Frequently Asked Questions About Birth Photography

What is a birth photographer?

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

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 feels 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!

Do you photograph the entire labor and delivery?

If 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.

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.

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.

how far do you travel for births?

I live in Lynchburg, VA and have traveled as far as Charlottesville and Roanoke (about an 1 hour 15 minutes each) for births. I would be willing to go as far as 2 hours. 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 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 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 are 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 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?

We can discuss this more in-depth 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 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!

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 documentary in nature; 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.

Have a question about birth photography that I didn’t answer here? Fill out my contact form or send me an email at hello@christistaffordphoto.com!