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7:16 AM Thu, Sept. 20th

Birth photographer captures once-in-a-lifetime moment

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Birth photographer Miranda Carreras, left, owner of Images by Miranda, often befriends clients like Megan Christensen, who is due at the end of May.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier Birth photographer Miranda Carreras, left, owner of Images by Miranda, often befriends clients like Megan Christensen, who is due at the end of May.

Megan Christensen is thrilled about her impending life-changing event.

Within the next week or so, Christensen is giving birth to her first child, a baby girl named Addisyn.

The excitement and stress of bringing a child into the world will keep Christensen and her family members busy that day.

So Christensen turned to Miranda Carerras to capture the event forever.

"I'll never get this experience over again," she said. "I want (Carerras) to get everything for me and be able to enjoy the moment."

Carreras' business, Images By Miranda Photography, focuses on taking pictures of the entire birthing process.

"By hiring me, the dad and the family members can participate," she said.

Carreras, 23, says she first picked up her mother's old 110 camera when she was a toddler.

That was the start of Carreras' love of photography.

From there, Carreras got her first manual camera when she began high school, and eventually got a degree from the New York Institute of Photography.

A professional photographer for five years now, Carreras said she first took birthing photos for a close friend in March 2001.

"I knew that she would want them later on," she said. "I was so addicted to taking pictures, I couldn't pass it up."

Expectant mothers contact Carreras around 36 weeks into their pregnancies.

Carreras takes pre-birth photos and then waits for a call just before the mother delivers the baby.

From there, Carreras takes photos of everything going on during the delivery and after it, including the first time the father gets to hold his baby.

"The father's face is just priceless," she said.

After the birth, Carreras spends a few hours taking photos and going into the nursery for pictures of the baby's first bath, measurements and feet printing.

"As a mom, you really do miss all that," she said. "The dads get so nervous and that's when the camera gets set down."

Carreras' $300 package includes a timeline, birth announcements, 200 to 300 photos on disk and a hardbound book with around 150 photos.

"I always say the wedding day may be the biggest day of your life, but the birth of a child is the most miraculous day," she said.

A few weeks after the birth, Carreras gives the book to the mother.

"It brings tears to my eyes when they see that book," she said. "Life is worth living when you see a child born."

Megan's mom, Suzie Christensen, wishes she had the chance to have a professional take pictures while she was giving birth to her children.

"I think it's awesome. I'm jealous," she said.

For Carreras, the experience leads to friendships with the women she photographs.

"It's an honor for them to open the door and allow me to participate in a very intimate moment in their lives," she said.

For information, call 713-1586 or visit www.imagesbymirandaphotography.com.