When you have a baby on the way, and you are thinking of ways to capture the magical moments of its arrival, you have many options. Whether it is having a family member filming the delivery, or your partner taking photos, this special experience deserves to be documented. One option people love more and more every day is professional birth photography.
What is birth photography?
Well, if you are thinking of ways to document the arrival of your newborn outside of the typical newborn or fresh 48 session, birth photography is an option. This type of photography documents the labor and delivery process of your child’s birth. It focuses on capturing the connection and in between moments leading up to (and immediately after) the birth of your baby. The best thing about birth photography is it allows your partner to be fully present during every moment of your child’s birth– instead of them being split between watching, supporting, and documenting. This allows both of you to fully experience and enjoy your little one’s arrival.
No matter where you deliver, be it a hospital, a birthing center or if you have a C-section or vaginal birth, birth photography captures your unique experience and choices.
How much does birth photography cost?
After deciding that you are interested in birth photography, I’m sure your next question is “what is the investment?”. Prices can vary between different photographers and is usually dependent on experience, certifications and training, and more.
On average, birth photography can have a cost similar to that of wedding photography. If you are shocked by this, consider the entire birth process. Birth photographers are often on call from 37 weeks until you deliver your sweet baby and, since birth is unpredictable, they can be called at any hour, day or night. Not to mention, there is no way to know how long the process will take (I personally have been at births for over 24 hours!). This doesn’t even consider or include culling, editing, and ordering time, as well as the artistic perspective of your photographer. It’s a commitment, but any birth worker will tell you, it’s completely worth it!
What is a doulatog?
Before we get into what a doulatog is, let’s first talk about what a doula is. A doula provides guidance, resources, and support to birthing people throughout their pregnancy, labor, and delivery period. There are also postpartum doulas that support families during the postpartum period. This is why many photographers (including myself) become certified doulas as it allows us to better support our clients throughout the labor and birth process. So, when expecting parents wish to have both a photographer and a doula, they sometimes go for a doulatog.
A doulatog is a professional birth photographer who is also a certified doula for the laboring person. This is a great option if parents decide they want to limit the amount of people in their birth space, but want both labor support and photography. Hiring a doulatog is the best way to keep things intimate and get the best of two worlds.
What should I keep in mind when hiring a birth photographer?
As you begin your search for a birth photographer, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Recommendations can help you get an idea of the kind of experience you will receive when working with a birth photographer. Family and friends are a great place to start looking, but if you don’t know anyone Facebook groups and local forums are a great place to start. Tip: Be sure to list your budget when asking as that can help narrow down your options.
A portfolio is incredibly important since it will give you a good idea of the quality of images you will receive from your birth session. Is their portfolio consistent? Have they won awards for their images (this will give you a good idea of skill level). Most photographers only display their best work on their website, so be sure to ask to see a complete gallery. This is give you a better idea of what a typical session/gallery might look like.
- Certifications and Memberships
Ask about certifications or memberships they have. This will tell you what type of training and skill set they have. It also tells you they invest in continuing education and understand the impact of their presence in the birth space. For example, I am the only certified birth photographer in western NY, a certified doula as well as a member of the International Association of Birth Photographers, Professional Photographers of America, Documentary Family Photographers, This is Reportage Family, and more.
Probably the most important is to ensure you are comfortable with whoever you choose. Be sure to meet with several photographers to get a feel for their style and understand what experience they offer. You will also be able to discuss any questions or preferences you may have regarding your birth and photos. This can also help you get a better idea of fit.
So, what is birth photography? Simply put, it is the documentation of the raw beauty of bringing life into this world. If you are interested in learning about my birth photography offerings, schedule a coffee (or tea, or smoothie!) consultation – my treat!