Do I need a birth photographer?

If you’ve never heard of a birth photographer before (BP for short), that’s okay! We are part of a growing industry that is becoming increasingly popular the more people hear about it. Not a lot of people have a strong desire or passion for this specific niche market, but you can bet that our enthusiasm for capturing unforgettable photos of new life truly fuels our souls. So when you think of hiring a birth photographer, what comes to your mind? Here are some examples as to why people would choose not to go with a BP, and then we’re going to explore each response.

  • “It’s okay, I’ll just have my doula take pictures.”
  • “My partner or my Mom will just take pictures on their phone.”
  • “I can’t make that investment right now.”
  • “Ew, I don’t want a stranger taking pictures of my private area.”
  • “I don’t want my picture taken when I’m all sweaty and gross.”

“It’s okay, I’ll just have my doula take pictures.”
If you’ve hired a doula, CONGRATULATIONS! Having a doula as part of your birth team is a tremendous asset, and you have already set yourself up for success. Did you know that according to the American Pregnancy Association, hiring a doula decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labour by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40%, and requests for an epidural by 60%?? If you haven’t already thought about it, please consider hiring a doula to support you on your way to a better birth experience. Anyway, as far as having your doula take pictures, sure, they will certainly be able to take a few pictures using your cell phone. However, a doula is trained to assist with the physically supportive role during labour, so if they are doing something for you that increases your comfort level, or is focused with you during that tough contraction, they are not going to be able to step away to take a picture (and you will not want them to, either). Keep your doula in the moment with you, and let your birth photographer capture the moments you don’t even realize are happening.

“My partner or my Mom will just take pictures on their phone.”
Admittedly, the capabilities of cell phone cameras these days are quite astounding. They are programmed with the latest technologies to capture good quality images, videos, and can operate in creative modes. However, a BP has had a lot of experience behind the lens of their camera – a real camera. A DSLR, a mirrorless, or a bridge camera that is capable of operating in low light conditions with a variety of shooting settings. As far as your partner or your Mom taking photos for you, yes, they are a present body in the room that is capable of taking a few snap shots. Again, however, a birth photographer has a strong understanding of the stages of labour, they know what to look out for, and they have an idea of what kinds of shots they want to be getting for you as their client. Leave your supportive team where they need to be, and let your photographer capture those precious moments.

“I can’t make that investment right now.”
Birth photography may seem expensive, but let me break down the fee a little bit so you might understand why their fee is the way that it is. A birth photographer is on call for you 24/7 usually around the 38 week mark of your pregnancy. That means, if it’s 3am and labour is in full swing, you can CALL your BP and they will come to your side. Being on call means that a BP has childcare on stand by, and back up to that childcare; being on call means having their phone volume cranked at all times; being on call means having a bag of supplies, including camera equipment, packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice; being on call means no vacation, no trips away, and even missing out on holidays just so they can be there for you when you need them. Their fee includes the CODB (or cost of doing business), and the hourly rate that the BP needs to pay the bills. If you really really want a birth photographer but don’t feel that you can afford the fee, TALK to them and see if an arrangement or payment plan can be made. Typically when you sign the contract, you are required to pay 50% of the total cost as a down payment – this is done in order to hold your spot for your due date. A BP only takes a certain number of birth clients per month, so they may need to turn other clients away for this spot. Be honest with what you can afford, but respect a BP for maintaining their fee – many factors have been carefully considered when creating it.

“Ew, I don’t want a stranger taking pictures of my private area.”
Ideally, you would not consider us to be a complete stranger at the time of your birth, since we would have met during a complimentary consult when we discussed all of your wishes and hopes for the photo session. If you have any concerns about having pictures of your vagina taken, your BP will be completely respectful of your wishes. In fact, many amazing birth stories can be told without any photos of the baby crowning whatsoever. Let your BP know of your concerns, and trust your BP as an artist to tell your baby’s birth story – you only have one opportunity to capture these moments, and you will not regret it.

“I don’t want my picture taken when I’m all sweaty and gross.”
Labour is hard work… that is why it is called labour! You will get sweaty, you will feel gross, but TRUST me when I tell you that when you see a photo of your expression meeting your baby for the first time, the last thing you will think of to look for in that photo is how sweaty you were. A lot of birth photos will come back to you in black and white, so your flushed face or the beads of sweat on your brow won’t be as noticeable, if this is a concern for you. Your BP will be capturing all of your hard work throughout labour, and then will capture the end result of all that work – your baby in your arms. You will not look back on these photos with criticism of how you looked, but they will act as a reminder of how you felt.

To book your complimentary consult, head over to the Contact page and fill out a simple form. Let’s get your spot booked today!

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