Birth Photography FAQ
+ What is birth photography?
Birth photography documents the story of your labor, birth, and many of the other first moments that take place following delivery.
+ Why hire a photographer?
Do you remember the excitement and anticipation the moment you realized that "Today’s the day!” The tender moments you shared with your partner as they supported you through each contraction and the look on each of your faces when you first laid eyes on your brand new baby. If you want to relive all of these beautiful firsts then you should have a photographer at your birth.
Your birth day is full of excitement and flurry and the precious tiny moments might be missed without a photographer there to focus on documenting the story. I personally believe that as a laboring mother you deserve 100% attention from your support team. Let me focus on capturing the firsts, weight, measurements, footprints, snuggles, and kisses while you and your loved ones remain fully present in the moment.
+ What if my partner is unsure of having a birth photographer?
I remember the first time my husband and I discussed having a doula present for our daughter’s birth. I was 100% certain we needed a doula and he was confident he could handle it. Long story short, we hired a doula and it was the best decision we ever made. My husband had the freedom to enjoy the birth of our child and not worry about fetching ice-cold washcloths or honey sticks. His mind was solely focused on coaching me and enjoying the incredible moment I birthed our daughter into the world.
I think the same feeling applies to birth photography. Your husband is relieved of all the extra duties and can focus on YOU. If you both decide you don't want the pressure or expense of photographing your birth you can compromise on a post-birth session, I call it a Just Born session. Check out the Just Born FAQ's for more information.
+ I like the idea of birth photography, but I'm concerned with keeping things private?
Everyone has a different vision of what they want captured from their birth story. Some want everything and others not so much. We will discuss your level of comfortability at your consultation to be sure we're on the same page. If you're on the fence, I recommend allowing me to freely photograph the entire experience because these moments cannot be recreated. When your images are ready I can always send the more graphic images in a separate folder, that you can look at when you’re ready. Ultimately, you get to decide how much or how little is photographed.
+ I don't want naked photos of myself on the Internet! You won't do that, will you?
The graphic nature of childbirth can usually be hidden by carefully selecting the angles I photograph from. This is absolutely something we'll discuss at your consultation. I promise you that I'll do my best to angle myself according to your wishes; however, sometimes the room is too crowded or chaotic to risk missing the moment. When I photograph births I try my hardest to allow for cropping and am skilled in Photoshop techniques to respect your modesty. No matter what, you get to decide what is and is not shared on the Internet.
+ What if I don't want you using any of my photos for your business?
I do offer a 100% privacy add-on fee of $300. Please keep in mind that there is always something share worthy, even if it doesn't include "that moment". Faces can be cropped along with other graphic details. I am respectful of keeping my shares modest and again, you have the final say in anything that goes online. If you're wondering why I charge a fee for exclusive privacy it's because without being able to show examples of my work it would be very difficult for me to promote my business. We'll discuss any and all concerns you might have at your consultation.
+ Will you pose me? Or will you give us any direction to get the right shot?
I definitely won't be posing you. With the nature of birth photography I allow for the moments to unfold naturally. I'll be patiently waiting and keeping a good eye out for those small and subtle moments that I know you'll appreciate having record of. So, unless I miss some perfect split second moment, like you and your spouse kissing, I won't be directing you in any way.
+ What do I wear for a birth session?
This is totally your call. I want you to be as comfortable as possible. Maybe that means you wear nothing, maybe that means you wear a bra and bottoms, maybe you are topless. Bikini and tankini tops are great for any type of birth, especially water births. For others who might be in your images, I recommend avoiding logos, and sticking with solid's or patterns--whatever suits you. If you're away from your home during your birth consider prepacking clothes for you and your partner.
+ Will you interact with us or mainly stay quiet?
I will be as involved or uninvolved as you want or need me to. I love talking all things birth and am so happy you've chosen me to be a part of your sacred experience. I typically stay pretty quiet, but love a bit of interaction or am happy just minding my own business & snapping pictures.
+ Do you use a flash? What equipment do you have?
I only prefer to use flash in a completely darkened room if it's something you're comfortable with. I do ask that we have at least one source of light, even if it's only a single lamp. If I do use my Speedlight, the flash is diffused and bounced of a wall behind me and is never directly on you. The sound of the flash is not as intrusive as you might think--but the ultimate decision is yours. I have a snazzy camera (DSLR full-frame Nikon D800 if you'd like specifics) that I've nickednamed "The Beast" and she works very well in low light conditions. Low light photos without flash tend to be grainier and lack clarity, but still turn out beautifully. Personally, I love the feel and atmosphere of naturally lit photos. All of the lenses I use photograph well in low light. The lenses I use are an 85mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, & 35mm 1.4. I use the 85mm and 50mm the most, unless the moment or location requires a wider angle.
+ How long will you stay at the birth?
