Vanessa: Hi! My name is Vanessa Mendez. I am a 26 year old wife and mother of two. I have been married to my husband, Matty, for over four years. We have one daughter named Ava, who is 6 and a son named Ezra, who is 2. When I am not behind the lens, I am a mortgage loan officer for a pretty decently large company. In my free time I love park picnics and seeing movies with my husband or our little family.
TBC: What was the driving force behind your starting your business?
Vanessa: The driving force behind starting my business was the births of my children and normalizing birth and the beauty that surrounds birth. People (even Facebook + Instagram) are scared of birth and block communities from being able to see and respect the true beauty of it. Normalizing birth by showing the world beautiful images of it can help normalize it.
TBC: What is the best piece of business advice that you’ve ever received?
Vanessa: DON’T GIVE UP. Cliche right? Oh well, that's my biggest piece of advice. Birth communities in some areas are scarce and tight and it may take you months to book a birth, but that doesn't mean you’re horrible. Market, connect, socialize, try to bring birth to light by working with your birth community. Whatever you do - DON’T GIVE UP.
TBC: What would you like to tell a first time mom who is considering hiring a birth photographer?
Vanessa: I would inform the mom of the benefits of hiring a professional birth photographer and how it captures the raw moments of the labor, birth and postpartum moments without having to miss dad or grandma being in the pictures. These memories aren’t just for her, but for the little one(s) she is bringing into the world. They can look back at this story of love and cherish every little detail.
TBC: What is one of your favorite stories from photographing a birth?
Vanessa: Woah. This is a tough question. Every single birth is memorable in every way and being able to replay them in my head moves me to tears. If I had to pick one single moment, that made me break down in some intense tears would be during my first actual home birth. It was the birth of Evelyn, by one of my dear friends Nathalie. It was an awesome natural VBAC water birth that she rocked. She had a birth time like I’ve never seen. Her husband, mom, doula, two midwives and her father on the side. Everyone was there by her side, supporting her in the most amazing ways and helping her surrender her body to birth and it was amazing. When Evelyn was born, her midwife stood up, placed her hands on her hips and said, “It takes a village.” That simple phrase made me break down in happy tears and is a moment I’ll never forget.
TBC: What is one of your favorite memories from shooting a birth?
Vanessa: I cannot pinpoint just one memory, SORRY!! Haha. My favorite memories are the looks on moms face after she birthed her baby. That look...its real, raw, honest, emotional, moving...It is everything.
TBC: I your about page with how you got into birth photography.(I’m also a big fan of “The Business of Being Born”). What other movies, stories, entrepreneurs, people influenced your passion?
Vanessa: I have two major initial influences into joining photography and birth photography. I have a beautiful and talented friend named Rachel Rowland who really helped me with finding my passion and learning the mechanics behind photography and editing. Without her help, who knows where I would be. My second influence is Kayla, with An Infinite Moment Photography in Austin, TX. She lives an hour away from me and was the first birth photographer I knew about and I have always been in love with everything she produces. We met in a mom group, became friends for about a year and a half before me starting birth photography. She has been a wealth of knowledge and has helped me flourish and really find myself in this industry. After I got into the birth community I started joining birth groups and learning of other birth photographers around the world and have been in awe of all of the work everyone produces. They all inspire me.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
NEW ZEALAND. Hands down. My husband and I will visit there.
What is your favorite dish?
Spaghetti. It just so happens that it's not only my favorite dish because it's so delicious but I make it every time I go to a birth at night because I want my favorite meal to come back to!
Which babe in history would you want to have lunch with, and why?
Ina May. She is such a birth-spiration and has really done a lot for the birth community. Just to listen to her talk about birth in crowded room would be a dream.
Do you have any weird talents?
Sadly no. I am really good at math if that counts.
Are you an early bird or night owl?
Both, but not my choice. My husband is a night owl (he is a tattoo artist) so he stays up late and I love to stay up late with him for a little bit of quiet time with just him. I have to be an early bird to get to my regular job and get our daughter to school. I happen to wake up hella early on the weekends thanks to my internal clock.
What was the last book you read?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child...even though it is technically a play. Give me anything Harry Potter, Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings and I will read it.
What is your favorite social media platform?
Facebook because I can connect with other family and friends.
What is your go-to drink?
Big Red and water...but if I haven’t had a soda in a few days big red. I also like Dos XX but I don’t think that counts.
What can’t you leave home without?
My phone. Being on call and all … I need it.
Best thing about where you live?
There is no ‘real’ winter. I cannot stand being cold.
Are you a dog or cat person?
What is your guilty pleasure?
Binge watching TV shows. Right now I am re-watching all ten seasons of Smallville.
What is your favorite quote?
“Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you can be more successful.”
What is your favorite movie?
Across the Universe
What is the #1 song you can’t stop listening to right now?
That blue country one...I have no idea the name of it but I sing it at the top of my lungs.