As professional birth photography is growing in popularity, so are the questions and misconceptions about birth sessions. I've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions.
Why should you hire a birth photographer?
The day your little one is born is one of the most significant and important days of your life. However, births can often be a whirlwind and memories can be foggy. I'm there to capture all these raw emotions and beautiful details as they unfold. Parents love to look back at these photos and are often moved to tears recalling such a special, emotion-filled day. You can read more about what I capture in my blog post, "So, You Think Birth Photography is Gross?"
Having a professional photographer also frees up your partner or support person to be fully present with you. Often, the photos of the mother and her support are some of the most special and emotional photos.
I'm a pretty modest person, how graphic are your photos?
I make every effort to capture your birth story in a tasteful manner. Unless requested otherwise, space allowing, I try to shoot from over mom's shoulder. There are times when shots will show some nudity, but these photos will be excluded from the slide show, blog posts, and public platforms.
We will also discuss in advance what sort of images you're comfortable with and what shots are off-limits to you. If there's an image I feel is questionable to share publicly, I will ask your permission first. As a rule, I will never share a photo of you that I wouldn't feel comfortable sharing of myself and we will specify which images are to be excluded in your contract.
What if my birth plan changes? What if I have a cesarean section?
Birth is unpredictable. In the event things change, I will continue shooting wherever I'm allowed and welcome. Some facilities and providers allow photography during a c-section birth and others don't. I highly recommend discussing this possibility with your provider. In the unlikely event that there is a medical issue with the baby, I will follow the lead of medical staff and parents and shoot until it is inappropriate or ill-advised to do so.
If I am not allowed in the operating room during a cesarean delivery, I will be waiting for you following delivery to photograph these special first moments with your little one. Access to the operating room is possible, and depends largely on YOU advocating for a vital part of your support team to be allowed in the OR.
You can see one of my c-section births here.
How distracting will you be? Will you interact with us? What kind of equipment will you bring?
This is where my training as a doula and experience with laboring women will come into play. I will speak to you as much or as little as you'd like, by following your lead. If you want to chat between contractions, I'd love to. If you'd rather me be a fly on the wall, that's okay too.
I bring minimal equipment to births. All you should notice is the quiet click of my shutter. In fact, in the throws of labor, most moms don't even notice that. I do bring a flash with me, but as I find flash rather intrusive and distracting during births, I will only use it in rare circumstances and with permission. I will make every effort to use available light.
How soon will you arrive? How long will you stay?
I aim to arrive when you're in active labor, ideally when you are unable to walk and talk through contractions. However, I prefer to err on the side of caution and be there earlier rather that later. During this stage, it's important that we communicate well (a quick text or call will do) so I can arrange childcare for my own children and travel to you.
Once you are in active labor, I will stay through your entire delivery as well as 1-2 hours after to document the important first moments with your little one like first feeding, weight and length measurements, etc. Many birth photographers may place a time limit on birth sessions, but I feel that birth is too unpredictable and that putting mom's body on a timetable can cause extra stress in a time when she should be focused on her body and baby.
When should I book? Will we meet beforehand?
I only accept a few birth sessions per month to assure the best customer service and availability, so it's very important that you book early. We will have a casual meeting beforehand to discuss your vision for the birth photos, go over contracts and details, and most importantly, get to know each other! This meeting can be at a park, coffee shop, or anywhere we can relax and chat.
What if you miss the birth?
I will make every effort to attend your birth. Births are my passion and I am SO excited to capture yours. I will be on-call for your birth starting at 38 weeks and ending either at 42 weeks or when you have the baby. If you go into labor outside of this window, by all means, contact me and I will do my best to make it. We will talk more about how we will handle payments in the unlikely event that I miss your birth during our in-person consultation. I also have a back-up photographer available in the event that I'm sick or have an extreme emergency which prevents me from attending.
It's likely that you'll have other questions that aren't covered here. We will go over many other details and questions at your in-person consultation, but please feel free to contact me in the meantime.