Birth Photography Costs | Pensacola, FL + Mobile, AL

So you want to hire a birth photographer! Excellent choice. You've done your research, know who's work you love and why you want a birth photographer. You know the things to ask before hiring a birth photographer...but how much is it all going to cost?

Brace yourself. 

A reputable and experienced birth photographer isn't cheap. The average cost of birth photography runs from $1500-$3500 depending on the level of services offered. In general, you should expect to pay as much as you would for a reputable and experienced wedding photographer in your area. Did your eyes just pop out of your head? How could it possibly cost THAT MUCH to come and snap a few pictures for an hour or so? Stick with me and let's unpack that

how-much-is-birth-photography

BIRTH IS UNPREDICTABLE

It is impossible to time arrival so that your photographer is only there for the moment of delivery or just after. I, like most birth photographers, aim to arrive in your birth space near the transition phase of labor (approximately 6-7cm dilated). This gives us the most assurance that we will not miss the delivery, but that you are still far enough along in your labor that birth that we aren't hanging around thru periods of little activity or when you are trying to rest. Still, once your birth photographer arrives, there is no way for her to know if she is going to be there for 4 hours or 24 hours.

In general, labor progresses at a rate of about 1 cm per hour, but this isn't a hard, fast rule. Every woman is different, every baby is different and every labor is different. I've had mamas fly thru and go from 5cm to here's-your-baby in an hour. I've also had mamas push for 3 hours. Your birth photographer has to charge enough to account for the possibility that she may be working for 24 hours straight.

Pricing is usually fixed so that you don’t have to worry about additional costs if your labor stalls or takes much longer than expected.

average-cost-of-birth-photography-pensacola-florida

THE WORK ISN’T DONE WHEN WE LEAVE THE BIRTH

The time we spend capturing your birth is only a small part of the process it takes to make your images great. Hospital lighting is pretty awful, and it takes quite a bit of time editing your images to turn them into the magical memories we deliver. We have fancy cameras capable of recording much better pictures than smart phones and the average camera marketed to consumers, but the real work is still done in post processing.

cost-of-birth-photography

RUNNING A LEGITIMATE BUSINESS COSTS MONEY

Equipment maintenance, backup equipment, licensing fees, taxes...these are expenses that every small business incurs. Not to mention the expenses that come along with always being on-call: backup photographers, on-call childcare providers, etc. We have to make sure we are taking in enough to run a sustainable business, meet our commitments to clients, AND make a living.

Why should that matter to you? Because the last thing you want at 38 weeks pregnant is to get a refund and a ‘no-longer-in-business’ email from the person you were expecting to capture your birth, have your photographer fall ill or their only camera fail or break in the middle of your birth (with no backups), or (worse) to call when you go into labor and receive no answer at all.

It is important to protect your investment by hiring a photographer who is running a legal and sustainable business.

birth-photography-average-costs

WE HAVE FAMILIES TOO

Yes, we birth photographers LOVE what we do so much that it rarely feels like work. Still, it's a job that requires sacrifice, mostly from the people who love us. We plan family time and vacations around the 3-4 weeks that we are on-call for our clients, miss holidays and other important events to attend births, and generally put you before our own families. Yes, we absolutely feel privileged to do the work we do, but ultimately this is our JOB. We do it to help support our families financially and we have to make an adequate wage to continue to offer the services we do.

The key thing to take away from this is that the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ always rings true. Photographers who do not charge within that average range are likely not earning enough to account for their business costs and personal salary. They will eventually find themselves in situations where they are unable (or unmotivated) to keep the commitments they have made to clients and ultimately, go out of business altogether. I’ve seen it more times than I can count. You don’t want to be the client who’s ball gets dropped.

Keep reading for some tips on how to get the birth photographer of your dreams…

birth-photographers-pensacola-mobile-crestview

HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FINANCIALLY

If you desire birth photography, we really want to do everything we can to make sure you have it. Here are a few things you can do or ask about that can help soften the blow to your bank account.

1. Start saving BEFORE you are pregnant. If you know you'll want it, start putting funds aside for it NOW. It really doesn't take long to accumulate enough savings to make the expense so much more palatable when the time comes. 

2. Reach out to your favorite photographer early. I promise, we won't think you're crazy for emailing us to say "I'm not actually pregnant yet but...". We'll happily send over all of our information, friend you on social media, and be waiting for the moment we get to celebrate with you over the pregnancy announcement. 

3. Ask for a gift registry listing. You have friends a family out there that are going to want to shower you with gifts. Let them know how much birth photography means to you. I’m more than happy to set up a page where friends and family can directly contribute any amount they choose toward your birth photography package. Share it on social media, you never know who might feel inclined to bless you with a little something. Dollars add up!

