Here is a little birth photography Q and A to help families considering birth photography understand how it works when I am your birth photographer.
How did you become interested in birth photography?
I have been a photographer since I first got my chubby hands on a plastic film camera in the mid/late 80s.
When I attended birth doula training the trainer suggested writing birth stories as a gift to the families that we supported. As a girl that doesn’t especially like to write, that sounded like a wretched idea to me. I thought on this a bit more and decided that I would bring my camera bag with me to births and try to snap a few photos to leave with my families rather than a written account. After my first few births, I became very comfortable shooting in the low light conditions of the birthing room. I loved editing birth photos and presenting families with a small album during postpartum visits. It is impossible to support a birth and photograph a birth simultaneously. All of the biggest moments of your experience go undocumented when your doula is the only person documenting your birth and I wanted an opportunity to focus solely on birth photography so I began offering it.
Birth is a transformative experience and birth photography helps families savor the beauty of their experience for many years.
When should I reserve a birth photographer?
Please note that I generally limit births to 1-2 per month in order to ensure availability. It is best to book early during your second trimester but please contact me to inquire about availability at any point after that time. Birth Photography services are secured after I have received a signed contract and initial deposit.
In which areas of Richmond do you work?
I am happy to photograph any home or hospital birth in the greater Richmond area. A travel fee may be added to locations beyond 35 miles of travel.
I’m considering hiring you. What are the steps involved?
If you are considering hiring me, you should first contact me to inquire about availability and if you have any questions about the services that I provide, get clarification on anything you might be wondering about, and arrange a time to meet in person to ensure that you feel comfortable inviting me into your birth space.
Once we have decided to work together I will secure your birth on my calendar after receiving your signed contract and the deposit fee of $300.00. Deposits can be made through cash, check, or PayPal and I will email you a digital contract for you to sign and return.
After your session is secured, I’ll send you a photography birth plan questionnaire to help you think through your wishes and allow me to understand your vision of your birth photography.
Somewhere between 35 and 37 weeks, we will meet up for coffee or tea to discuss all of the details and answer any remaining questions we might have. Homebirth consults are done in your home so that I can scope out the space and lighting where the miracle will happen.
The remainder of your birth photography fee is due by your 38th week of pregnancy. My policy is not to attend a birth that is not paid in full at the time of labor.
Do you offer maternity or newborn photography as well?
Yes. I recommend doing maternity sessions at 36-37 weeks and newborn sessions 5-10 days new. Birth photography families enjoy a discount on maternity and newborn sessions.
Do you provide labor support, sibling support or other birth services?
I do offer several other birth services, however when I am hired as your photographer that is not offered concurrently with any other service. Your birth story in pictures deserves my full attention.
Can’t my husband/doula/nurse just take pictures?
The short answer is yes. Keeping in mind however, that your husband/doula/nurse all have vital roles at your birth and time snapping pictures takes away from this role. Additionally, quality images in a birth room setting rarely happen accidentally and husbands/doulas/nurses do not typically familiar with the unique nature of birth photography.
Do you use flash photography during birth?
HELL NO not under any circumstances. I am able to provide families with high quality images of dimly lit moments with careful manual camera settings and equipment that is able to perform well in low light situations. There will be many moments when a flash or speedlite would enhance a photo, however I can not, in good conscience flash a birthing mother or her birth team. In every possible situation, reverence for the birth space is a priority over “getting the shot.”
How many images can I expect?
Typically 80-100 images are presented from your birth journey. This number is not a guarantee however. It may be less if your birth is very quick, very dark or if you find my presence distracting from your most important work of bringing your baby earth side.
Do you edit every image?
Yes, and I actually enjoy doing it very much
Do you shoot in color or black and white?
I shoot in color and then edit almost all of your images in both color and black and white so that you can decide which you prefer. Black and white are significantly more popular for birth photography but that will be up to the new family to decide.
When should we call you?
As soon as you feel confident that birthing has started you should let me know so that I can be on “high alert.” I will make my way to your birthing location at around 5 cm dilation and if you will not have regular cervical checks, then we can discuss and decide together when would be the best time for me to join you.
What if my birth is extremely long?
Birth is unpredictable. I’m in it for the long haul! I may take breaks or even go home to rest if the situation warrants it. But once I start documenting a birth journey, I continue documenting until the journey is complete! It is against the laws of nature to put a time limit on births.
What if I require a cesarean birth?
If you require an unplanned cesarean birth, I will follow you into the operating room to photograph those beautiful moments, if at all possible. Ultimately the decision on whether I am allowed to photograph your cesarean birth is up to the anesthesiologist and obstetrician. Sometimes it is allowed in whole or part. Sometimes it isn’t. We will discuss this possibility during your pre-birth consultation. I also have a camera I can set and then allow your partner or support person to bring into the OR if that is your wish.
What if I schedule a cesarean birth?
I am happy to attend a scheduled cesarean birth. It is typically easier to pre-arrange for my presence with your doctor and hospital with a scheduled cesarean.
What if you get sick or otherwise can’t make it to my birth?
I can not in good conscience enter your birth space if there is any indication that I may be ill. I also can not guarantee that I will not be attending another birth during your birth time even though careful planning greatly lessens this possibility. If I cannot attend for any reason then I will provide a full refund in addition to a newborn session.
If I am unable to attend your birth due to no fault of my own (I was not given proper advance notice or was not called in time, the birth was very quick, the hospital refused me admittance, etc) your birth fee is non-refundable. I will provide an in-hospital new baby session as well as 1 other sessions of your choosing.
Are you going to post my pictures on the Internet?
I hope that you will let me, but this is ultimately up to you. I am so grateful for families that allow me to share images.
Do you offer gift certificates?
YES! Anyone who wishes to purchase a gift certificate for any of my service can contact me to inquire.
Thanks for reading and please pass along this info to anyone that may be in need of a birth photographer in Richmond VA!