The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers is proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Image of the Year Competition. Our Judge panel had a very difficult job in narrowing down the winners this year as there were many excellent entries. We are appreciative of their time and efforts. Winners were chosen on a point system and judged on technicality, emotionality and composition. Thank you to each and every IAPBP member who entered this year and, of course, the families who agreed to share their birth moments with us all!

  • All images have been shared with the permission of the family and the photographer. Please respect their choice and copyright. Do not copy, print or save any of the images. You are, of course, welcome to share a link to this page if you wish.
  • This competition has now ended. For more information please view our 2018 Official Rules, Terms and Conditions.
  • Media: If you would like to do a story on the competition please complete our Media Request Form before using or sharing any images. Images can only be shared once the form is complete. Proper credit and hyperlinks to the photographer / copyright owner are required. We will provide you with all the contact info, photographer links and watermarked / web ready images in one download. Requests for an interview or quote with our Founder should be directed to media@birthphotographers.com.

If you would like to find a birth photographer or videographer in your area, please visit our Birth Photographer Directory or our Birth Videographer Dirfectory. If you are a birth photographer or videographer and would like to become a member of the IAPBP, you can find out more information on some of our membership benefits and packages on this page.

Please note: While birth is beautiful, it is also messy and real. You should expect nudity when viewing the entries. Be sure to scroll down to view all of the gorgeous entries from this year.

2018 Competition Winners

First Place Winner

098 | STUNNING SIBLINGS FIRST ENCOUNTER
Marijke Thoen — Marijke Thoen Birthphotography
Belgium

Best In Category: Labor

002 | NOWHERE AND EVERYWHERE
rebecca coursey — rebecca coursey, photographer + doula
United States

Best In Category: Delivery

201 | EN CAUL BABY BIRTH
DANIELA JUSTUS — DANIELA JUSTUS FOTOGRAFIA
Brazil

Best In Category: Postpartum

114 | FLESH OF MY FLESH
Esther Edith — Esther Edith Photographer & Doula
United States

Best In Category: Birth Details

203 | BIRTH OF A BROTHER
DANIELA JUSTUS — DANIELA JUSTUS FOTOGRAFIA
Brazil

 

Members Choice Awards

Members Choice Winner

107 | THREE BECOME FOUR
Esther Edith — Esther Edith Photographer & Doula
United States

Members Choice Best In Category: Labor

002 | NOWHERE AND EVERYWHERE
rebecca coursey — rebecca coursey, photographer + doula
United States

Members Choice Best In Category: Delivery

098 | STUNNING SIBLINGS FIRST ENCOUNTER
Marijke Thoen — Marijke Thoen Birthphotography
Belgium

Members Choice Best In Category: Postpartum

288 | TAKE MY HAND, HOLD MY HEART
Tamara Milldove — Milldove Photography – Maternity, Birth and Newborn
New Zealand

Members Choice Best In Category: Birth Details

160 | BULGING FOREWATERS
Cat Fancote — Capturing Birth
Australia

 

Honorable Mentions

 

2018 Competition Entries

 

