Birth Photography FAQ

What is birth photography?

Birth photography is not merely capturing baby crowning and coming out of the birth canal.  It is documenting the excitement, the waiting, the anticipation, the pain, the breakthrough, the ultimate joy of a husband and wife becoming a mother and father. (I’m weeping in remembrance of my times while writing this).  It’s not just crossing the finish line, it’s the entire journey along the way.


Do you take pictures of the whole labor and birth?

I do.  However, you get to choose what final images are that you keep in your product packages.  I try to find pleasing angles and ways to show some of the more unpleasant aspects of birth, like baby crowning.  If there is absolutely something you do not want me to photograph, please let me know ahead of time.


Will you post the photos on the internet?

I respect each and every one of  my clients need for privacy.  If there are images I would like to show (website/blog, social media, print marketing, etc) I will create a specific release that shows those images for you to sign off on.  Conversely, if you choose a product package that contains digital images, I will also include web ready images for you to use, and ask that you link them back to me.


Will we meet before the birth?

We will meet for an initial consultation, because let’s be honest – not every personality gets along with every other personality.  As much as I try to be one cohesive unit in my web presence and in person, you may not like me once we meet face to face.  I would rather you hire a birth photographer that you like than feel you have to hold yourself back of your birthing personality because you don’t like me.  I do not want to be a source of angst during this time, leaving you with a bad taste of birth when all is said and done.

If the contract and payment are not made at the initial consultation, I like to meet again to sign the contract and receive payment.  Meeting closer to birth is not necessary, but I love grabbing a treat with my families whenever!


When do I call you?

Right after you hang up with your midwife and doula and before you call grandma.  No, really.  Clients have waited until they were 7 or 8 cm’s and I’ve missed the birth because their transition and delivery was faster than my drive time.  I would rather be in contact with you everyday for 3 weeks than risk missing baby coming earthside.  There is no such thing as too much information with me.  You want to share that you lost the mucus plug?  Text me!  You want to share other gory details that the rest of world is tired hearing about?  Tell me!


When do you show up?

This will depend on your birth history.  If this is your first, I will probably head to your location between 3 and 5 cm’s.  Every woman is different and every birth is different.  But typically once active labor has been established.


How long will you stay?  What if I have a long labor?

I will stay as long as necessary, which is why I usually don’t show up until active labor has been established.  I’ve had birth photographers friends be at births for 3 days.  The longest birth I have been at to photograph is 13 hours, and I usually stay for 1.5 to 2 hours after birth.


What if I have short labor, will I get any of my money back?

In short, no.  I will still be on call for a minimum of 2 weeks, had my own on-call childcare lined up, etc.  If you’re birthing at a hospital, they wouldn’t charge you less for delivering in triage instead of a delivery room.


What if I have a c-section?

The State of Minnesota has passed a law that states a mother entering a c-section can have 2 people in the surgical field of her choosing to continue to support her.  You and your partner will need to be your own advocates on getting me in there.  I will be able to provide you with paper documentation, however, ultimately it is the choice of the hospital staff.  The anesteiologist to be exact.  If they let me in, I may be given specific instruction as to what can and can not be photographed.  I will photograph what I can, but please know that there may be limitations set upon me.


Will I have to get approval from my hospital?

It would be beneficial for you to discuss with your care provider that you are working with a birth photographer.  Some hospitals have strict guidelines against certain aspects of the birth to not be documented, while others no problem with all parts of the journey.  While others warmly welcome us as they would a doula or other birth attendant.


What if you miss the birth?

As hard as I try to stay close during your final weeks, there may be times where I may miss a baby’s entrance into this world.  It may be because you have super fast labors, within 30 minutes or an hour (trust me, they happen!).  Or because my on call system for childcare failed. If I am in route to you when baby comes, I will continue on my way and photograph those few early hours.  I will also come back within 48 hours and do what I call a Fresh48 session.  If I miss the birth because I was not contacted, I will still come and do a Fresh48 session, which is more lifestyle portraiture.  But please know that there will be less images and will only be 1 hour.


When should I book you?

I currently only accept 2 EDD’s (estimated due dates) a month.  So as soon as you and your partner determine you would like me there, is when you should book me.


Do you offer discounts or take payments?

I do offer payment plans for the session fee and product packages.  30% of the session fee is due at the time of booking.  The remainder is due by 36 weeks gestation.  We will come to a mutual agreement as to whether that will be monthly payments or one lump sum at week 36.  Monthly or bi-weekly payment plans can also be made for product and product packages, but please be aware that no product will be released from the studio until full payment has been made.

I do offer discounts when 2 or more services are booked together, please see my individual service pages for more information.


Do you use flash?  What if I want my birth dark?

It really depends on the birthing environment.  I have a high level professional camera, so I can use it in dark conditions, yet the darker it gets, the more grainy the images become.  If I use flash, it will be put in a corner of the room and bounced off the corner ceiling.  As much as I would love to get perfect exposure with the use of flash, you have the ultimate decision.  If my flash is bothering you, getting you out of your labor groove, I need to respect that and will turn it off.  Unfortunately, one thing I am not able to control is the audible click of the shutter.


How long will it take to get my photographs?

I like to be able to show you the images typically within 3 weeks of the birth.  I will come to your home, because I remember how hard it can be to get out of the house with a newborn.  I suggest that you don’t have anyone else at the initial viewing, since you will be seeing everything, and I don’t know the relationship you may have with your parents or in-laws.


Will they be color or black and white?

It depends.  Some birth images do not do well in color, possibly due to the amount of blood, or vastly clashing colors of the room and people in it.  In editing, I will typically edit all to black and white, and show you both options.  Then you can choose which images go into your final products.

Do I get a CD of all my images?  What if I want prints?

I offer a few different product packages.  They include things like prints, digital images, albums, and slideshows.

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