Birth Unveiled

the art and alchemy of documenting birth

with Rebecca Coursey


Class Overview:

In so many ways I longed to understand "birth" even before I became a mother. But like many women in our culture, the very first birth I attended was my own. Yet, when I attended my first birth as a photographer, I felt as if I was stepping, all over again, into an unknown for which I had not been prepared. I knew that this is where I wanted to be, but had no way of knowing how to show up --other than with my camera in my hand; and even then I was daunted by what I needed to know, what to do, and what to capture.

This class was born not only out of my deep, unshakable love and awe I have for birth, but for my desire to create a space where we can safely explore what it means to attend birth as a photographer. In this class we will not only explore the documentary nature of birth photography, but about the art and science of birth itself. What is so moving about true documentary work, is that the photographer knows their subject. Just as the photographers Gordon Parks or Mary Ellen Mark were intwined with their subjects, we must also have a deep understanding of birth itself to make a lasting impact on our viewer. As a true documentary photographer, we hold the delicate balance of documenting, in real time, a woman's transformation into mother, as well as holding space for all who accompany her on her journey. 

What You Will Learn:

  • identifying the difference between documentary and fine art photography

  • exploring the art of shooting in low light

  • understanding how to push your camera

  • learning how to use available light to your advantage

  • understanding the anthropology of human birth

  • learning about the hormonal physiology of labor and how our work may impact that

  • exploring my own birth/documentarian work, both the successes and colossal failures

  • gaining a deeper understanding of white balance and how this influences our editing

  • digging into your own editing tools while maintaining the integrity of the documentary nature of birth

  • exploring how different cameras and lens work in different lighting situations

  • learning how I attend births; and how to create your own unique way to show up, yet at the same time, maintaining your own code of ethics and responsibilities

  • creating a portfolio, and network, even if you haven’t been to a birth

  • a closer look at other era documentary work, as well as what is done currently, and how this relates to the stories we capture

  • deep exploration of cultural myths, constructs, and truths surrounding birth

  • creating conversation, and healing around our own births and what we can sometimes witness in the birthing space

Class Mechanics:

This three week online interactive workshop will include:

  • daily interaction from me answering questions about the materials presented

  • 3-4 weekly assignments with constructive feedback

  • in depth constructive criticism from me on weekend assignments

  • week day assignments which will receive thoughts from me as well as the community we have created

  • a safe environment where we can learn from our failures

  • private FB group that all will be invited to join once the class has ended

  • a section specified for Silent Students where they can interact and share assignments with each other

  • opportunity for active students to have a private critique of 20 images of a photographed birth for up to 6 months after the class ends

  • PDF guide to keep at the conclusion of class

Student Reviews:

“Birth is intimate. It is one of those things that you need to approach with tact and respect. This class opened my eyes to the importance of our role as documenters and how we can affect the story, negatively or positively. This class absolutely 100% made me a better photographer and overall human. Can not say enough good things about Rebecca and her wisdom. LOVED THIS CLASS!!!!!”
Ashleigh Sayer-Frederick

To read more testimonials from past students go HERE.


A DSLR and a firm understanding of shooting in manual mode.

This class may be right for you if you have documented/attended less than 5 births This class may not be right for you if you are already actively shooting/attending births on a regular basis. Message me HERE with any questions or concerns before enrolling.


Active Seat w. follow up* $250 | Active Seat $200

*active seat with follow up allows for you to film a birth within 6 months after class is over and receive feedback directly from me.

To learn more about the different types of seats offered, go to our FAQ section.

Dates of Next Class:



Please message me with any questions HERE.