"More then a photographer. I am
a passionate and
compassionate birth worker.
I will hold your hand, honor your
space, dry your tears, connect
with your loved ones, and capture
memories that sing to your soul."
Trained in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
My name is Leann Allen, aka Mrs. Sprinkles. I have been holding a camera for as long as I can remember, and before that I was holding a pencil. I was the official documenter at family gatherings, whether I was snapping awkward photos of people while they ate potluck, or drawing their portraits. I have always been an artist, dabbling in every media imaginable. I even spent some time entering into 4H contests, and have a few published coloring books and poems. But it wasn't until I got into professional photography that I really found my passion. A few years of stumbling through classes and youtube videos, I got the hang of it. But I kept getting burnt out. I would go through huge seasons of inspiration, and then feel just bleh at the end of each one. Until I discovered my love affair with birth.
When I first heard about birth photography, I was amazed, but I never thought it would actually be something I could do. I wish I could go back and tell myself "Hey! You made it! This is it!" because if I knew then what I know now, I would have jumped into this pool with a splash. How it really started, was more of a gradual toe dipping. A birth here or there while I kept up my other photography. Regardless, I am so proud of this journey and how far I have come.
Birth photography means so much to me. It has filled up my soul like nothing else I have ever experienced. To be able to witness and capture the very first breaths of life, and the making of a mother, is ethereal to me. This is my calling. This is part of what I was made for, and it is absolutely what God has called me to do in this season of my life.
My home, life, and business are
rooted in North Carolina. I was born in Colorado, where me and my younger brother and sister spent our summers exploring, fishing, and going on wild adventures of imagination together. We moved to North Dakota when I was in my early teens, spent a year in Florida, and then moved back to North Dakota.
The second time was the charm because that is when I met the love of my life, my husband Justin. We met in a youth group, became best friends, and spent years together. We ended up running a non-profit radio station together that outreached to the youth in our community. We had so many good memories there, and got so close to God and one another during that time. We had a beautiful winter wedding, did some world travel, and a year later when we found out we were expecting- we high tailed it out of there! I did NOT want to raise a new baby in -40 degree winters. We miss our friends terribly, but it was definitely the right step for us.
We moved to NC, where we had our son Despin Tristen Keith Allen, who is now a hilarious 3 year old who keeps us on our toes. He is gentle, kind, and the light of my life. He's just as free spirited as his mama.
Our move to NC also marked the start of my slow dive into birth photography, natural living, and embracing my hippy dippy ways. I love this state, and I see us spending the rest of out lives in these
gorgeous green summers.
The birth of our son, changed my life. So much that now there is a before, and and after. I believe that every birth is transformative, but the birth of my son changed the core of who I was. It was the hardest time in my life. I had an unsupported traumatic birth with too many interventions and unkind hospital staff. I was uneducated, and mistreated. I was not honored. I was not cherished. I was emotionally ripped, broken. I suffered from PPD, PPA, and PTSD for almost two years after the birth. Every person experiences everything differently, and it was not nearly as bad as it could have been. But for me it was traumatic, I was unprepared for it all, and honestly the photos and my journals- are the only reason I remember the good moments at all.
Funny enough, the ripping of my heart from my body, was what created me as I am today. I would never chose that experience for myself or wish it on my worst enemy. But I do not think I would change it now looking back, because it changed me. At first, it changed me for the worst, but then as I healed- for the better. I became a person who could not hide or hold things in, when before I had been closed and deep within myself, soft spoken. I became open, because there were no more walls- they had been torn down by my experience, and would never be put up again.
Now I can love, share, and connect more openly and authentically then I ever could before. Now I know the value of support for a women, especially a birthing women. I am grateful for my birth story, because it set me on this path. A path to deeply supporting mothers, and finding the beauty in moments of trial. It pushed me to pursue my first birth I would photograph.
And oh, how birth photography changed my life! After I recovered emotionally, I started taking on a birth here and there. And it did not take long to realize I'd found something special. Oh the things I have seen, the moments I have held space for, the memories... Seeing birth, outside of the dingy hospital I birthed in, seeing the options, the different circumstances, the way mothers COULD be treated. Seeing how it could be different, how beautiful it could be; Seeing doulas and nurses help mothers through incredibly hard moments. And then, as I grew more comfortable in the birth space, helping those mothers through those moments myself! I hold my breath thinking of it. Seeing women empowered, birthing on their terms, is the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed. Even the births that didn't go according to plan, where there was great kindness and support, there was less trauma and pain. I still have flashbacks of the hardest moments of my birth story, when I see a mama not being treated the way she deserves, or seeing someone being fear-mongered into a corner. But those moments light my fire and passion for fighting to empower women, and to bring light and hope to the world of birth rights.
Becoming a birth photographer was the most incredible journey, that has brought me personally so much healing and light and life. And I pray with all my heart, that I can give back to these amazing mothers everywhere, a piece of that light and healing and joy that they have given me by inviting me into their birth spaces.
I LOVE what I do. I love stopping to pray over a women who feels like she can't do it. I love helping a pregnant mama overcome a fear through education and support. I love seeing the look on their face, when they get to the "I did it" moment. I love, more then anything, delivering the photos, and hearing how much they meant to the family.