4. Ask for a payment plan. Most birth photographers are moms too. We know how expensive preparing for a baby can be. We also know how much having pictures from your birth will mean to you when all is said and done. It is our greatest joy to be able to give a mama back the memories of the moments she missed or has forgotten about. We don’t want money to be the reason you miss this opportunity to begin building a history for your family and a legacy of love for your tiny little human. 

5. Opt for a Fresh 48 instead. This birth space session is a truly fantastic alternative to actual birth coverage. It is a shorter session, (scheduled during business hours) within 48 hours of delivery. The investment for a Fresh 48 is significantly less than birth photography, but the resulting images can still feel very similar as we are able to capture many of the same moments and details of the birth space. In fact, all of the images in this post are from a Fresh 48.

 

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Birth Photographer

As birth photography rapidly grows in popularity, many budding (and seasoned) photographers have a desire to throw their hat in the ring and offer this service to expecting mothers. I get it! Birth is exciting and having the opportunity to capture one is a special honor. When I first looked into birth photography for myself, and even when I started photographing births, I had not heard of anyone in Pensacola, Florida or the greater Gulf Coast area offering birth coverage. Now it seems that it is a genre that MANY new photographer want to break into. Particularly if they are already photographing maternity or newborns.

180108-Infinger Birth-21.jpg

So how can you, as an expectant mother, ensure you are hiring the right person for the job? It's important that you protect yourself by investing in a the services of a professional who has experience in birth work, availability to be on call, and can consistently produce quality images in poor lighting conditions. Here are a few questions to ask as you are considering hiring a birth photographer to capture those once in a lifetime moments. 

Does the photographer have a portfolio?

Every professional photographer should have a portfolio of work they can share with you. Honestly, you should be able to find it easily on their website. But don't stop there. A portfolio is a collection of the BEST work and may not be a true representation of a photographer's over all abilities. Ask to see an an entire birth gallery or a slideshow of a single birth so that you can see how the entire process is captured. If you are considering a photographer that has not photographed a birth, at the very least you should evaluate a session shot indoors, such as a newborn lifestyle session.

Are the images clear, in focus and consistent in style?

Can you see detail in each photo? Are the images crisp and clear? Are they too bright (overexposed) or too dark (underexposed)? Are the skin tones, color and editing style consistent across the whole gallery for a single session? If the images are blurry, not properly exposed, or don't have a consistent style, the photographer is probably not experienced enough to take on a birth. Just because a photographer can produce good portraits in daylight, does not mean she can turn out quality photos in a birth. Most births take place in low light. Even in the daytime, laboring mothers tend to like the light dim. Given these conditions, and the fast paced nature of birth, it is crucial that a photographer know how to maneuver their camera settings quickly to capture clear images. 

Crestview-birth-photographers

Does the photographer use pro equipment?

An entry level DSLR camera (or worse, a point-and-shoot' or iPhone) is not capable of producing professional quality images in the vast majority of birth spaces. A professional birth photographer will have a variety of professional equipment capable of handling any lighting situation - home, hospital, birthing center, etc. Your photographer should have at least two camera bodies in their kit (a main camera, plus a back-up in case of camera failure), multiple lenses, memory cards, batteries, and at least one flash that attaches to the camera. The pop-up flash integrated into the camera should NEVER be used in birth photography...or really at all by any professional.

Is the photographer available 24/7 in the weeks surrounding your due date?

If you are expecting a photographer to attend your birth, you need to be certain that they are available to be on-call for you in the weeks surrounding your due date. Even with a scheduled cesarean, a mom can go into spontaneous labor earlier than expected and surgeries can be postponed. Most professional photographers offer an on-call period of two weeks before your expected due date and 1-2 weeks after. This means she is available to come in around the clock (usually when you are around 6cm dilated) and stay for the duration. Middle of the night, holiday, the day of her kid's dance recital, everyday, every minute. Here's a big one...don't ask your wedding photographer to take on your birth. They may be an amazing photographer and truly want to meet all of your family's photography needs, however it is a conflict of interest. Their bread and butter is weddings and the wedding they are contracted to attend will always take precedence over your birth. 

mobile-alabama-birth-photographer

Does the photographer have a reliable back-up?

Let's face it. Shit happens. Illnesses, accidents, and emergencies are an unavoidable part of life. Not an single person on this earth can 100% guarantee their presence at your birth. Not your doctor, not even your spouse! Nor should you want anyone to in your birth space if they are sick. A professional birth photographer will have a back-up plan in place for you. They will have at least one backup photographer to attend you if needed (preferably a whole network of people to call on). Their backups will also be professionals with birth experience, who will conduct themselves appropriately in the birth space and deliver images very similar to the style you're expecting. 

