In this blog post, we will be discussing the basics of birth photography. In particular, we’ll discuss how to choose a birth photographer and what you can expect from their services.
What is Birth Photography? Birth photography captures memories of your child’s first moments in the world. It documents the emotional joys and challenges that come with welcoming a new life into our family! These images are cherished for generations as they bring back powerful emotions and memories of love for a new baby or a new grandchild.
The Story of Birth Photography
For centuries, childbirth was typically treated as a natural occurrence- something not to be discussed outside the home and certainly not to be photographed. Although there is evidence of childbirth images as early as the 1860s, it wasn’t until after World War I that birth photography became more common practice and widely accepted in society.
From an Experience Perspective
If you are planning a hospital birth with epidural or other pain relief medications, your birthing time can seem quite detached from reality for both mother and father- especially if you have had previous children! Birth photography captures those first moments when parents meet their baby face-to-face for the first time, without any distractions. This moment has been described by many new moms as “the most amazing experience” they’ve ever seen. From this perspective, birth photographers can help bring back some historic memories to share with friends and family.
What to Expect from a Birth Photographer?
A birth photographer will typically arrive at your hospital room or birthing suite shortly after you have delivered your child and stay for around an hour afterwards. They will document the parents meeting their child, newborn care by nurses, couples sharing special time with baby alone- everything that captures this momentous occasion in your life! You can expect high quality digital images emailed to you within about a week after the event has occurred. These photos are yours to keep forever but they may be used on social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram if desired. In some cases, photographers also offer printed books containing these priceless memories so that generations yet unborn can see what it was like to be there.
How Much Does Birth Photography Cost?
The average cost of birth photography is $400 USD for one hour at the hospital or birthing center, but prices can range from $150-$800 depending on your location and other factors such as travel time/distance, additional hours required due to high risk deliveries etc., number of images taken (usually between 300-500), album design options etc. If you are interested in hiring a photographer who makes house calls or does scheduled sessions before birth for maternity photos , expect prices to increase by around 30%. A general rule of thumb is that costs go up based upon difficulty level (number of births per day, wheelchair access vs hiking through the woods with equipment without roads) added exposure time and difficulty level of lighting.
The choice to have a birth photographer present is completely up to you and your partner, however if you are interested in hiring one there are many options available! You can find them through your local photo studio or post on social media sites such as Facebook with the phrase “birth photography” attached- someone will be able to help guide you from there!
Hospital birth photography is an increasingly popular option for parents who would like their child’s first moments documented by a professional photographer.
What to Photograph
The birth of a baby is such an incredible and life changing event, and it deserves to be captured by a professional. Whether you plan to share this with family and friends or just keep these images for yourself, we can ensure that your memories will last a lifetime.
Here are 3 things to be aware of:
1. You want to remember the natural moment as it unfolds: This means leaving the camera behind and taking in the experience as it happens. Birth time is short, so make sure you check out our tips on how to capture those first few moments. If you want some pictures, be sure to ask for them during the first hour after the birth (or as early as possible).
2. The people who need to be there are the mother, father and doctors: Not everyone is welcome in this special moment. You want your child’s birth story to reflect their unique experience. Also, it is important that our team follows hospital protocol for safety reasons (and we’ll make sure you know what they are).
We will make sure to be very clear about who should or shouldn’t stay in the room (and when) so that your experience isn’t compromised and everyone feels welcome. If there are any questions we would love to discuss this during our planning session together!
The hospital staff is also very important, they are the ones who provide care to the mother and newborn baby. They are there at all times for any questions or concerns that may arise during the birthing process.
Medical staff are equipped with skills that can be applied in difficult situations where medical care is needed. The staff should always be aware of their surroundings during the birthing process, because they are an instrumental part to a successful delivery.
You don’t have to bring every lens you own.
