happy to say that after being "convinced" by my wife and meeting Amanda, we decided to have her capture the whole experience. It was an amazing experience. She blended into the background and actually kept us calm during some of the process. We worked with her for our pregnancy photos so already had built a rapport.
As a guy, I am always taking photos and videos of every important experience. It was nice to not feel the need to grab my phone and tell my wife to smile during the experience. Probably even better for her! I was able to truly be in the moment. Amanda went directly home and sent us a few professional photos of our daughter to share with the family. Then within a few weeks, she had an amazing collection posted online for our family to enjoy the experience.
I ask all husbands to meet with Amanda before making a decision. The pictures she captured at that moment will be cherished for a lifetime. I highly recommend Amanda for all parents who want to capture the pregnancy, birth and first year of their child. Her photos are adored by everyone that enters our house. Not only is she a true professional, she has become a friend. -Justin
Mom's Perspective: Amanda is the best photographer I have ever worked with. My career has brought me to hire more than 20 photographers, so that's saying a lot! She is a true professional and has an amazing eye for capturing precious moments that last a lifetime. I have done maternity, birth, and newborn and the milestones sessions with Amanda. I originally was looking for a maternity session photographer in the Hampton Roads area and decided to work with Amanda because her photos were far superior to the other local photographers work I viewed. The photos Amanda has captured for my family truly bring tears of joy to my eyes every time I look at them. She was able to catch the true essence of my husband, our daughter and I in these photos. Most important beyond Amanda's exceptional talent is the fact that she truly loves what she does. This shows in every interaction you have with her.
The beautiful moments she has captured for my family adorn our walls and I have family members and friends from throughout the country tell me that they are the best newborn photos they have ever seen and they wish they had a photographer as good as Amanda. I would (and do) recommend Amanda to anyone I know looking for a maternity, birth, or baby photographer! -Devra
The Sharon Family
We hired Amanda to photograph the birth of our daughter. My best friend was our surrogate, and we questioned the added expense…especially my husband. In the end, I knew it would be almost impossible for us to take any decent pictures because we would be so wrapped up in the moment, and decided to take the plunge. Turned out to be the best decision we could have made! What Amanda managed to capture is not something an amateur photographer could have gotten. I’m still not sure how she did it, but the photos actually depict the emotion in a real, raw, and very visceral way. They aren’t just pictures of Carly’s birth – each one invites you in and tells you a story.
The moments leading up to Carly’s birth, and then meeting her and holding her for the first time, were so overwhelming and emotional for me that I didn’t have the chance to see anything else but her sweet little face. I was crying so hard that it actually took focus to look into her little eyes. I completely missed the look on my husband’s face, my best friend’s face, and the emotion in the room. In that moment, there was no one and nothing but my little girl. Because we knew Amanda was there, my husband was able to fully relax and just be in that moment with us. He was right behind me with his arms around me when we welcomed this new little one to our family, not concentrating behind the camera lens. The joy and excitement on his face brings tears to my eyes, and I cannot wait to show our daughter those pictures when she’s older. If Amanda hadn’t been there to capture it, I would never have seen those first moments of us together as a family.
She was also able to capture the bond between my best friend and I. How do you do that in a photograph? I still don’t know, but she did. It’s clear as day, singing out to me in every image. She caught those little gestures and glances, and they make me cry every single time I look at them.
My husband understands birth photography now. When Amanda posted the first “sneak peak” photo (he and I with our minutes-old daughter), he was the first to repost it! He’s so happy that we chose to do it, and that we chose Amanda. There were other, cheaper birth photographers available (although not many), but none had a portfolio like she did. Her worked jumped out at me immediately, and was far superior to anyone else’s. Not only that, but we developed an instant rapport. She’s so friendly and easy to talk to that you feel as if you’ve known her for years! When it came down to the actual birth, though, we didn’t even know she was there. She stayed back, stayed quiet, and I didn’t even notice the camera. She just let it all unfold before her and she just worked her magic. She allowed us to be in the moment and it was as natural and comfortable as if it were only family in the room.
All in all, hiring Amanda was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. The birth of our daughter was one of the most precious, amazing moments of our lives, and to have it all documented in such a permanent and beautiful way was worth every penny and more. What seemed expensive before is now the unbelievably priceless to us. There is literally no price on the memories she gave us. I will never, ever be able to thank her enough for the gift of her time, talent, and all the love she puts into her work. You can tell it’s not a job for her…it’s a passion. It shows.
