“You’re hiring a what?!” was the most common reaction I got when I mentioned I was hiring a professional birth photographer. And I was living in Austin at the time…you know, the place where people ride around topless on purple unicycles (slight exaggeration), and yet I was the weirdo who wanted to record my baby’s birth. This Louisiana girl just trying to keep Austin weird, y’all! Yes, most people thought I was crazy to even consider this. Birth photography is a fairly new trend that has become immensely popular over the past few years. As someone who has utilized this service, here are some answers to a few questions I often get asked on birth photography:
So what exactly is birth photography?
Birth photography is the documentation of the labor and delivery journey from start to finish, whether it occurs in your home, the hospital, a birthing center, the car (ok, maybe not that one!) through the use of images taken by a professional (or amateur) photographer. Images are typically candid, as opposed to posed as in a newborn or family photo session, and follow the documentary style.
Couldn’t your husband have taken the photos?
Well, yes, in theory…but I wanted my husband to be my supporter throughout labor, and of course I wanted him to share in the moment of the entrance of our new baby. I didn’t want him to be fumbling around with the camera. Also, I really wanted him in those pictures of those precious first moments of us as a family, not to mention some shots of the two of us together before we became three. Additionally, though I didn’t know this before I went into labor, my journey was a difficult one and I needed him every step of the way. Therefore, we would probably have had zero photos to speak of if I had relied on him to take them.
Was it weird having a basic stranger in the delivery room with a camera all up in your business?
Honestly, I didn’t know she was there most of the time. I had other things going on! She was very good about being inconspicuous, like a fly on the wall. However, if the thought of having someone you don’t know well in the room makes you uncomfortable, then hiring a photographer may not be right for you. Above all else, mama must be comfortable!
Is birth photography expensive?
Yes. No getting around that one. But from the photographer’s vantage point, she is on call for you 24/7 for the two weeks leading up to your birth and beyond if you go past 40 weeks. She takes no other work during that time so that she is available for your labor and delivery. Time is money, folks. The money was an issue for us at first, but even my husband would tell you that our pictures are priceless. Those moments for that baby and that birth only happened once, and we have a way to remember them forever.
For me, I loved having a birth photographer to capture those first moments that I know would have never been so beautifully done otherwise. Another aspect I valued was that nothing was fake – the images capture the difficulty and pain that my labor brought on (I was by no means giddy during my intense labor and the pictures reflect that), and then thankfully, the sweet relief of a beautiful new life being brought into the world.
These pictures capture the day we were never the same, yet perfectly made whole at the same time. The day we became family. And, one day, I know my little girl will adore seeing these photos as a visual of her birth story.
To learn more about birth photography and to find Baton Rouge photographers who specialize in birth, here is a good place to start. If you have additional questions for me, please ask in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer! All pictures are used with permission from Leilani Rogers, an Austin-based professional birth photographer.