Things To Consider When Deciding on Birth Photography
If you had asked me when I first got pregnant if I would consider birth photography, the answer would have been an emphatic no (for all the reasons you can imagine plus some)! But when our newborn photographer mentioned the idea of Birth Photography, my husband and I considered it, and decided to give it a whirl. I am BEYOND happy with the photos, and cannot imagine going through another labor and delivery without them. I've included some of my favorites at the end of this post. It’s not for everyone, but if you are even considering it, here are some things to think about.
1. Does your hospital or birth center allow it? Is it even possible? This could be a deal breaker right away, and there is no reason to go any further if you are happy with your planned birthplace and are not passionate about birth photography. If you aren’t planning to have a c-section, I’d still go a step further and ask what the restrictions are for c-sections.
2. How big are the rooms, and who else is joining you? If your rooms are small and you plan to have multiple birth coaches present (think, all of the women in your family and a doula), adding another person might be a stretch. If the rooms are large or you aren’t planning on having many people, a birth photographer will likely have better opportunities to get beautiful shots and won't “be in the way”. The hospital we delivered at had birthing suites so we had plenty of room, especially since I didn’t have a large entourage accompanying me. A point of interest - as I got near the big moment, more and more people joined me in the room: My nurse, my midwife, Riley's nurse and all of the support staff that accompanied them.
3. (This is a BIG one) Do you love the photographer? You want to make sure that anyone who is walking this journey with you is someone you trust in your most vulnerable moments. Whatever energy you bring into the room will affect you, and it's important to be protective of that. This was our deciding factor because I LOVE her. She has a calming presence, is incredibly kind and funny, and checked in with me as I got close to my due date. She was, hands down, a WONDERFUL addition to my birth team. In addition to loving her as a human being, I looked over her work, saw how beautifully and tastefully she covered birth, and had total confidence in her. When I was laboring, she was discreet, incredibly kind to the medical staff (my midwife raved about her!), and even held my hand through more than one contraction reminding me to take each contraction as it came. She is more than a photographer to us, she is a friend.
4. What type of photos do you want? Are you looking for the nitty gritty details, or do you want something that captures moments more artistically? Do you plan to share all of them with the world or just a few? I wasn’t really sure about this one, so I decided to ask that she not use any super explicit photos for marketing. As it turns out, she made a “public approved” slideshow (that had me and many others in tears), as well as a “private” slideshow with nipple pics and full nudity. Some of the best photos she took were of my husband. She captured moments with him that I would never have been able to remember or even focus on at the time and am so grateful to experience now.
5. If you are on the fence, walk down the opposing path. Play devil's advocate. “What photos will we wish we had?” “What will the most awkward moment be?” “Who would I never want to see this?” “Who would I definitely want to share this with?”
If you decide to go through with birth photography, I would strongly recommend asking your photographer to wait a couple of weeks before sharing the photos with you. It will be nice to see a picture of you, your partner, and your new bundle as a preview, but I’d wait a few weeks before diving into the details. It can be extremely emotional to relive those moments, and as I’ve mentioned before, hormones are a b*tch, so prepare to accommodate strong feelings towards anything during those first few weeks.
Check out our amazing photographer, Caroline Colvin.