Jul 19, 2012

What You Should Know When Considering Birth Photography

Birth Photography is quickly becoming a sought-after service for moms-to-be and their partners.  Parents that choose to hire a birth photographer do so because they want to have the birth of their child captured by someone who is not directly involved in the labour and delivery of the child.  The sole purpose of the photographer is to capture the images.  He or she doesn’t have to act as a midwife, doula, doctor or nurse and is able to perform his/her task without distraction.

Parents who choose to hire a birth photographer do not necessarily fit into any particular category.  Although many parents who hire photographers tend to have midwife-assisted births at home, many also choose to deliver at the hospital.  Parents who choose birth photography have the mindset that they want the birth documented, and that’s what motivates them to hire a photographer.   It is important that both parents-to-be are completely open to the idea of having the birth photographed, otherwise, it can cause tension during the labour and delivery time.  If the birth is occurring at a hospital, the parents must find out the photography policies of the hospital and/or doctor prior to hiring a professional birth photographer.  This will avoid any tension during the labour and delivery.

If you are considering hiring a photographer, start researching when you are around 20 weeks pregnant, and be sure to thoroughly research the photographers in your area.  Because birth photography is a intimate time in your lives, you want to make sure that the photographer you hire shares the same beliefs and values that you do, as well as make sure that they properly registered and insured as a business.  Prepare a list of questions to ask during your initial consultation meeting.

These questions should include:

– How many births have you photographed?
– How many years have you been in business?
– What is your backup plan should you become ill when I go into labour?
– Are you registered as a business, and do you have liability insurance?
– Are you a member of any professional organizations?
– Do you have daycare arrangements for your own children when it’s time to have my baby?
– What happens if you miss my birth?
– What happens if I end up having a c-section?
– How much do your services cost?
– What is your privacy policy regarding images being posted online?

I suggest interviewing at least two photographers before deciding which photographer to hire.  Make sure you review not only their birth portfolio, but their overall portfolio also.

Look for the following:

– Image quality – are the images in focus?  Do the colours look right?  Do the black and white images look good?
– Types of images – does the photographer’s portfolio appeal to you?
– Presentation of images – does the photographer present the images in a slideshow or in another way?

I also think it’s important for the photographer you are interviewing to know why they chose to photograph births.  For me, I chose to add birth photography to my services because I knew that deep in my heart, this is something I was meant to do.  I photographed my first birth in August 2011.  I cried along with the family when Aveline emerged out of the water of her mother’s birthing pool.  I photographed, in awe, as Dawn met her new daughter for the first time, and everyone screaming with excitement when Dawn’s eldest daughter, Bella, announced it was a girl.

I left Dawn’s house completely enamored by what I had witnessed and felt so completely blessed that I had been allowed to document this beautiful miracle.

When I am contacted by a potential client, we have a consultation meeting 6-8 weeks prior to the expected due date.  At this meeting we outline all the expectations we have of each other and discuss when I should be notified that labour has begun.

When a client calls to say “it’s time”, I head off to their place of birth and quickly sink into the shadows as the labour and delivery unfolds.  If I sense that the laboring mother wants some privacy, I leave the room and return when she’s given the ok.  After the baby has been born, I stay for an hour or two (take a look here), to capture the first moments with mom, dad and any siblings.  This all goes into a carefully created slideshow that will become a keepsake for mom and dad for years to come.

The birth of a child is an extremely intimate time in the lives of a new mother and her partner.  Documenting the birth of a child, regardless if you hire a professional photographer or not, is an act of love.  The memories of the labour and delivery may diminish over time, but photographs help keep those moments alive in our hearts, forever.

share this post:

TweetShare on FacebookEmail

About the Contributor: Jennifer is a child and family photographer who focuses on the loving relationships between parents and their children. Her passion for documentary photography has helped propelled her to the forefront of birth photography in the Toronto area.


comment on this post

Leave comment

Sarah Boccolucci Great article! I think it do important to know why someone decides to specialize in birth. It might seem like the "new" thing but it is truly a labor of love (no pun intended).

Marilyn Haner This was excellent. Beautiful. The way that it should be.

liked this post? img you might also like...
  • An Emotional Documentary Newborn Session & Film
    Inspiration I was inspired in this session by the emotional connection between the mom, dad, and baby. From every angle, there was an emotional connection and strong bond. A sense of pride, excitement, and deep love came pouring from this family. I really did not have to do much directing — these are my favorite […]
  • Golden Hour: A Family Session at the Beach
    The inspiration for this photo session was to capture my two favorite things: children and the beach. And not any beach … Redondo Beach, California. It’s my happy place; to me it’s pure magic, and the sunsets here are stunning! In California, the land of “forever summer”, sunset beach sessions are a daily possibility. My […]
  • A Joyful, Refreshing Family Session
    1. Inspiration My newborn session style is soft and airy, and I would love my outdoor family sessions to match them. I always advise my clients to wear light, monochromatic, neutral colors to coordinate the color palette of the whole family, because they look best in the field. This family looked perfect from head to […]
  • The Art of Photographing Older Children
    1. Inspiration I truly believe that so many have portraits taken when their kids are young. It feels natural to have them done every 6 months or so. They are changing so much when they are little. As children get older, they don’t seem as though they are changing as much, but they still are. […]
img find a photographer
in your area

We are so delighted that you are here. The National Association of Professional Child Photographers is an association whose mission is to promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. To accomplish this mission, NAPCP provides the most comprehensive resources for its members, bringing together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their skills, their artistry, and their businesses.

NAPCP.com (formally pronounced "NAP-C-P") is a place where professional child photographers can come and connect, learn, teach, aspire and grow. It is also a valuable resource for parents who are looking for a professional child photographer in their area, and want to be inspired and educated about our specialized industry.

img award winning photos click here to view

img most recent issue
img vendors we love
napcp supporters

img helpful articles napcp resources
  • December Inspired Magazine: Featuring Kristen Montgomery!

    This month’s issue of Inspired features Kristen Montgomery of Kristen Montgomery Photography. Click here to see her beautiful work, learn more about the 2018 Marketing Summit and get a sneak peek at the 2018 NAPCP Image Competitions! Print your copy of Inspired straight from MagCloud! Share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients. Save

  • November Inspired Magazine: Featuring Hannah Drews Eggert!

    Click here to read our November magazine featuring Hannah Drews Eggert! See Hannah’s beautiful work, learn more about the 2018 Marketing Summit and read about the NAPCP 2017 Photographer of the Year! Print your copy of Inspired straight from MagCloud! Share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients. Save Save

  • Marketing Summit 2018: You’re Invited!

    You’re invited to register for our January 17-19, 2018 Marketing Summit in Atlanta, today! Registration is LIVE. We’re talkin’ setting and accomplishing goals, the best way to market yourself through blogging and email campaigns, and anything and everything you need to know about growing your social media presence organically (read: in the best possible way). […]

  • October Inspired Magazine: Featuring Second Half 2017 Image Competition Winners!

    Click here to read our October magazine featuring the winners of our Second Half 2017 Image Competition. See their beautiful work and read their inspirational interviews – guaranteed to give you the little “push” you need to get you through to Christmas. Don’t forget, Inspired is now printable! Print your copy straight from MagCloud, and […]