Frequently Asked Questions About Birth Photography

What is a birth photographer?

Birth photography is a relatively new trend and many people don’t even realize that it exists. Birth photographers are professional photographers who are hired to be a part of your birth team. As your birth photographer, I attend your birth from active labor through up to 2 hours after your baby arrives. Birth photographers are trained and educated in the labor and birth process and know how to be respectful of your birth space and how to stay out of the way of your care provider and medical professionals.

Why should I hire a birth photographer?

Birth is such an important event in your journey to motherhood. But it can often feel like a whirlwind. While the process may not happen quickly, it often seems like a blur as you look back at it later. Having a birth photographer allows you to document so many of the little moments throughout your labor and in those first few hours with your new baby to have and remember forever. Birth photography can also be helpful for you as you process your birth story later, especially if you have a particularly difficult or traumatic birth.

When should I book my birth session?

As soon as possible! Most parents contact me around 12 weeks. I book a limited number of sessions each month to ensure that I am able to make it to each birth, so the sooner you contact me, the more likely it is that I have availability for you due month. That being said, I typically am not fully booked for every month, so don’t be afraid to ask, even if it’s getting close to your due date!

what types of births do you photograph?

I photograph all types of births! I am happy to attend your birth, wherever it might take place, whether it be at a hospital, in your home, or at a birth center.

Do you photograph the entire labor and delivery?

As long as that’s what you want, then yes! I typically arrive when you enter ‘active labor’ (we can talk about what this means in our consultation), but I will never photograph anything that you are not comfortable with. We will discuss in depth your desires for your birth session and if there are certain parts of the birth process that you don’t want photographed, I will absolutely honor those wishes. I do also offer a ‘Golden Hour Session’, which is sort of in between a birth session and a fresh 48 session. For a Golden Hour Session, you would keep me informed of your labor progress, but I wouldn’t come to the hospital until the baby has actually been born. This allows you to still capture those very first moments together, the first latch, weights and measurements, etc. Golden Hour sessions are ideal for people who are on a tight budget or who aren’t interested in labor photos.

will it feel intrusive to have a photographer in the room during such an intimate event?

Everyone is different, and birth photography certainly isn’t for everyone, but I have yet to find someone who has hired a professional birth photographer and regretted it. Every birth photographer operates in their own way. Some birth photographers consider themselves simply there to document your birth as it unfolds and do their best to be a fly on the wall, completely uninvolved and unnoticed as possible. Some birth photographers are also doulas, and they support you (and your partner, if you have one, throughout your labor process. I am not a doula and I do not offer doula services (although I am currently going through a certification process) but I tend to operate somewhere in the middle. I want to be a supportive member of your birth team, and sometimes that means staying out of the way. At these births, moms often don’t even remember noticing me being there. At other births, I may be more involved, offering encouraging words or assisting you in whatever way makes you feel most supported. We can discuss your desires for my level of involvement at our consult. That being said, I am certainly not a replacement for hiring a doula, and I highly encourage all of my clients to hire a doula in addition to hiring me.

why are you so expensive? There are other photographers who are willing to photograph my birth for a lot less!

You may find photographers who are willing to photograph a birth for a fraction of what I charge. Sometimes birth photographers who are newer charge less than what they are worth in an attempt to acquire more clients and build their portfolio more quickly. Other times, photographers working in a different genre may offer to photograph your birth for less, not knowing what birth photography really entails. I am an experienced, professional birth photographer and I charge accordingly. Birth photography is my full-time job and my birth clients are my number one priority outside of my family. I have to have the equipment and knowledge to be able to work in what is often a very low light environment. I have to be willing and able to drop everything at a moments notice to be at your birth no matter the day or time, whether it’s in the middle of the night, on my son’s birthday, or during my daughter’s dance recital. I have a network of other photographers that I can utilize as a back up in the case of an emergency situation or two clients going into labor at the same time, so that no matter what, your birth will be photographed. I’ll be there whether you’re in active labor for 3 hours or 30 hours. I have done numerous trainings on specific to birth and birth photography to make sure I can be a valuable member of your birth team. Hiring a birth photographer is an investment, but it’s an investment worth making. Still not convinced? Read this article by another birth photographer who breaks it down much better than I can.