As long as the birth is in progress I will stay. Some births are long (usually first births) and some are short. Regardless, you are not by the hour.
+ Will we meet before the birth?
Absolutely. We will meet at least once. I want to meet with you & your partner to discuss your wants, needs, and get to know you a little better. If you plan to have other children present, I'd also love to meet them. I do not want my presence affecting your birth environment. My hope is that by the time I'm needed to photograph your birth that we've connected on a deeper level.
+ When should I book you?
As soon as you know you want me as your birth photographer. Right now I'm booking ONE birth per month and many mama's book early on in their pregnancy. Plan on meeting with me and paying your $500 non-refundable retainer fee by the start of your second trimester and the remaining balance is due by 36 weeks. Once your retainer is paid, I'm on call for 4 weeks surrounding your estimated due date and will not book any other birth sessions during that time. All major forms of payment are accepted.
+ Do you need to get approval form the hospital staff or midwife to photograph my birth?
Actually, it is you who needs to get approval from any birth professionals involved in your birth. This includes hospital staff, birth center, midwife, OB, and anesthesiologist. Approval is required before we sign contracts and you pay the deposit and all birth professionls are required to sign releases if they are included in your images.
+ How far do you travel?
I am available to travel within 15 miles of zip code 84108. An additional travel fee of $75 applies for all locations 15-30 miles.
+ When I go into labor, when should I call you?
Call me right away! I want to know when labor starts and then be updated during the progress. If you receive vaginal checks, I would like to be there when you reach about 5cm, or before transition and active labor begin. If you are not receiving vaginal checks, then you should plan on me being there before you are too uncomfortable. Please keep in mind that I might need up to 3 hours to secure childcare in order to be at your birth. I am always available via text throughout your labor if calling is a hassle. You, your birth partner, or doula can keep me informed and there shouldn't be any problems. I always err on the side of caution and prefer to be early rather than late. If you're unsure, go with what your instinct is telling you.
+ What if I go into labor in the middle of the night?
I am on call for you 24/7 for two weeks before and after your estimated due date. Please do not hesitate to let me know when your labor begins, even if its 1AM, it's ok. I expect it, don't stress!
+ How long do you stay after the birth?
I will stay for up to 2 hours after your birth, in order to capture weight, measurement, footprints, breastfeeding, and those quiet, peaceful moments just after birth.
+ What will you do if something is wrong with my baby?
I do whatever you want me to do. I know this time can be chaotic and will do my best to read emotions in the room and determine whether or not I should stay or leave. Ultimately, it's your choice. If you are interested in a NICU or Just Born session down the line, that is an option we can discuss.
+ What happens if I decide I don't want you in the labor room with us for a period of time?
I try to be sensitive these situations and if I sense you need some time alone, I'll ask you if you'd like to me step out. You are always welcome to take a breather and get some alone time if you need it. You, your partner, or doula can always communicate this with me, too.
+ What if I give birth prematurely?
If an unexpected medical situation prevents me from providing services, your money will be applied toward another session. Documentary styled "homecoming" sessions & Just Born sessions are all good options depending on the circumstance. If you are interested in a NICU session please let me know.
+ What if you can't make the birth or miss it?
If I have been given ample notice this problem should not arise. Should a situation arise where the client is at fault for me missing the birth then no money is refunded. I do not consider medical emergencies or other acts of God to be your fault.
Should a situation arise where nobody is at fault (acts of God, auto accidents, super-fast labors, other emergency medical situations for either party) then your money is applied to a Just Born session or NICU session if appropriate.
Should a situation arise where it is 100% my fault and I miss your birth, you are entitled to a full refund, no questions asked, including your retainer.
+ What about a scheduled or unscheduled C-section?
With permission from your OB and the anesthesiologist I can photograph portions of your C-section. Scheduled C-sections approval must be secured in advance. If I show up only to find that I do not have permission to photograph your C-section, you will not receive a refund.
Unscheduled C-sections will be a little tricky. Last minute permission may or may not be granted. In the event that last minute permission is not granted your money is applied to a Just Born session.
+ How soon do I get my pictures?
You'll have your first two digital images from your session within 48 hours after birth because I know how anxious everyone is to see your precious little baby. 4-6 weeks later (possibly sooner depending on my workload), your images will be uploaded into a private online gallery that you can keep to yourself or share with family & friends. Your gallery stays active for 3 months and I recommend downloading the files to a safe location immediately. At that time you can decide if there are any images you're uncomfortable with me including in your slideshow, which is shared on my blog and Facebook via YouTube.
+ Will my photos be in color or black & white?
You will receive all images in black and white and possibly color. There are always photos that I think translate better in color, but given the graphic nature of some images, black & white is cleaner and has a more photojournalistic feel. If the lighting at your birth is good, you’ll end up with a combination of color & black & white.
+ What other types of photography do you offer?
You can view all of the sessions I offer [here].