Like everything related to your pregnancy, the decision to hire a professional birth photographer is something that requires careful consideration. Learn how to hire someone great, and think about the pros and cons in order to decide if this is the best way for you to capture photos of your baby's birth.
Tips for Hiring a Professional Birth Photographer
For many families, hiring a photographer can seem intimidating. It's one thing to hire someone to take maternity photos, but it's another to choose a person to be in the delivery room with you. The key is to understand what you're getting and what you want. Here are some things to consider when hiring a professional.
Ask to See Previous Work
Most professional birth photographers have a portfolio of previous work. Ask for a link to the photographer's website or Instagram feed to see if she does the kind of work you have in mind.
Get Recommendations From Friends
If you know someone who had a photographer at her birth and you love the photos from that session, ask for a recommendation. This is a great way to ensure the photographer you choose has a style and personality you want.
Meet Before the Big Day
Make sure you take some time to meet with the photographer before your baby's birth. Most birth photographers include a pre-birth meeting in the package price. You'll need to make sure you get along well and that her philosophy works with what you're envisioning for your birth. Ask about some key things:
- How does she handle unexpected events?
- What does she do to keep everyone comfortable?
- Which moments and details does she consider most important?
- How does she see her role as a participant in the birthing suite?
- Is she comfortable with photographing newborns?
Know What You're Getting
Before you decide on a someone to photograph the birth, make sure you understand what is included in the package. Will she be available 24 hours a day? How long will it take her to get to the hospital? How many photos will you get? Do you get the digital files or just prints? Make sure the package you pick meets your needs.
Understand the Legal Responsibilities
Before you hire a photographer, make sure both of you understand the legal responsibilities surrounding this type of situation. Your photographer should have liability insurance to cover her in the hospital setting and present you with a legal contract clearly stating what she will do and how either of you can use the images. You'll be responsible for checking with hospital staff about when photography is allowed. Many hospitals have a clear position on photography during birth. Generally, you will not need releases from hospital staff, as long as they are not visible in images posted on social media or used in print.
Should You Hire a Professional Photographer for Your Baby's Birth?
Ultimately, the choice to hire a birth photographer comes down to your priorities and personal preferences. Weigh the pros and cons to decide whether you want a photographer in the delivery room with you.
Amazing Image Quality
The biggest pro of hiring a someone to take photos of your baby's birth is the quality of the images you'll get. This is art, not phone snapshots. Professional photographers use pro DSLRs and expensive lenses, meaning the detail and resolution of the files will amaze you. You can enlarge most images to poster size. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, and it's worth a lot to have great photos to remember it.
Someone Else Taking the Photos
Another major advantage to hiring a professional is that you won't have to think about the photos during the birth. The photographer takes care of photos, leaving you, your partner, and family members free to be present in the moment.
A Different Perspective
Photographers are experienced at documenting things from a variety of perspectives, and this is another important advantage. Think close details like you and your partner holding hands and wider shots of the delivery room. Don't forget emotional perspectives too. A photographer knows emotion matters most, and she will take shots of everyone reacting to the baby and interacting with one another. These images take training and experience.
Cost of Birth Photography
A potential disadvantage is cost. According to one birth photographer, many couples don't realize the cost of professional photography for this event or what is included. Depending on the package you choose and where you live, you can expect to pay $500 to over $2000. This may be outside your budget, or it may seem like a lot. Keep in mind, you're asking the following of this photographer:
- Be on call 24 hours a day during the weeks surrounding your due date
- Spend hours photographing the birth and the moments after your baby is born
- Be insured and have a relationship with the hospital
- Edit your photos in a matter of hours so you can send out announcements and post on social media
- Own and maintain professional equipment and skills
Loss of Privacy
Another potential con to hiring someone to take pictures of your baby's birth is the loss of privacy. This is an intimate moment, usually involving little or no clothing and lots of emotion. Birth photographers should be professional and sensitive to the nature of this type of work, but not everyone is comfortable having a photographer in the delivery room. If you aren't, that's okay.
Make the Memories Even More Precious
Whether or not you choose to hire a professional, getting great photos of your baby's birth is important. This is a day you'll remember for the rest of your life, and having beautiful images will make those memories even more precious.