The Stevens Family
My doula recommended Amanda for birth photography since I was planning a homebirth. I was very apprehensive and though I said no initially, I decided to go for it. It was my second child, my first was a c-section and I was hoping for a home birth. That labor ended in an emergency transfer for a stat c-section and though my heart was broken, when I saw the slideshow, Amanda had painted this beautiful story of a strong mama doing she must for the safety of her baby and herself. A spiral-bound notebook of photos is one of my most prized possessions to date. When I fell pregnant with my third, it was a no-brainer that we would hire Amanda again. We attempted another home birth: a VBA2C, but transferred again, this time because I let fear of the what-ifs get to me. I got that VBA2C though, and it was magic. Amanda got amazing shots. And in the thick if it, I didn't remember these little moments. It was so nice to see that story play out again. We just had our fourth (and final) baby this past Sunday. Another home birth attempt, another transfer. This time the transfer was medically necessary and my big guy needed a lot of help during and after delivery. His birth story is scary, but I Amanda's talent did not focus on this part, but on the part where the mama followed her intuition and made she and her baby safe. My son was born at 12lbs and had a severe shoulder dystocia. I now see the warrior mama parts where I labored him down for hours and pushed him out without the aid of an epidural or any other pain relief. This is what I want to remember. Her work is nothing short of flawless, creative and full of life. I always recommend Kimberlin Gray Photography when friends ask about photographers. -Jenna
The Allen Family
Dad's Perspective: For Dads and Moms, pregnancy brings with it a lot of questions. What color should we paint the room, what car seat should we buy, is it safe enough, what stroller, what kind of bottles, the list goes on and on. Then there was the question of birth photography. I had never heard of birth photography but it was something my wife had looked into and she was positive she wanted to use a birth photographer. Fortunately we found Amanda of Kimberlin Gray Photography.
At first I was unsure. I thought that it might be weird to having a photographer in the room before, during and after my son’s birth. Amanda eased all my concerns and ensured my wife and me that she would only be as involved as we wanted her to be.
Our son decided to make his grand entrance to life six weeks early. What my wife and I thought would probably just be a checkup at the hospital turned out to be the new due date of our son. We called Amanda as we were being checked into the hospital at 8:00 pm and told her our son was on his way. Next thing we know Amanda’s right there at the hospital, ready to capture everything. In fact, my wife and I were so engulfed with the wonders of our son being born that we didn’t even realize Amanda was right there, quietly and professionally, capturing every precious moment for us.
The pictures Amanda took were amazing! Being caught up in the moment of child birth there is no way that I would have been able to capture the timeless pictures Amanda took while at the same time trying to spend time with my wife and newborn son. There was no need for my wife or me to stop and take pictures; Amanda was there so all we had to do was focus on our son. My wife and I are forever grateful for the pictures we have of our son’s birth.
My wife and I were so satisfied with the birth photos that we chose her to capture our son's entire first year with her 1st year milestone pictures. I would without a doubt recommend Kimberlin Gray Photography for birth photos and will be using her again for our second child. -Keric
In my opinion, birth photography is PRICELESS!!!! I knew the possibility of having a chaotic, emergency delivery with my twins was highly likely. And since I knew it would be my last pregnancy, it was that much more important to me that I have it documented. I didn't want to take the chance of "losing" any moment from that day. And thank goodness I had Amanda do it! Capturing every sweet moment with my oldest before delivering, the first pictures of my sweet twosome and even the ones of me in recovery as they fought to stabilize my body temp and blood pressure - so many little things would've gotten lost in the chaos. Having beautiful, up close pictures of my babies ended up being a lifesaver for me since they went straight to the NICU and I was on magnesium and required to stay in bed for 24 hours post delivery. It felt like the longest 24 hours ever when I was dying to hold and kiss my newborns. Amanda has become like family since she took my first maternity pictures 6 years ago. And her gift has made it possible for me to have an everlasting visual of one of the most amazing days of my life.