The camera you use and the lenses you bring depend on the kind of birth you want to capture. For example, if you want to take candid photos of a water birth or an outdoor birth, then you’ll need a long lens that can get in close. If you’re looking for more traditional hospital shots, then your wide angle lens is good for this.
You can take photos from the birthing suite or from a nearby waiting room. You might also want to bring an extra person with you so that they can be part of the birth and also help your camera hold focus while you shoot. It’s important to know how exposure works in different kinds of light, since some rooms have darker lighting than others do.
One lens I recommend having on hand is a macro lens if you’re looking for shots where mom holds baby right after delivery. The other lenses I’d suggest bringing are 85mm/50mm portrait lenses because these work well in low-light situations.
Clients’ desires are often discussed by newborn photographers.
A birth photographer needs to discuss the clients wishes with them before photographing the birth. The photographer needs to know all of the personal information about themselves and their partner. This information is then conveyed to the hospital staff, who are responsible for providing that care. There are some risks involved in documenting a birth, but it all depends on the parents preferences.
Birth photographers also advise their clients on how they should compose themselves during labor so that they can be unobstructed by medical gear. Birth photography is not always appropriate for every family, but it has proven benefits for those families who want to remember their experience with a visual reminder.
Stay out of the way and keep quiet.
As a birth professional photographer, it can be hard to support the mother in labor without interfering. One of the ways an attendant can support the mother without interfering with her experience is by staying out of the way and being quiet.
Take notes and make a mental note of what you’ve seen.
Birth photography captures the exciting moment of welcoming a new baby into the world. Whether the birth is planned or unplanned, there are things that you can do to get ready for your shoot. The following article will provide you with some tips and tricks that will help get you prepared for your session so that it goes smoothly and meets all of your expectations.
First, what kind of camera should I use?
Different photographers have different opinions about whether to photograph a birth using film or digital cameras and while both options have their pros and cons, we recommend sticking with digital photography since it captures more detail than film cameras. Digital cameras also allow you to take pictures repeatedly without reloading your film which can be beneficial if something unexpected happens during the birth.
Second, what kind of lenses do I need?
Depending on the size and layout of your room you can use either a wide angle lens or a telephoto lens to capture as much as possible from head to toe. We recommend using an 85mm-250 mm f/l lens for capturing closeups such as baby’s hand wrapped around his mother’s hair or feet resting in their daddy’s hands. A lower aperture number will help ensure that all those details are sharp and clear during post production so we recommend something like F/11 – 16 for this type of shot. For shots where mom is holding her new baby against her chest at about arm’s length away, we would a 50mm prime (non-zoom) F/14 lens. This distance is a safe zone where the new family can be themselves without worrying about being too close or far from your camera and this will allow you to capture as much of their surroundings as possible including those cute, little details that only happen once in a lifetime!
Third, what should I wear?
Be sure not to forget any important accessories such as gloves for mom. Gloves are recommended if there is going to be blood involved since they protect both her and baby’s skin during contact with each other while she holds him against herself chest-to-chest. You also don’t want anything on your fingers touching your camera equipment which could create blurry images because of oils transferred by touch so we recommend wearing gloves.
Fourth, what should I say?
There are many important moments during labor and birth that you may want to capture on film such as the end of pregnancy when mom’s water breaks or baby crowning (the moment he peeks out from his mother’s vagina). It is very important to speak softly at these times because it will help calm both mom and her support team down so they can focus their attention on pushing through contractions rather than answering your questions which could result in an unfocused picture. You do not want everyone looking at you instead of where they should be since this will cause them all to miss something truly special!
Last but not least, how long does the whole process take? This depends mainly on two things: the mother’s pain tolerance and how long labor lasts. If mom is one of those lucky ladies who have very low pain tolerance, you may want to just plan on photographing your session in 30 minute increments so that she can rest between shoots or if her contractions are too intense for photo shoots during certain parts of labor.
Extra memory cards, as well as a battery, are advised.