JUDGES

Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein
Producers - The Business of Being Born
From acting and producing, to dancing her way into the hearts of television audiences, Emmy Award winning Host Ricki Lake is a pop culture icon who has built a career on her graciously candid sensibility and her authentic, relatable nature.
Ricki Lake’s legacy and perhaps her greatest love is her role as an independent filmmaker. Her award-winning documentary The Business of Being Born debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007. Lake worked closely with filmmaker Abby Epstein on the project, which resonated with audiences, striking up a conversation about a subject that is sometimes considered taboo. Declared a film that ‘should be seen by every pregnant woman in America’, it has also inspired a rise in homebirth rates and an increase in midwife practices. Lake is again collaborating with Abby Epstein and they are currently in production on two documentaries; Sweetening The Pill, about hormonal birth control and Weed The People, about medicinal cannabis. Both films are slated for late 2015 release. Lake competed on the 13th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” where she partnered with three-time champion Derek Hough, making it to the finals. She recently performed with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. At the age of 24, Lake entered the living rooms of millions of television viewers with her daily talk show, “The Ricki Lake Show”. After 11 successful seasons, “The Ricki Lake Show” wrapped in 2005. Lake returned in 2012, and won the Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. The world first met Lake in 1988 as Tracy Turnblad in John Waters’ film Hairspray. Her additional film credits include Cry-Baby, Serial Mom, Working Girl, Last Exit To Brooklyn, and Mrs. Winterbourne. Television credits include “Babycakes”, “China Beach”, “The King of Queens”, “Matters of Life & Dating”, and “Loving Leah”. Abby Epstein produced and directed the celebrated documentary The Business of Being Born, with her longtime producing partner, Ricki Lake. Heralded as a “must-see for every pregnant woman,” The Business of Being Born premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival where it was named among “Best of the Fest” by New York Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. The Business of Being Born was released theatrically in 2008 and had its broadcast premiere on Showtime. The success of the film inspired Abby and Ricki’s book Your Best Birth, which was published by Hachette. Their follow-up DVD series More Business of Being Born featuring Cindy Crawford, Alanis Morissette, Gisele Bundchen and Christy Turlington was released in 2011. Abby made her film directing debut at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival with the documentary, Until the Violence Stops, featuring Jane Fonda, Eve Ensler, Salma Hayek and Rosie Perez. The film played at the Miami, Santa Barbara, Maui and Locarno Film Festivals and won the Audience Award at the Amnesty International Film Festival in Vancouver. Until the Violence Stops premiered on Lifetime Television and received an Emmy and a Gracie Allen Award. Under their joint venture BOBB Films, Abby and Ricki served as Executive Producers of the 2014 documentary Breastmilk and are in production on two new films: Weed the People and Sweetening the Pill. Prior to her film work Abby directed theater, helming National Tours and international premieres of RENT and “The Vagina Monologues.”
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The Business of Being BornSweetening The PillWeed The PeopleBreastmilk
Lindsay Gerszt
Executive Producer - When The Bough Breaks
Lindsay Lipton Gerszt was born and raised in Miami, Florida. In 1997, she graduated with a BA from the University of Miami, where she majored in Communication and Sociology.
Because of her love for music and the arts, in 1997, she began her career in Los Angeles at Capitol Records doing A&R. In 1999, she worked at MCA records and in 2003 she worked as a music manager at The Firm. Lindsay had the pleasure of working with, managing and doing PR for some of the biggest artists in the music industry.
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Caroline Bologna
Reporter - HuffPost
Caroline Bologna is a reporter at HuffPost, where she covers culture and parenting. A native of New Orleans, she graduated from Brown University and is currently based in New York. She is passionate about photography, world travel, and women's issues.
Jan Tritten
Editor-in-chief - Midwifery Today
Jan is the founder, mother and editor-in-chief of Midwifery Today magazine and a midwife who was in active practice from 1977–1989.
She became a midwife in 1977 after the powerful homebirth of one of her daughters. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. She does this by organizing Midwifery Today conferences around world as well as publishing the magazine. One of her favorite tasks is to look at photos of mothers and babies and births so she is honored to participate in this contest.
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Lena Hyde
Photographer
For the last 16 years, Lena Hyde has been transforming the way her clients view photography through her stunning philosophy of life as art, and by creating memories of childhood that will be treasured for a lifetime.

Lena is the creator of both Design Aglow , the highly acclaimed and awarded design and business success resource for portrait and wedding photography studios since 2006. Lena recently authored two best selling photography books, released to an international audience of professional photographers by Random House.