The Mills Family
I found the experience of birth photography to profoundly impact my birth experience as well the memories of my youngest's birth. I had such a long labor that many moments would have been lost had I not had the 'records' of the photographs. Important details. My determination. My partnership. The many visitors. The peace I had at times. My resolve. The photography allowed me to observe it afterwards. My birth didn't end as I had hoped, but the photographs really served as a healing journey for me. Amanda captured so much of it and I felt like I did have a birth story after all whereas my grief and disappointment may have stood as fact instead of just an aspect of it. I am SO grateful for Amanda and her talent. So grateful this was available to me and my family and for my daughter. Can't say enough how powerful the experience was for me. And I adore, adore, adore, adore Amanda!
I had not originally considered having a birth photographer. Looking back on our birth experience, I am so glad that we did not make the mistake of not having somebody there to document such a life changing event. When you are so caught up in the moment you do not think of grabbing the camera. And I wanted my husband and family members to be a part of bringing our son into this world. They could not do this from behind a camera.
Amanda became a part of our family that night. When I gave her word that I was going in to labor she headed straight to the hospital. She was so patient and accommodating of our last minute scheduling when the birth photographer we had originally hired went on vacation the week I was due. Not only was she able to help us out, but she had a back up prepared in the event that another client went into labor at the same time. Her level of professionalism is out of this world.
In the delivery room she was absolutely amazing. Not only did she bond so well with my family but she also gave me advice and support throughout labor. She supported my decision to have a natural birth and gave me strength when I thought about asking for an epidural. I am so glad she was there to help ensure that I had the birth that I wanted so badly. Having her there as a part of our delivery couldn't have been more perfect. She made us feel comfortable and she really did become a part of the family.
The images are priceless. She was able to perfectly capture the moments leading up to that final push all the way to our one on one time with our son. I had trouble remembering the events right around the time that my son came out, but looking through the images I was able to remember everything so vividly. It brought back that amazing experience all over again, and continues to do so whenever I look at the images.
These photos are something I will hold in my heart forever. This is a moment that I cannot ever get back. I am so happy to have had such an amazing photographer be a part of this experience. She has given us a gift that we will not ever forget.
I cannot imagine a more perfect photographer! -LeZandra
The Justice Family
Dad's Perspective: While I was there in the moments of my wife's labor, it was comforting to know Amanda was there to capture those moments. She had such confidence in what she was doing that I didn't doubt her for a moment. It was like she was saying, "I've got this" with the way she carried herself while taking our birth photos. It was so great to not have to worry that our special time needed to be captured and I was able to just focus on my wife and that was an awesome feeling. -Nathan
Mom's Perspective: Not only is Amanda our photographer, she is also my friend. I knew that I wanted to book Amanda as our birth photographer before I was even pregnant. Every birth story I have seen that she has captured have been so beautiful that it wasn't even a question that I wanted her there and my husband was completely on board. She answered all of our questions at our consultation. My husband did have some concerns about what would be captured as birth is a very personal experience. She put him at ease when she showed him some previous birth stories.
I am a mother to 3 children. My first 2 children I delivered in a hospital with an epidural. With my third child, my son, I knew that I wanted to "try" to deliver naturally. So I wanted to be sure I had a professional there to capture my labor and delivery because I knew that I would not remember all of those moments myself. When it was time to go to the midwifery center my husband called Amanda and let her know. We arrived to the center and she arrived soon after we did. I almost forgot we called her to come and that she was coming! I didn't even notice she was there through my whole labor and delivery! She captured the loving gentle touches of my doula, who is also my cousin and has been with me with every labor. She captured my quiet, watchful husband who sat back and watched me rock my labor. She captured me and my strength and intensity as I listened to my body and let it take over to give me my beautiful son. Most importantly she captured those beautiful and precious first moments of my son in the world with us and the moments of myself, my husband, and my daughters meeting my son for our very first time. I had my son close to midnight. Once I had my son it took quite a while for our nurse to come in to bathe and weigh him. Even though Amanda had a fully packed weekend with mini sessions and full sessions she stayed to capture those moments for us, even though it was so late. I am so glad she did as I feel those moments were also a very important part of our story.
My son weighed 10 lbs 5 oz and if she wasn't there we wouldn't have the photo to show that amazing number! Every time I look back on our photos I cry. It's absolutely amazing that I still feel the emotions I felt that day and that I can look at my photos and remember those moments. We all know memories can get a little fuzzy as time passes, but thanks to my friend Amanda I will have those moments frozen in time and as clear as day to remember always. That is something that you absolutely cannot put a price on. -Meghan