Another thing to bring with you to the hospital is a battery charger! Make sure you have enough memory for your camera as well. Most batteries will last about 10 hours, so if you’re staying overnight, be sure not to exceed that.
When it comes to childbirth photography, you must be able to edit quickly.
The one mistake that is made during birth photography is not to edit quickly. Photographers should make sure to get all of the best moments of the parents, baby, and friends before editing. While some photographers might be tempted to spend hours editing, they need to edit quickly in order to catch more of the natural moments.
Prepare in advance for what the parents want you to film.
Parents are hoping that the birth photographer will capture all of the necessary attributes of their baby. This may include capturing photos of the baby’s toes, fingers, eyes, ears, nose, or lips. Parents are also looking for a birth photographer to take family photos during the delivery process as well as one after they have welcomed their new baby into their family.
The birth photographer should also be able to take photos of the parents with their newborn baby. The parents are expecting that this moment will be captured in its entirety and that it will elicit feelings of warmth and happiness for years to come. The parents want to remember every detail of this happy occasion.
Follow the baby after it is born.
After the baby comes out, you can follow it.
The baby usually gets weighed, measured and is then wrapped up. You can take a few shots of this before going to the mother for some skin-to-skin contact if she wants it or taking photos while dad snuggles with her.
After that you’ll want to get a few posed shots in case mom doesn’t want anyone seeing them without clothes on right away. It’s an awkward thing, but sometimes people just need time alone or something they have been dreaming about forever will be over so quickly they don’t even realize how much work goes into capturing these special moments! So having extra photos can always help later when parents may not remember exactly what happened during the day because things went by so fast.
You never know what kind of mood the mother will be in, so you want to have lots of different poses ready. Some people are really into it and others couldn’t care less or may feel too tired after birth for photos.
Then there is usually a bit of downtime where mom wants some quiet time with her baby before anyone else gets their hands on them. This can range from over an hour up to two hours depending on the person receiving treatment or how long labor was! During this time I would advise not taking any posed shots because that’s when real life moments happen best- like dad telling his wife “you’re doing great” between kissing her forehead, parents laughing at each other during skin-to-“i”, changing diapers (which no one ever wants photos of, but it happens) or just snuggling together.
Then comes the fun part.. feeding time! This is when you can do some casual family shots where mom may have baby in a wrap or nursing cover if that’s what she wants to do for now until they figure out their new normal. Some people are really into these moments and others don’t want anything near them so definitely ask before shooting- even though most women will say yes because everyone loves seeing babies eat! It does take practice getting good at this one as sometimes there is not much space around the mother and she has little ones already crawling all over her while trying to get milk flowing… we’ve had our fair share of children during feedings too (which is always really cute!)
Once everyone has had their fill for the day, dad may want some photos with his new baby before heading home. I love family photo time because it’s a great opportunity to get them all together without having mom in her sweaty gown or hair that needs to be washed! We usually take these out on the hospital balcony if there are no privacy issues happening which gives us more light and makes for fun back lighting opportunities. These are also where we try to catch moments like parents’ first look at each other holding their son/daughter, siblings meeting little brother/sister (which can either go really well or end up like this…) , grandmothers’ reactions when they see “their” grand baby for the first time and other similar images that you can’t plan- they just happen!
Some families don’t want to take photos after the birth, but instead come back for a session later on. I know it’s nice sometimes to have one less thing to worry about when having a baby so we completely understand if someone wants these memories documented without worrying about posing or outfits. We do offer this as an option during your pregnancy booking appointment so we can talk through all of those details then too which helps with planning out where everyone is going afterwards (or how long people will be at the hospital). It also gives us time to chat beforehand and get excited about meeting them in person.. because there is nothing like holding that brand new baby right after they’ve taken
This blog post has provided you with everything that you need to know about hospital birth photography. Whether it’s for your own personal use or if one of the parents is a photographer, these tips will help ensure that every moment of this special day is captured beautifully and without stress.