 Photo by Christi Stafford Photography {www.christistaffordphoto.com}

Will you post my pictures on the internet?

Only if you want me too! As part of your contract, you will sign a photo release detailing what types of images, if any, I am allowed to share on my website and/or social media. If you want your photos kept completely private, I will not share them with anyone but you.

how far do you travel for births?

I live in Lynchburg, VA and have traveled as far as Charlottesville, Roanoke, and Fishersville (about an 1 hour 15 minutes each) for births. I would be willing to go further, but there would likely be some sort of additional travel fee to compensate for the additional gas, time, hotel, etc. If you live outside of Lynchburg, please let me know when you inquire so that we can discuss this in more depth. It’s important to realize that the further I have to travel for your birth, the higher the chances are that I might miss it.

what should I wear during labor?

Whatever you want! If you want to try to plan to wear something that photographs well, that’s great, but if you want to just wear whatever makes you most comfortable, that’s fine too. Birth photography is a documentary style of photography; I’m there to capture YOUR story as it unfolds. If you’re still not sure, I wrote a blog post about it that you can read here.

What if I have a C-section?

I will still document as much of your birth story as possible. Sometimes, hospitals will allow me to accompany you into the OR and still document the entire birth process. If your provider doesn’t allow me into the OR, I would still document everything leading up to your being taken back, and then wait for you to get out of recovery and document a few hours of bonding time.

what if you have two clients in labor at the same time?

I haven’t had this happen yet, but it is always a possibility! If it does happen, there are several other local birth photographers who I have relationships with and would utilize one of them as a backup. In the event that one of my backups attends your birth, I will still edit your images and deliver them to you, so you will still receive the style of work that you were expecting when you booked me.

what if you miss my birth?

So far, this has never happened, but birth is unpredictable so it is bound to happen at some point! Communication during the early stages of your labor is very important and I make every effort to be there to document the labor and birth process. In the event that you have a precipitous labor and baby arrives before I am able to make it, this simply becomes a part of your birth story and I will still document as much of it as I can. In this case, I would likely stay longer after the birth so that you will still get the same number of images that you would have received if I had been there for labor.

what if i decide i don’t want you in the room?

You can totally kick me out at any time! I’m happy to leave during procedures like being checked or getting a catheter, etc. if you aren’t comfortable with me being there. I’m also happy to give you space if you feel like you need a break; just remember to call or send someone to get me when you’re ready for me to come back!

What if something bad happens with me and/or my baby?

 Photo by Christi Stafford Photography {www.christistaffordphoto.com}

We can discuss this more at our consultation, but typically I keep shooting until I am asked to stop (by either you or a care provider). Most parents appreciate having these events documented as it can be healing and helpful as you process your birth story, but if you aren’t comfortable with that, I will respect your decision.

Do you offer payment plans?

Absolutely! I understand that birth photography is a big investment and I would love to chat with you more about how we can make my prices work for your budget. I also offer registry pages, which you can share with your family and friends as part of your baby gift registry, and they can donate directly to your balance.

do you accept credit cards for payment?

Yes! My invoice system accepts debit or credit card payments. I can also take payments through PayPal if you would like to take advantage of the PayPal Credit no interest offer. Please let me know at our consult if you are interested in paying with PayPal Credit, as the invoicing process will have to be set up a little bit differently.

Do you accept barters for payment/partial payment for sessions?

I love bartering! If you have something that you would like to offer as a barter for a photography session, let’s chat! Some ideas of things I might be interested in: hair/makeup services, farm fresh eggs/meat/dairy products, graphic design/marketing services, interior design/organization services, handyman/painting/renovation/contractor services (my husband and I are currently renovating our 1891 Victorian and it’s taking foreverrrr!), vacation rentals, handmade furniture. Other ideas? I’m open to suggestions!

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