Birth Photography FAQ

birth collage

 

WHY BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY? WHY YOU?

If photography is my passion then birth photography is my calling.

I am a member of the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers.  I won second place in the IAPBP Image of the Year competition for the year 2013.  I have experience photographing hospital births, home births, birth center births, inductions and C-section births (although I have not been allowed into the OR.)  My photographs have been published in magazines in Australia, South Africa and Italy.  My work has been featured on Birth Without Fear, the IAPBP website and in many other online publications and websites.

When I tell people I’m a birth photographer I usually get responses like “Bird Photography, what kind of birds?”, “Why would anyone want that photographed?”, “There’s a market for that?”, or even “Ewwwww.”  I think if you’re unfamiliar with birth photography than your initial reaction to finding out it is, in fact, a “thing” may be something along those lines.  I get it.  Before I had children of my own I never would have fathomed that people would ever hire a photographer to join them in the delivery room.

I truly believe you cannot and will not realize the true value of having your birth photographed until you have the images.  Every birth client I’ve ever had has confirmed this.  If you’re already a parent, you know how painfully fleeting these moments are.  You know how intoxicating that newborn smell is.  You know the crushing weight of responsibility you feel when that tiny hand wraps around your finger for the first time.  You know how fast it goes and how quickly it fades from your memory.

And if you aren’t a parent I know the last thing you want is unsolicited advice from anyone… even (and maybe especially!) me.  But I’m going to tell you this anyway… There will be things you forget about the day your sweet little one is born.  There will be details you don’t even notice.  Think back to how quickly your wedding day went… how easily you forgot the tiny little details you worked for months to perfect.  Think about how every time you look through your wedding album you remember something special that you hadn’t thought about in a while, or maybe had forgotten altogether.

This is what photographs do for you.  This is the gift of birth photography.

Hiring me to photograph your birth means that your partner can hold your hand, not the camera.

It means you’ll remember how your husband never left your side through hours of contractions.

Birth photography enables you to recall the look on your oldest little one’s face the moment he first met his sibling.

When those teeny feet and squishy faces start to fade from your memory all you have to do is open your birth album or watch your slideshow and the memories come flooding back.

Birth photography is invaluable.

WHY IS BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY SO EXPENSIVE?

Even though I believe birth photography is an invaluable investment, this is probably the most common question I get from friends, clients and anyone else who may be interested in what I do.

The simple answer is that births are incredibly unpredictable and I must be prepared, no matter what.  There are no do-overs for births!  There is no way anyone can ever know exactly when, where and how your child is going to enter the world.  Even in the case of inductions or scheduled Cesarean births.  There is always the possibility that your body will go into labor early or that your induction will take longer than expected.  I have been at births for 4 hours and I have been at births for 30 hours.  Yes, THIRTY.

When you hire me to photograph your birth the plan is that I will arrive when active labor is confirmed (ideally when you are 6-7 cm) and stay through labor, delivery and 1-2 hours after delivery.  Sometimes I arrive earlier because things seem to be getting intense quickly.  Sometimes I arrive at 7 cm and then things stall and end up taking many more hours.  I do not have a limit on how long I will stay with you after I arrive.  Once I am with you, I am with you until baby is born or you request that I leave so you can rest.

I also have two little ones myself that I must arrange childcare for.  This means that when I am on call my childcare providers are on call.  I have primary childcare providers as well as a list of back up providers in case my primary is unavailable.

Once you reach 38 weeks gestation I am automatically on call.  This means that I do not travel, I do not make plans that I would be unable to cancel or change and I have my gear ready to go and by my side at all times.  I sleep with my phone right beside me and my ringer turned all the way up to ensure I do not miss your call.  I also provide you with my husband’s phone number just in case.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in labor at 3 am, 3 pm, noon or midnight… When you are ready, I am ready.

There is no limit to the number of photographs I will provide you from your birth.  This does not mean that I will edit and deliver every.single.shot I take at your birth.  It does mean that I will edit and include as many photos as it takes to ensure your story is told from beginning to end.

I understand that birth photography is a large investment.  Payment plans are always an option and I’m always willing to work with my clients to create one that works for them. Please remember that the deposit is always required to secure your due date and that no photographs will be delivered until the account balance is $0.

HOW DO I KNOW IF BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY IS ALLOWED AT MY HOSPITAL?

All you have to do is ask your care provider!  I always require that my clients speak with their doctor about their desire to have a birth photographer present.  If it is allowed then please let them know as soon as you have booked that I will be joining you once active labor is confirmed.  I have worked in many different birth environments and am always professional, courteous and aware of what is happening around me.  If your doctor would like to speak with me or has any questions I am always more than happy to do so or provide answers!

