What do you need to know when deciding between a professional photographer vs. birth photographer? Keep reading to learn what makes a birth photographer worth the investment.
Nobody wants to forget their baby’s birthday. When everyone has a decent digital camera at their fingertips, it’s easy to designate someone to snap pictures.
Good enough, right?
Let’s start with this comparison first. We all appreciate the difference between having a friend take pictures at your wedding versus hiring a wedding photographer. I’m a professional photographer, but do not specialize in weddings. I still need to have high end gear, lighting equipment, back up gear, back up memory cards/batteries, etc. But, I am no expert in the ins and outs of wedding photography and only take on small events. I’ll still get you gorgeous pictures. But, it takes a lot of experience to truly be prepared for a large event like this. Take a look at my sister site, TEKimages, for more on my event coverage.
When you hire a wedding photographer, you are paying that person for a great deal of experience. There are so many details that must be carefully planned out. The list of critical moments is often pages long! They’ll make sure that your wedding and all of the priceless moments are documented. You must pick a photographer who knows exactly where to stand and when for a long list of must haves. Go big or go home, right? Go big, my friend. When it’s all said and done, the pictures are pretty much all that is left.
As a birth photographer, I’m trained and equipped to take on the huge responsibility of capturing another day that you can never get back. With all due respect to wedding photographers, my job is a much larger commitment. For starters, to guarantee that I can be at your birth, I don’t just need to block off a day or a weekend on my calendar. I must prepare myself and my family to be on call for over a month.
During that on call time, I must have constant back up plans for my children. I cannot stay up too late working or take medications that might compromise my ability to be at your side. Vacations are out of the question. And I cannot take on other time sensitive photography clients like weddings and other events that cannot be rescheduled. My life revolves around you and your baby with a patience and respect of the natural process that I pride myself in understanding.
And there is so much more than just the time commitment of being on call and capturing your full birth story, which can take more than 24 hours. There is a long list of must have photos, but with no predetermined timeline. Birth is very unpredictable, making it much harder to know where to be and when. Also a birth photographer is not medically trained, but her duties can be very sensitive. I have developed a deep appreciation for the importance of working with your family, the nurses, and doctors to create a comfortable environment for everyone.
When I first walk into a birthing space, I am ideally not setting up any equipment. Hopefully, I’ve arrived early enough to calmly greet Mama and take inventory of everything in the room that can be used to support her and her birth team. I’m also preparing myself and the room for the most optimal outcome for her pictures without interrupting labor. This includes reaching out to the nursing staff, confirming hospital policies, while also capturing all of the tiny details that you may be missing.
This includes gauging Mama to see what level of involvement is best while also considering everything we have spoken about during consultations. I have learned when to be an active and supportive part of the team. I aim to pamper and encourage her before and after her sweet baby is welcomed into the world. And I also am prepared to retreat to the role of fly on the wall so as not to interfere or intrude on her needed privacy.
I know of several professional photographers who have dabbled in birth photography and quickly went back to weddings. Weddings have a much smaller time commitment and pay far more. But, I am in this for the long haul.
Birth Photography is a growing genre people are slowly coming to appreciate for more than just the beauty of the pictures. I am personally excited about the healing qualities that my work offers moms. This happens during the postpartum period as well as the long-term as she realizes just how remarkable she was throughout labor. We typically remember ourselves as loud, sweaty messes, frantically out of control and exhausted. I aim to reframe the way a woman sees herself during this amazing process. She can walk away as the empowered and glorious creature that I am seeing through my lens. One of my goals is to create images that she will be comfortable and proud to share with family and friends so that everyone else can see just how magnificent she is.
I am a birth professional with a deep respect for the families I capture and true excitement for the opportunity to illustrate their birth stories.