“I like the idea of having birth photography but I just don’t know if I want it.”
You’re not alone.
Birth is a whirlwind: a wonderfully intense experience. Many families often find that after giving birth, they only have a few concrete memories of what actually happened. Birth photography allows you to see and remember all the moments, big and small of your baby’s birth day. The supportive embrace of your partner, the beauty in the struggle of trying to push. And, of course those first miraculous moments filled with sweat, blood and tears when you finally lay eyes on your brand new babe.
Many clients become emotional when they view their birth story images or film for the first time. There is something so surreal about reliving your birth experience. Like a wedding, a birth is a day you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Having professional birth photography can help give those memories more shape and power. By giving your story a visual narrative, you can more easily create meaning of your experiences and share them with others.
Craved and conquered by: Rebecca Edmonson
Below I’m going to walk you through a few scenarios to help you determine if birth photography is right for you. I want to help you narrow it down because when you go into labor, the last thing you need is to still be second guessing your choices.
Cons of hiring a professional birth photographer:
It costs more than a wedding photographer. They are not inexpensive. At least not the experienced professionals who are equipped and prepared to handle dark, quiet and crowded birth spaces. You want to make sure you are hiring someone who understands the sacredness of your birth space, has wisdom and the temperament to be in such a demanding situation and won’t ever overstep your or your birth team’s boundaries. Professional gear is pushed to the limits, birth energy isn’t for the faint of heart and you need positive support while in labor, someone who will only encourage you and not make you feel unsettled.
It is tempting to find a family friend who has a “nice camera” but these are moments you won’t get a second chance with. You will want someone who knows their camera like the back of their hand in any given situation. Think about the quality of photographs you will want to pass down to your children and grandchildren.
If this is your first time giving birth or you can’t find the right headspace, The money might be best spent elsewhere like a professional doula. Your birth experience needs to be something you want to remember. A professional doula will always help you prepare for that. I even offer discounts to clients who hire one, I LOVE LOVE attending births with a doula present!
DFW doula on duty by: Rebecca Edmonson
While a great professional birth photographer (PBP) will do everything in their power to get to know you and give you as much privacy as you need, they will still be another person in the room.
If you are hoping for a modest birth (whatever that looks like for you), then there are some things to consider like –you might be seen.
PBPs won’t stay in the room staring at you but they will be in and out trying to document as many moments as it takes to put together a beautiful story for you. It also doesn’t always have to include personally intimate images. Some PBPs just don’t photograph that way, they opt to stand behind you so they can’t be seen or see anything intimate. I discuss this thoroughly in my client meetings. I want to help prepare them and set their mind at ease.
Also, think about where you are giving birth. Go on a tour of your birth center or hospital to get a feel of the room. Will there be enough space for everyone you want there? Your mom, sister, aunt? How does your partner feel about having someone else there? Remember, it’s their baby’s birth day too. We strive to be a fly on the wall and rarely moms remember seeing us but their partners always do.
New life in color by: Rebecca Edmonson
You might have had previous pregnancies that didn’t go as planned. My heart mourns with yours. While it isn’t common, it can happen. It’s possible to go through Post Traumatic Stress from these experience. If this has happened to you, then going into this new delivery could be frightening.
I just want to take a moment and tell you, you are not alone. You don’t have to be alone. Talk to an experienced, compassionate doula and surround yourself with people who support you.
Birth photography in this journey can give light to miracles, but if you’re battling fear, make sure your first priority is to get the right people where you need them. – Build your care team first. If another person (PBP) in the room adds stress or interrupts your focus then maybe its best to surrender to your needs and do whats best for you.
Read Sara’s miraculous birth story after loss and infertility Documented by Rebecca Edmonson
-Relating or conflict of interest
I hope you remember your birth the way you experienced it. It turned you into a mother! PBPs will all have their own style of story telling. If you haven’t seen examples of their work before, then you might not be getting what you were expecting.
It is important that you interview around and make sure it’s someone that not only gets along with your whole family, but someone who meshes well with your style and vibe and won’t add their “two cents” to YOUR story.
Joy Surrounds by: Rebecca Edmonson
Now the Pros!
Pros of hiring a professional birth photographer:
-Everyone will be in the story!
Yes, your partner could have the privilege of snapping a few photos but remember, they won’t be in them.
With birth photography, it isn’t necessarily just about baby being born, its about the birth of a mother and father and all the moments leading up to it. A good story sets the tone, mood and gives a sense of meaning. The nuances of the room, subtleties of affection and the supporting family are apart of it. You look at a good birth photograph and what draws you in and admire it? You like the way it makes you feel? The tender connections that are being had, and raw emotions filling up & taking space? If you remove your partner from that to take a quick pic, you are disconnecting them from a profound experience that they will never get back.
Fervor in a father by: Rebecca Edmonson
If you have done your research and hired a qualified professional then you can rest assured that your whole birth story will be someone’s first priority! It will all be captured and not lost in the busyness of birth, or distracting your partner, or birth worker. Birth is unpredictable and your doulas/midwife/obs’ first obligation is to assist you in birthing your baby. Your partner might be unaware of the time and be caught up in the moment of giving birth, and YOU sure won’t be available to snap any mid-birth selfies. With a professional birth photographer, you will be receiving competent and compassionate care. We go ON-CALL! Just like any other birth worker! We dedicated weeks out of our month to your story and live in a way that lets us leave at a moments notice to arrive at your place of birth.
Sustenance by: Rebecca Edmonson
I am SO thankful for iPhones, they really have made leaps and bounds in picture taking ability but that ability is still very, very limited.
PBPs are equipped with the right tools and expertise to deliver a stunning gallery. Like I mentioned above, your room will likely be dark but PBPs will use that to their advantage and help you relive emotional experiences with mood and lighting. This can only happen with the right gear, not all cameras are created equal or handle low lit birth rooms well. SO remember your friend with a nice camera? That won’t mean much when they are struggling to get their camera in focus. Professional Birth photographers spend ample amounts of time and money to achieve what they do. We come specialized and highly trained. In my not so humble opinion, birth photography is one of the hardest genres of photography. (With the exceptions of course.) We also know which angles are more impactful than others, we know where to stand, what to capture and how to best tell a birth story.
You are definitely worth having high-quality imagery to look back on and hold onto.
A swell at night by: Rebecca Edmonson
The day you became a mom, you will think of it often but won’t remember everything. A lot of times moms write down their birth story, just so they can remember details that had them brimming with raw emotions. Birth photography though is something that has been captured to help you visualize your journey. As much as I would have liked to remember everything from my first born’s birth, I don’t. It is a blur but was one of the most exciting times in my life! (My “photographer friend” didn’t show up.) I look back at all of my son’s newborn pictures and love them dearly but nothing compares to those moments I have of him when he was JUST born. Newborns change SO much within their first few hours of life.
Super fast squishy baby face by: Rebecca Edmonson
And so it begins,
These are just a few reasons I have personally pondered on myself, three times! My hope is that this inspires you to take care of your needs first and ask the right questions.
As always, … be prepared and be prepared for anything. As life ebbs and flows, so will your birth and birth choices. If that means not hiring a birth photographer because that is what is best for you, then I am happy for you that you were able to make that choice. If you now have your heart set on hiring a birth photographer and this has just helped you confirm it, then I would love to hear the feedback! Also, I would love to be considered 😉
I believe in the power of birth photography and the way it can help heal, shape, and celebrate our birth experiences.
All the love,
Rebecca Edmonson is an award winning and published birth photographer living in Fort Worth, Texas. She specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. You can view her work here: www.LifeDiagramsPhotography.com
Fort Worth Birth photographer