COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY
DO YOU ACTUALLY PHOTOGRAPH THE BABY COMING OUT?
This is one of the more common questions I get asked. I think it’s because birth is incredibly intimate and most people associate birth with the moment of crowning. When I meet with an expecting family I love hearing about the parts of the story they’re looking forward to the most. Sometimes that includes crowning shots and sometimes it doesn’t. We’ll talk about the various moments and ultimately the couple decides if they want crowning shots to be a part of their story or not.
This leads me to the next question…
DO I HAVE A SAY IN SHARING MY IMAGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
I know there's curiosity out there about the images I post & use to promote my business and the answer is I have permission from the family--otherwise the photos don't get posted. Yes, you absolutely have the final say in what gets used on social media, including what's used in my portfolio and even my marketing materials. We'll talk about your preferences so I have a good understanding of how you envision seeing your story. What happens if you only want to share a few images or none at all? That's totally okay, too. Most families I work with approve around 80% of the final images they receive some more some much less.
WHY IS BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY SUCH AN INVESTMENT?
The answer to this question is complicated because there are so many factors involved. Value, time, lifestyle, running a sustainable business, equipment & professionalism are all variables that determine my prices.
Value: People are willing to save & invest in things they appreciate--especially when those things require expertise, quality & artistic perspective. This is true with photography and many other goods & services we spend our hard earned money on. No one wants blurry photos or images that could have been taken with a friends I-Phone. You are paying for beautifully edited images to treasure for a lifetime.
In birth, trust is an essential part of the deal with choosing your support team. You want a Midwife, OB & Doula whose birthing values align with your own. Choose your birth photographer just as carefully. Choosing the right people to support you creates a safe & peaceful birth environment and helps promote an empowered birth experience.
Time: This is one of the main reason birth photography is more expensive than other types of photo sessions. Documenting a birth story is far more demanding in terms of predictability & hours worked. The reality is that most birth photographers don’t charge a similar rate to wedding photography because if we did it would literally be several thousand dollars.
Not only does my schedule require extreme levels of flexibility, but the long hours are taxing and it can literally take a day or two to recover from the post-birth hangover. This level of flexibility & unpredictability is essential to be by your side through the ebb & flow of birth. Each photo is hand-edited according to my artistic style--one hour of shooting equals close to 2 hours of editing. As you can imagine the hours accumulate rather quickly.
Lifestyle: Birth work requires a very different type of lifestyle than most are used to. Birth is unpredictable, exhausting, requires dedication and putting life on hold for weeks surrounding baby’s estimated due date (EDD). I go on call for 5 weeks surrounding baby’s EDD which means I stay close to home and sacrifice family time even if you need me on holidays. This means I have sitters on call and backup plans made for my family if your baby decides to make his/her entrance into this world. I never plan vacations when I am on call and I am okay with that. It’s the nature of birth work and a sacrifice I happily make to do what I love--and my family is super supportive.
Running a sustainable business: My journey to pro photographer started years ago. For the past few years I’ve invested time & money to learning a craft that ultimately led me to birth stories.I not only photograph births but other moments in life so my pricing reflects that. I want every one to be able to afford capturing a birth but I also have to sustain my business. My pricing supports a modest, yet livable wage that allows me to create a quality over quantity experience, pay my taxes & other costs associated with running a sustainable business.
Equipment: High quality equipment is needed to shoot births. there are many unpredictable situations and less than perfect lighting. You cannot re-do a birth. Your equipment needs to be able to handle these situations. High quality equipment is expensive. I use a Nikon D850 because of its amazing ability in low light and lightning fast speed. I also use a few different lenses 35mm and 50mm. I also bring with me a backup camera, lenses, batteries, and memory cards because we never know if technology will fail. Equipment doesn’t last forever. Equipment needs to be replaced and requires maintenance. With birth you need a solid backup camera, memory cards, batteries, etc. in case technology fails--which is inevitable. I am invested and provide the best I can for my clients.
Professionalism: Every great birth photographer started out as a beginner and it’s great to see the genre gain popularity locally and all over the world. At the same time birth can be scary, emergent & tricky to navigate. The last thing you need to worry about during labor & delivery is if your photographer has it together. An experienced birth photographer understands the sanctity of your birth space and intuitively responds as the light & energy shift. We know how to interact and navigate with your chosen birth professionals and can adapt quickly to any situation.
YEAH, BUT WHY BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY?
It’s not uncommon for a laboring person not to remember details from birth or for there to be gaps in memory. Birth is intense, overwhelming and life with a newborn poses its own challenges. Factor in sleep deprivation and it seems almost impossible to retain through the years.
If you find yourself questioning the value of the investment I encourage you to think about how important is it for you & your partner to vividly remember the details of your story. How do you want your children to experience the story of their birth? Do you want to vividly remember the details? Now imagine you’re 60, how do you want to relive the experience? Preserving your birth story gives you & your partner the ability to experience birth from an outside perspective. Witness the deep moments of connection, the love & support of your birth team, brothers & sisters meeting for the first time, first snuggles and all of baby’s precious tiny details. As a laboring person it's profoundly life-changing to see yourself give birth. The strength & determination (physically & mentally) it takes to bring new life earth-side is unlike any other experience in life. You are beautiful, powerful, strong, capable and your story is worthy of preserving.
If you'd like to ask a question or book your birth story please please get in touch. Don't hesitate too long though because I only book one, maybe two births per month.