When I tell people that I'm a birth photographer, most of them look at me like I just told them I film porns. Wait, you mean the actual birth? Why the hell would anyone want to take pictures of baby’s coming out of vaginas?!? And people actually pay for that?!?!
Unless you’re a birth nerd (eh hem...me), then you might think of blood, pain and screaming when you hear the word “birth”. *Cue memories of those scary videos they show you in high school sex education classes that are meant to scare you into abstinence. Eeek. At the very least, you may think that birth is a private event that only the husband and doctor should witness. But even though birth photography is a relatively new genre of photography, it's definitely becoming more popular. Here are some common myths you may have heard (or thought of yourself):
Myth #1: Birth photography is graphic
This is probably the biggest misconception about birth photography. While I am perfectly comfortable taking “graphic” (ie: nudity and crowning) images, the majority of what I document during a birth session is not graphic at all.
My job as a birth photographer is not to hang around your vajayjay like a pesky fly waiting for the baby to come out. I will snap that picture if asked, but only if asked. When I document your birth story my goal is to capture the raw emotion of welcoming your baby earthside: your incredible power and strength as you push your body to its physical limits; the support of your doula and partner never leaving your side; the look of pure joy and relief on your face as your baby is placed on your chest; the tear rolling down his cheek as your partner meets his baby for the first time. These are the moments you will treasure, and I capture all of it without ever looking (or pointing my camera) anywhere near your nether regions.
Myth #2 - Having a photographer in the room would be awkward
Moms (and dads) are often worried that having another person in the room during labor/delivery will be awkward. A friend of mine recently told me that she really loves the idea of birth photography, but that she’s too “posey” and would probably spend the whole time trying to make sure she looked good in the photos knowing I was there. And that's totally a valid concern. But in my experience, when the time comes, you’re not even going to notice I’m there. Trust me on this - you’re going to be so focused on what your body is doing and likely won't even be fully aware of what's going on around you. Because you'll be preoccupied bringing a human into the world. Also - spoiler alert - if you've never had a baby before (especially in a hospital setting) there will be LOTS of "strangers" in the room (nurses, residents, etc.) And I'll just be over in the corner, snapping away like a fly on the wall, capturing the big picture and little details for you to keep.
And before I even enter your birth space, my goal is to establish a relationship of mutual trust and respect so you're not just inviting some stranger to capture you during your most vulnerable time. When you decide to hire me as your birth photographer, my goal is to be friends! I don’t expect to be besties overnight or even to be invited to your cat’s birthday party right away (though I’d probably accept), but I do make it a priority for you to feel comfortable with me as a human well before you go into labor.
Fun fact - this image was taken using flash a few feet from her face. When asked after if the flash bothered her at all, she said she didn’t even notice it.
Myth #3 - Birth photography is too expensive.
OK, so if you’ve been price shopping for birth photography, you’ve probably noticed that it definitely costs more than your typical family session. Birth photography is an investment. My packages start at $1,250, which can seem really expensive. But consider this scenario:
Imagine you’re getting married, and you are looking for a wedding photographer. Most of the photographers you’ve been looking at charge anywhere from $1,000 - $5,000. You find one in the mid-range who has a beautiful portfolio, and decide to reach out to hire them. At your consultation with this wedding photographer, you tell them that you aren’t sure when you’re going to have your wedding, but that you think it’s going to be sometime during a four-week period in August or September. You also tell them that you aren’t sure what time you’ll start, it could be in the middle of the day or at 2am. Oh, and you aren’t sure how long you need them for - maybe a couple hours, or it could be 24. So - what would this photographer quote you?
Assuming that they don’t laugh at you and tell you to go pound sand, my guess is that this wedding photographer would probably charge upwards of $50,000.
Yes, birth photography is an investment. And while there is A LOT of money you could drop getting ready to welcome your baby, you may consider which investment will mean more to you and your family in 20 or 30 years - the fancy-dancy stroller and latest pack’n’play model? Or the memories of your baby’s entrance into the world? I've never heard of a momma regretting her birth photos - but I've heard plenty wish they had them done (myself included).
PS - payment plans are available, as well as a registry option so friends and family can help with the investment ;) Click here to learn more.
Are we hanging out on Instagram yet? Come follow me @novitabirthstories :) See you there!