Updated: Mar 7, 2020
"I want a birth photographer, but I'm not too sure about it... I mean... who wants photos of that... and do I want a stranger in the room?"
Birth photography is gaining popularity, but the truth is, very few people actually hire a professional birth photographer to document their baby's birth story. Many families I talk to are amazed by birth photography, but unsure if it's for them. Many people as "Why would you hire a birth photographer?" Well the answer is simple... to remember the day your child was born. But the decision to actually hire a birth photographer is not always as black and white as the beautiful photographs... Here is a list of the top 5 concerns new moms have about hiring a birth photographer, and how we can overcome these together!
1. It's expensive.
I mean come on. You're preparing for a BABY. Of course you're thinking about money. And birth photography isn't "cheap". It's true. However, most birth photographers are happy to work out a payment plan schedule with you and if you start looking for your photographer early, you have a whole 9 months to budget and save... Check out my post on why birth photography is so expensive to learn more about your investment.... But for the cliff notes version... birth photography is an investment. You're securing a month of on call time, professional skill, professional equipment, and an undetermined amount of hours in labor documented photographically... More than that, you're freezing the biggest moments of the most important day of your life... There is no do-over. There is no reshoot. It's here and now and you'll forget so much of it before you blink... Birth story documentary is preservation of memories for your child's entire life... and the photos can be enjoyed by future generations of your family too. How is that not worth the investment?
2. I don't want a stranger in the room... Birth is intimate. I will feel vulnerable. Having a stranger in the room is not comforting to me. I hate to break it to you, but if you're planning a hospital birth... your birth photographer will probably be the one person in the room besides your partner that you know the best... you will have so many strangers coming and going. Your birth photographer is not just a random passerby at the zoo stopping to see what in the National Geographic is happening over there... she is a professional birth worker with her own job just like everyone else in the room. Now... maybe you're planning a more intimate birth in a birthing center or home birth. I get it. The less people the better. Speaking for myself, though... when I'm you're birth photographer, I make it my goal to get to know you well enough that I am not just a stranger hanging around, but a trusted member of your team. I don't know too many birth photographers who don't make this a priority.
3. I'm modest. I don't want the world seeing my vagina. One of my favorite things about birth photography is that it normalizes and demistifies birth. It showcases the miraculous creation that is "woman". Our bodies are amazing and I think it needs to be celebrated.... but the truth is, birth photography is NOT just about the moment of crowning. It's about the strength you show during labor. It's about the love your partner shows supporting you through labor. It's about the moments immediately following birth. When you see her face. When you hear him cry. When you feel her skin on yours. When you look up at your husband and think, "Woah. We made this." When he looks at you in awe and in love and in utter shock. We can tell your story without your vagina being the star of the show!
4. I'm having a cesarean. I want birth photography but it's not even an option.
More and more hospitals are beginning to understand how important birth truly is beyond "just a healthy baby" and more and more facilities are beginning to care about patient experience. Many doctors and providers are becoming okay with allowing photographers into the OR for surgical birth. You can talk to your providers and advocate for this option for your birth. Even if your photographer is not allowed in the OR, you may be able to have your photographer approved to join you in pre-op and immediately during recovery to capture first moments of bonding. If you're lucky, the dad or a nurse may even be able to take the photographer's camera into the OR and grab a few special shots of baby's first moments. Birth photography is for every birth. No matter where it takes place.
5. I have to choose between a photographer and a doula... I can't have both. Some hospitals limit how many support people the mother can bring to her birth. Other families might be on a budget and can't invest in both services. What's really awesome is that many photographers are also trained doulas and offer doula support packages to their birth photography clients. Little Bear Birth Services, serving the South Jersey and Central Jersey region, offers discounted doula packages for birth photogrpahy clients which means you may not have to choose. You just *might* be able to have it all!
As you can see... there are many very valid, very real conversations that need to be discussed when you're deciding if you should hire a birth photographer. When you find a professional, however, you will be able to rest assured that your worries can take a rest while you focus on bringing your baby earthside and the photographer focuses on documenting each moment.
Jaimie Zaki, owner of Little Bear Services, LLC is a Birth Photographer, Labor Doula, and IBCLC serving families in South Jersey and Central Jersey. Jaimie enthusiastically supports hospital births and home births in Burlington County, Camden County, Mercer County, Atlantic County, and Ocean County. If you reside outside of this service area, reach out! Jaimie may still be available to serve your family! Learn more about Jaimie and the services she offers now!