7 Birth Photos That Clinched Top Honors—See Why

pregnant woman laboring in the shower Apple Blossom Families

As every mom knows, birth can be emotional, messy, unpredictable and exciting, but it is always beautiful, no matter how baby arrives. The International Association for Professional Birth Photographers captured that reality, announcing the winners of its 2016 Image Competition.

IAPBP founder Lyndsay Stradtner says this is the fifth year the IAPBP has held the contest. “Our goal was to normalize birth and the various birth experiences women have,” she tells The Bump. “It was an incredibly difficult year to judge; we had so many wonderful entries!”

Stradtner says judges used a point system to consider the following aspects:

1. TECHNICAL – Is the photo technically correct? Please consider focus, sharpness, detail, depth of field, color, brightness, contrast, saturation, usage of light, etc.

2. EMOTIONAL – Do you like the photograph? Did it move you? Did it create an emotion when you viewed the image? Is the image interesting? Original? Do you like the style?

3. COMPOSITION – Does the photograph tell a story? Where is your eye led to in the photograph? Is the photograph balanced, and if not, is it creating the visual impact it should? Please consider framing, viewpoint, background, visual impact.

Each of the winning images tells a unique story, highlighting delivery methods from hospital births to water births. And the photos mean as much to the photographers as they do to the moms depicted.

“This birth will forever be close to my heart,” says Krista Evans, whose photo of a mom laboring in the shower won an honorable mention. “I remember so vividly the feeling that overwhelmed me while witnessing this moment from behind my lens. She was so radiant, so peaceful and yet strength was seeping out of every pore. She had completely surrendered and it was glorious.”

Considering birth photos for your own delivery? Check out our suggestions for finding a photographer here.

Take a look at the winners below. Fair warning, they’re very real…and very graphic.

First Place Winner:

baby underwater

Marijke Thoen Photography


Best in Category: Postpartum

Mom and baby after birth

Natalia Walth Photography


Best in Category: Labor

Woman in labor

Apple Blossom Families


Best in Category: Delivery

twin water birth

Birth Blessings Photography


Honorable Mention:

Woman in Labor

Love by Krista Evans


Honorable Mention:

Baby being born

Alexandra Kayy Photography


Honorable Mention:


water birth

Angela Gallo Photography