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lenahyde.comdesignaglow.com
Stuart James Fischbein
Obstetrician
Stuart James Fischbein has been a practicing obstetrician in Southern California since completing his residency in 1986. He was Board Certified in 1989 and became a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1990.
While well trained at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the standard medical model of obstetrics he had the respect and vision to support the midwifery model of care and served as a backup consultant to many home and birthing center midwives for 25 years. From 1996 to 2010 he owned The Woman’s Place for Health, Inc., an innovative, collaborative practice of Certified Nurse Midwives and Obstetricians in Camarillo, California working closely with chiropractors, acupuncturists and naturopathic doctors. In 2004, Dr. Fischbein co-authored, “Fearless Pregnancy, Wisdom & Reassurance from a Doctor, a Midwife and a Mom” www.fearlesspregnancy.net . For his efforts he has been awarded the Doulas Association of Southern California (DASC) Physician of the year award three times and was the very first recipient of DASC’s lifetime achievement award in support of pregnant women. He has spoken internationally on breech and vaginal birth after cesarean section and has appeared in many documentaries, including: “More Business of Being Born”, “Happy Healthy Child”, “Reducing Infant Mortality”, “Heads Up: The Disappearing Art of Breech Delivery” and multiple YouTube videos discussing birth choices and respect for patient autonomy and decision making. Dr Fischbein now works directly with home birthing midwives www.birthinginstincts.com In 2015 he published a paper titled “’Home Birth’ with an Obstetrician, A series of 135 Out of Hospital Births”. His long term goal is to educate the next generation of practitioners in the normalcy of human pregnancy and birth and to re-teach the skills that make the profession of obstetrics unique. He offers hope for those women who prefer and respect a natural birthing environment and cannot find supportive practitioners for VBAC, twin and breech deliveries in conventional hospital models. Hear more of his thoughts and advocacy for evidenced-based, reasonable choices on his weekly podcast at www.drstuspodcast.com.
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fearlesspregnancy.netdrstuspodcast.combirthinginstincts.com
Michele Anderson
Photographer
For 12 years, Michele of Pinkle Toes Photography has been one of the most sought-after family and child photographers in Austin and around the country.
Back in 2007, she was considered a “pioneer” in area of birth photography as it wasn’t commonly practiced at the time. She is known world-wide for her authentic, lifestyle portraiture, and unexpected, beautiful newborn and baby imagery.
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Dr. Emiliano Chavira
Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist
Dr. Chavira places a high value on the emotional, spiritual, and ethical aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, and maternity care. He has a particular interest in natural childbirth, VBAC, vaginal birth for multiple gestations, and breech vaginal birth.
Its rare to find a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist (high risk doctor) who believes and speaks to the normalcy of birth even when faced with the most complicated pregnancies and fetal issues. Dr. Chavira inspires and moves people. He can easily move from speaking to a large group of providers, to consumers and birth professionals. Beyond technical talks, he speaks to the ways we can improve care overall. Dr. Chavira has spoken publicly in lectures, grand rounds, community forums and panels, podcasts, and large conferences.
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Christina Beckett
Photographer
Christina Beckett is a photographer based out of Annapolis, Maryland who specializes in documentary and lifestyle portraiture. Christina is the founder of In Beauty & Chaos, a photography blog and store for the
modern photographer and is also the photographer behind Christina Beckett Photography. Christina is a wife, mother to four, homeschooler, and photography addict whose love affair began with a film camera at the age of 15.
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Peggy O'mara
Editor/Publisher - peggyomara.com
Peggy O’Mara is the editor and publisher of peggyomara.com. She founded Mothering.com in 1995 and was its editor-in chief until 2012.
Peggy was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four and grandmother of three.
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peggyomara.commothering.com
Rebecca Dekker
Founder/Author - Evidence Based Birth
Rebecca L. Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN, LCCE, is the founder and author of Evidence Based Birth®. Dr. Dekker received her Master of Science in Nursing and her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from the University of Kentucky.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Dekker has built a strong reputation in maternal and infant health circles for her pioneering work as the founder of Evidence Based Birth.® The mission of EBB is to raise the quality of childbirth care globally, by putting accurate, evidence based research into the hands of families and communities, so they can make informed, empowered choices. You can learn more about Dr. Dekker’s background at her website here!
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Jaydene Freund
2017 IAPBP Winner / Photographer
Jaydene Freund is the photographer behind Cradled Creations Birth Photography, located in Vancouver (Fraser Valley), Canada. She began photographing births in 2009, and has since photographed and filmed over 150 birth stories.
She co-founded Canadian Birth Photographers organization in 2011 and has deeply enjoyed watching the birth photography industry grow in popularity across Canada and the world. Her work has been featured in print publications such as Midwifery Today, Vancouver Sun, Canadian Family, and was published in a 2015 book titled "For Love- 25 Heartwarming Celebrations of Humanity." After winning "Best Overall Image" from the IAPBP 2017 competition, she has chosen to focus on education, mentoring and speaking.
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Jenna Shouldice
Photographer
Jenna Shouldice is a documentary and wedding/family photographer based out of Victoria BC, where she works with her husband and they raise their small daughter.
Her documentary work focuses on women’s issues and more specifically, the labour process. In addition to being professionally trained Jenna has a degree in Psychology, trained as a doula in 2011, and her birth work has been published internationally both online and in print. She currently teaches documentary birth and family photography to photographers around the world.
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Milli Hill
Founder - Positive Birth Movement
Milli Hill is the founder of the Positive Birth Movement (PBM), a global network of nearly 500, free to attend antenatal groups. Her book, The Positive Birth Book, was published in March 2017 to wide acclaim, immediately becoming an Amazon bestseller and remaining one of the most popular books for pregnant women ever since.
Her message is simple, that birth really matters to women, that it can be empowering, inspiring and life-enhancing, and above all, that they can do it! She is a tireless advocate for women’s choices and for the notion that birth can be positive in any setting, from home to the operating theatre. As well as her work for the PBM, Milli writes for various publications about birth and motherhood, including the Telegraph, Guardian, BestDaily, GoodtoKnow and more. She is a member of several advisory groups on birth issues and speaks regularly about positive birth at events around the world. She lives in Somerset with her partner and three small children.
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Cheryl Haggard
Chief Executive Officer - NILMDTS
Cheryl Haggard co-founded Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep in 2005. When her son Maddux was born on February 4, 2005 unable to move and breath on his own, she and her family spent six days by his side.
On his sixth day of life, Cheryl and her husband Michael had to make the devastating decision to remove their son Maddux from life support. During Maddux’s time in the hospital she tried capturing photographs of her son, but what she was able to capture only showed red swollen eyes and tear-stained cheeks. She could not comfortably hang the photographs on the wall alongside her older children because they showed so much sadness. She wanted heirloom portraits of her son in black and white when he was not connected to tubes and wires. She was able to receive the cherished heirloom photographs from photographer Sandy Puc’. Cheryl knew that other parents would want the same gift, which inspired her to create the organization Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Since NILMDTS was founded, more than 40,000 sessions have been photographed around the world. NILMDTS is in every state across the United States and in multiple countries. Cheryl has been featured in most major media outlets including NBC, CBS, CNN, The Today Show, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and hundreds of other media outlets. Cheryl has three grown children and resides with her husband Michael in Evergreen, CO.
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Heather Hilton
Midwife - Central Texas Birth Center
Heather has been serving the birthing families of Central Texas since moving back to her childhood home of Austin in 2002. She began her work in the birth field in 2001 by certifying as a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator.
Shortly thereafter she began attending the births of her students as their doula. Heather founded HypnoBirthing of Central Texas in 2003, which has provided childbirth education to over 450 families in the communities of Central Texas, from Waco to San Antonio. After the birth of her third child, she felt led to a career in midwifery and in 2004 she applied and was accepted in to the Association of Texas Midwives Midwifery Training Program. Her apprenticeship began at Juneau Family Birth Center, a nonprofit birth center in Juneau, Alaska. She was hired there as the staff doula for the Young Families program, which offered free prenatal education and birth doula services to teenage parents. After returning to Austin in late 2005, Heather continued an apprenticeship at a birth center/homebirth practice for the next 15 months. Heather graduated from ATM and was licensed as a midwife in 2007. She then began her private homebirth practice, Genesis Midwifery, where she practiced until opening Central Texas Birth Center in Georgetown, TX in early 2011. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge with student midwives and enjoys teaching for the Association of Texas Midwives Midwifery Training Program. Heather now has 6 children, and has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1996.
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Molly Flanagan
Photographer
Molly Flanagan is a Family Storytelling photographer in South Carolina. She has traveled world-wide documenting families in their homes. Molly is also owner of The Define School for photographers.
Her mission through The Define School is to help photographers gather the tools they need to find their own unique perspective, while building community through small classes and mentoring relationships with teachers.
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Jen McLellan
Founder - Plus Size Birth
Jen McLellan is a published author and founder of Plus Size Birth and the Plus Mommy blog. She helps people navigate the world of plus size pregnancy, shares tips for embracing your body, and laughs her way through the adventures of parenthood.
Jen has grown a community of over 177,000 via the Plus Mommy Facebook page. Jen is also a childbirth educator, professional speaker, wife, and mother to a charismatic 7-year-old.
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plussizebirth.complusmommy.com