WHAT KIND OF IMAGES WILL YOU TAKE?

I will photograph as little or as much as you request.  Some parents want photos of crowning, some do not.  Some request images of the placenta and some ask me to make sure they do not see it.  This is always discussed at our initial consult, at booking and during your labor.

WHAT IF I’M HAVING A SCHEDULED OR REPEAT C-SECTION?

I have not had luck being allowed in the operating room for a c-section at a military hospital.  However, if photography is allowed by your support person then I will absolutely allow them to take my camera back (with the settings on auto) and I will professionally edit their shots to flow with the rest of your birth story.  If even that is not allowed then I will photograph as your prepare for the operation and I will continue shooting as soon as I am allowed to join you in recovery.  It is always advised that you speak with your doctor and nursing staff to let them know you have hired a photographer for the birth of your child and that it is very important to you to have me with you as much as possible.

Scheduled and repeat C-sections are priced the same as all other births.  In the event that you go into labor early or things change it is important that I be on call so I’m ready to join you as soon as  you want the photography coverage to begin.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO GET TO ME ONCE ACTIVE LABOR IS CONFIRMED?

The time it takes me to join you at the hospital depends on the time of day.  If it is an evening or weekend when my husband is home then I can leave immediately and will be with you withing 30 minutes.  I live on support site and I can see the hospital from my building so there is no need to worry about traffic or a long drive.  If my husband is not home then I will be with you as soon as my children are with their care provider.  It is my goal to never take longer than 60 minutes to join you.  I tell all of my birth clients to notify me as soon as they even *think* things may be starting.  The more notice I have that baby may be preparing to greet the world then the more ready I can be when you tell me it is time.  No update is ever too small or insignificant!

HOW MUCH EDITING WILL BE DONE TO MY BIRTH IMAGES?

I photograph births in a documentary, photojournalistic style.  There will be minimal editing done to your images.  I will use my creative vision and professional discretion to decide which images to deliver in color and which to deliver in black and white.  The majority of birth images are delivered in black and white.  Black and white conversions are wonderful when it comes to minimizing distractions in the scene (let’s face it… hospital rooms aren’t the prettiest places ever!) and disguising some of the less “pretty” parts of birth, such as blood or bruising.

WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY BIRTH SESSION?

It is never too soon!  I do not book more than 3 births per month so the sooner you contact me the sooner you can get on my calendar.  If you are interested in a payment plan it is even more important to contact me soon so we can work out a plan together.  It is also never too late!  Unless I am already booked or unavailable I am willing to take on birth clients up until the delivery.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ME TO GET MY IMAGES?

I will email you 5-8 sneak peek images within 24 hours of your birth.  These will be low-resolution, watermarked files perfect for sharing on social media.  I will not announce any birth on my business social media without clear permission from you!  Your final gallery of images will be delivered with 4-6 weeks of your baby’s birth.

WHAT IF I DO NOT WANT MY IMAGES SHARED ON SOCIAL MEDIA OR YOUR WEBSITE?

Photography is a visual business and I always want to share the beautiful stories I am asked to capture.  However, I will never share any image that you are not comfortable with.  If you do not want any images from your birth shared then I will make sure your birth contract reflects that and I will always uphold your privacy and make sure I am the only other person who ever sees your images on my end.

WHAT IF I WANT TO SHARE MY BIRTH IMAGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA OR WITH MY BIRTH STORY ON MY BLOG?

Nothing makes me happier than when my clients love and show off their images!  My only request is that you tag my business page when sharing on social media or link to my website when blogging your images.  I can also provide you with watermarked images for sharing upon request.

WILL I MEET YOU BEFORE THE BIG DAY?

I love to meet in person with all potential clients who are interested in birth photography.  This helps you decide if I am the right fit to be a part of your birth team and it allows us to be comfortable with each other before the birth.  Our initial meeting is the perfect time for you to ask me any questions you may have about birth photography and for me to get to know you and you birth history and what you envision for your birth and your images.  I always bring the contract with me to the initial meeting for you to look over and take home if you wish.  There is never any pressure or obligation to sign the contract or book me at our initial meeting.

WHAT KIND OF GEAR DO YOU USE?  WILL YOU USE FLASH AT MY BIRTH?