My presence in a birth, is calm, quiet, healing, and so open. I hold space for mamas to need and be whatever they need to be. I can empatheticly read a room, and instantly know what they are feeling- the whole team. And more, I know how to adapt and be exactly who they need me to be in each birth. Sometimes I am quiet, a fly on the wall, and other times I engage and listen to their stories, or encourage them and pray over them earnestly. I have even attended a couple births where not a single photo was taken because of huge plan changes and obstacles, but I stood by their side through it all, and walked away still feeling like I gave them something by just being there.
Someday, when my kids are older, I am going to pursue being a doula. But for now, begin a birth photographer and offering as much mental and emotional support I can in the moment, is my job. It's so much more then a job to me.
For 2018 and 2019 I self built a ministry with my calling, and for those two years, I offered all of my birth photography completely free of charge. It started out as a calling, and became a conviction in my heart. I gained confidence, skill, and priceless lessons in not only photography but in birth and all that comes with it. I was able to outreach and give this gift to mamas in need, and I cried with them over the weight of what these pictures did for them.
I also learned a lot about valuing myself, my work, and how to run a business.
Feminism is a beautiful thing, but it has for a long time left out birthing women and women who embrace their soft and maternal side. Often people are so focused on trying to prove that women can do everything a man can, that they forget to honor the differences between men and women- or between feminine and masculine (everyone has a little of both in them) For a long time women's work, or whats considered feminine work, has been undervalued. Birth is a huge part of this, and why women's birthing rights are so broken right now.
Part of fighting for those rights and that change, and believing in the empowerment of women, starts with valuing myself and my work.
I am so thrilled to be taking this incredible gift and skill, and using it to be an empowered women myself, supporting my family and making a sustainable income. Giving back is still so important to me, and when I reach a point of success in building this business, I will be running outreach at least once or twice a year to give this gift again to those in need. I must start by building up my own life to a point where I can afford to give back again. Who knows, maybe in a few years I will be able to give a whole year free again. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I will be thriving, and giving a gift more precious then anything free, the gift of quality service, attentive care, and true passion behind my profession.
Thank you so much for supporting me, for letting me tell your birth story, and for taking the time to get to know me a bit here. I look forward to sharing space with you again soon.
Leann Allen is amazing! We had Leann do our birth photos. Not only did I get the sweetest pictures, I also gained a true friend. Birth is a very intimate thing and she honored that. Leann has a good intuition of knowing when you may need a word of encouragement and when you may need a little space during the birth process. My family is so grateful to her and the sweet gift of photos we will cherish forever. I hope Leann can be present for all my babies coming into the world.
-Mattie, birthed at Women's Hospital Greensboro
Leann photographed my son's birth this summer and I 100% suggest anyone thinking of hiring a birth photographer to just meet Leann once and you'll see why she is so highly rated. I'm a very private person in general and especially in labor and only wanted my fiancee and doula in the room to minimize noise and distractions. When I decided to look into birth photography I knew it would take a special person who could capture the moments and memories I wanted without stepping into my birth space. Leann blended into my birth team seamlessly, she was there but she wasn't. I never once felt like I was being photographed or distracted by her quiet and unassuming presence in the room. When I saw the photos from my birth I was blown away by the raw emotions captured as well as her talent for photography. If you hire Leann to do your birth or any other event you will not be disappointed!
-Serena, birthed in Statesville
Leann is absolutely amazing! Not only was she my photographer but an amazing support person and friend during my labor and after! Her presence put my mind at ease. Her heart truly goes into her work and It’s so evident in her passion and love for labor and birth! I am looking forward to working with her again for nursing and post partum photos! I will never forget my birth experience and Leann’s kind and encouraging words! ❤️❤️ She will always hold a special place in my heart!
-Tiffany, birthed at Forsyth Medical Center Winston Salem
I highly reccomend her as your photographer. She is very unbelievably easy to work with, both in staying in contact during labor, the day of your birth, and when she delivered the images. She is super responsive over text and facebook and provided our photos way ahead of schedule. She even sent some gorgeous sneak peek prints the day after with a birth announcement. In person, she is really kind and friendly and we were comfortable around her, we couldn't even tell she was in the room. End-to-end, we couldn’t have had a better experience with her or our photos. I couldn’t recommend her more!” you can truly see how much she loves what she does through her photos!
-Mindy, Birthed at Women's Hospital Greensboro
She is the best photographer! She was so easy to get along with and fit right in with my family. I highly recommend her. I mentioned a few things I wanted her to focus on and she was very accommodating. Her work is amazing and I am beyond thrilled with her. If you are looking for a photographer you have came to the right place. She also made our birth announcement and had it ready very quick.
-Ashley, birthed at Women's Hospital Greensboro
Leann was my labor and birth photographer as well as my Newborn photographer. She was so kind and captured the experience marvelously. She felt like a doula, helping me through tough moments of labor. She was kind and patient. I would use her again for any of my photography needs.
-Crystal, home birth
Such a wonderful photographer & person. I was amazed at how beautiful our birth photos are! God has given her a special gift, to capture perfect images for families. Would definitely use her again!
-Janie, birthed at Women's Hospital Greensboro
Leann is amazing, she was kind, patient & very caring. She took gorgeous pictures, exactly what I wanted! I will be using her for my future photography needs!
-Patricia, birthed at Women's Hospital Greensboro
Leann did an amazing job and showed a lot of care. The hospital was not very accommodating but she still caught some beautiful moments and was great company when my husband had to leave.
-Heather, birthed at High Point Regional