Jill Krause
Baby Rabies / Happy Loud Life
Jill Krause is the voice of BabyRabies.com, an award winning and internationally recognized blog she started 11 years ago when her baby fever turned into baby rabies (she became obsessed with getting pregnant with her first child).
Krause has spent 7 years working to refine her own photography skills and uses photos and video to tell visually compelling stories for both Baby Rabies and her new venture- HappyLoudLife.com- where she is chronicaling her family of six's escapades traveling the country in an RV. Krause is also the author of the book 50 Things To Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Guide, coming out April 3rd.
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Twyla Jones
Photographer
I'm a photographer drawn to the dramatic and emotive ways in which we connect with each other and our surroundings. A session with me is wholly focused on taking the time to slow down and really appreciate long embraces, the art of discovery, subtleties of affection, and making time to say the words we don't always stop to say.
It is my desire to create photographs that do more than serve as proof that you existed, I want to show that you lived passionately and loved madly. I'm also an educator. I enjoy sharing the way I see beauty with other photographers. One of my greatest joys is helping others find the confidence they need to create meaningful, authentic artwork for both themselves and their clients.
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Kelly Winder
BellyBelly
BellyBelly Kelly (as she's affectionately known!) is passionate about helping women and men to get informed and feeling confident about pregnancy, birth and early parenting.

Kelly knows how deeply transformative the right information can be, especially at such an important time.

But in the era of information overload, the right information can be hard to find, in a turbulent sea of news, fake news, articles, advertising messages and everything else wearing out our tired, overworked brains.

In an effort to cut out the noise, in early March 2018, the very first BellyBelly Birth & Early Parenting Immersion event will begin, followed by the BellyBelly Birth & Early Parenting Intensive, which are powerful, life changing events, bringing together some of Australia's very best birth and early parenting educators.

Kelly has been a doula since 2003, is the author of the eBook, "Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know" and is a mama to three amazing children. From humble beginnings 16 years ago, the BellyBelly website currently has over 1 million Facebook fans, and receives around 2-2.5 million visitors to www.bellybelly.com.au, every month.

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