I bring two cameras to every birth.  Birth is NOT an event that I would want to risk missing due to an equipment malfunction, dead battery or testy lens.  I shoot with two Nikon D750 camera bodies, a 50mm lens, a 24-70 mm zoom lens, a 28mm lens and I always bring my external flash, extra batteries and a battery charger to every birth.  My camera is an incredible machine that handles low light and fast action incredibly well!  I always prefer not to use flash and never do if you ask me not to.  Sometimes this means there may be some blur or grain in your photographs.  This does NOT mean that quality will be compromised.

WHAT IF YOU MISS THE BIRTH?

Sometimes illnesses happen, technology fails or emergencies come up.  If I miss your birth due to illness, failure to answer your call or a personal emergency I will refund 100% of fees paid.  If I miss the birth because things progress quickly then I will begin coverage when I arrive and continue to shoot your first moments with your baby.  If I do not make it because you do not call me or because you do not give me enough notice to make it in time then I will retain your deposit as compensation for not booking another client during your on call time and for being on call.  The remainder of fees paid may be transferred towards the fee for a Brand New session or a Newborn session but no funds will be refunded.

WHAT IF THERE IS AN EMERGENCY OR MY BABY IS SENT TO THE NICU?

I will follow your direction and that of your medical team in this situation.  If you request it and I am allowed to continue photographing then I will continue to photograph your birth story as it unfolds.  If you baby is sent to another hospital for care then all funds will be applied to a Newborn session when baby returns home and the photographs I am able to capture will be delivered to you as contracted.  I understand that every birth is different and I will communicate with you to determine your photographic needs and desires.  I will do everything in my power to make sure you are happy with the services and images you receive from me regarding your unique situation.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BIRTH SESSION AND A BRAND NEW SESSION?

For a birth session you notify me when labor begins and communicate with me as you progress.  I am on call and ready to join you whenever you are ready for me.  There is no limit on how long I spend with you to capture your baby’s birth and you receive an unlimited number of photos to tell the entire story.

A brand new session is photographed in the hospital room within 48 hours of birth.  It is limited to one hour and you will receive 20 images.  I will not photograph any labor or delivery for a brand new session.  It will be done during the day and based on my availability within those first two days of birth.

DO YOU OFFER A DISCOUNT IF I BOOK MATERNITY, BIRTH, AND NEWBORN TOGETHER?

I do!  When booked together prices are as follows:

Maternity and Newborn: $550 ($65 discount)
Maternity and Birth: $775 ($90 discount)
Birth and Newborn: $850 ($100 discount)
Maternity, Birth and Newborn: $1000 ($215 discount)

* In all package deals with maternity sessions you will receive the options for Package B.  For more details visit myinvestment page.

WHAT IF I WANT TO KNOW MORE OR HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS?

Please contact me with any questions you have about birth photography, your unique birth situation or my birth photography experience.  I am always eager to talk about birth photography!

Here are a few things my clients have said about their experiences: 

 Danna! ♥♥♥ I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of scrolling through the images of Holden’s birth. To be able to see it all happen again… there are no words! I wish I could put together a sentence that even comes close to how happy I am with the photos. I will treasure them forever!

– Jill

OMG, Danna. These are beautiful. You did a great job. I couldn’t stop crying the first three times I looked at them. I am soooo excited to have them. It’s too bad I’m done having babies because you’d totally get repeat business from me!
– Lauren

Danna… Thanks so much for the photos! They are wonderful…I can’t look at them without tearing up! In a good way. I’m so grateful to have these photos of such an amazing experience…especially during these tough newborn days. It’s definitely a precious gift.
– Mary S.

Our birth photos are GORGEOUS!!! I LOVE them!!!! Thank you so much, Danna!
– Erin

Oh my gosh!  I love love love them so much!  It feels so long ago! Thank you!
– JoAnna

The pictures from my birth speak for themselves, but for anyone wondering why to hire a birth photographer, Danna’s award winning photos are only part of the reason women should choose her as theirs. She was very professional – she responded to questions quickly, was friendly, very reasonably priced, and easy to get in touch with. As for the birth, she was WONDERFUL! She arrived quickly after I called her, and was so quiet and unobtrusive that I honestly forgot she was even there until after the baby was born! I have looked back on the emotional and breathtaking photos countless times since the birth and am so glad that we chose her to document one of the biggest events in our lives.

– Megan

After seeing Max’s birth photos I cannot stop crying!  I felt like I was watching a movie I didn’t want to end.  I am obsessed with them and love, love, love them so much.  He has changed so much already, every time I wake up to nurse I scroll through them again to refresh my memory.  I love them!  You are incredible, Danna!
– Mary D.

Danna, They are absolutely stunning! Words can’t describe how happy I am! These photos are exactly what we were wanting!!! Thank you so very much for all of your hard work.
– Sierra

L~ F~:

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