Is the photographer familiar with birth and respectful of the rules and process?

Birth photography isn't just about getting 'that shot'. It's about documenting the whole of your experience as you labor, deliver, and bond with your baby. This is YOUR birth and your birth photographer should be a supportive member of your birth team. You should feel confident that she will respond to your cues, be respectful of your birth space and plan, stay out of the way of medical personnel. Read reviews or ask for a reference from one of her previous clients. You should hear something like 'I didn't even know she was there' or 'she was very supportive of my needs'. It is important that a birth photographer be knowledgable about the process of birth, and the rules of the hospital or birth center as well. 

mobile-alabama-birth-photographer

What is the photographer's personality?

If you are planning an unmedicated hospital birth or home birth, it is especially important for your photographer to be invested in protecting the sanctity of your birth environment. She should possess a calming presence and positive energy. Even if your plan is to have an epidural at the hospital, your birth photographer should not be perceived as anxious, stressed, or overbearing. I realize this can be hard to determine over written communication or even in a face-to-face consultation, but it is something to evaluate. 

Will the photographer respect your privacy?

Birth is an intimate event and the choice to share your images should be completely up to you. Many women interested in birth photography are naturally open to sharing images from their birth with the world. Some aren't and that is totally ok. Photographers who are just starting out in birth may offer special 'portfolio building' deals. Be aware that you are agreeing to allow the photographer to share your images by accepting these deals. Read all contracts and separate model releases carefully so that you know exactly what you are agreeing to.

pensacola-birth-photographers

Is the photographer running a legal business?

A professional photographer will have a business license, pay taxes, and have insurance for their equipment, business, and liability. Why should you care about that? You want the person you hire to capture your baby's birth to be a true professional who delivers everything as promised. Hiring a legit business owner protects you and ensures you receive what you've paid for. There are so many stories of photographers who took a client's money, went out of business and were never heard from again or who photographed an event and never delivered the images. Additionally,  supporting small businesses that are conducting themselves legally is just the right thing to do. Owning a business is not easy or cheap. Especially when that business takes them away from their family and other clients at a moment's notice and for hours on end. Supporting a law abiding business is truly what's best for everyone.

What does the photographer charge for her services?

Having a baby costs a lot of money! You may be tempted to choose a birth photographer with cheaper prices, but BEWARE! Inexpensive photographers tend to be less experienced, use equipment that isn't up for the technical demands of birth work, and may not be running a legitimate business. If you are using the justification that SOME pictures are better than NO pictures, you may want to consider asking a family friend to come and take photos for you rather than hiring an inferior or unlicensed photographer. Keep in mind that a birth photographer has to be on call for you 24/7 for 3-4 weeks straight. She has to maintain a lifestyle that will allow her to leave her family at the drop of a hat for an indeterminable length of time. It takes THOUSANDS of dollars of equipment and hundreds of dollars annually in licensing, insurance fees and countless other business expenses to run a business. Anyone who is not accounting for those expenses and charging appropriately to cover them, is probably not a professional and definitely isn't running a sustainable business. Photographers specializing in birth photography often offer payment plans and gift registries to help manage costs. 

Birth photography is a luxury service. As with any such luxury, the value is in the quality of the product and the reliability, competence, and experience of the provider. Make sure you are protecting your investment by hiring a legitimate and experienced professional. 

Organizing Your Family Photos

As mothers, we wear many hats: charge nurse, head chef, housekeeper, chief financial officer, manager, chauffeur...the list is endless. We're the keepers of everything and the historians of our families. I've found that having tools and systems in place to help keep me stay organized is key for managing my family (and business) life and memories, without loosing my mind. Not that things don't fall apart on me now and again, they do...usually when I slack on my planning and organizing. 

What I want to talk to you about today is my favorite tool for organizing family photos. It's actually my favorite editing software suite, which I use primarily for my photography business, but I have found it to be a powerful tool for organizing my family photos too (phone photos included!). It's Adobe Lightroom Creative Cloud (or CC). 

Organizing-photos-in-lightroom

Lightroom is a software program that photographers have been using for years to catalogue and edit their images. We're not going to get into the editing side here. Instead, we're going to focus on the cataloging features and how you, as a mom, can harness the power of this feature to make it easy to find the photos you're looking for, sort your keepers from your rejects, and compile selections for albums/printing/sharing, AND easily get photos from you phone onto your computer. Sound amazing? It is! And there is so must more to learn than I am about to show you. 

Want to learn in all? Get on the waiting list for the next Mom Workshop: CLICK HERE

Now, If you've looked into getting Lightroom, you're probably pretty confused about all of the options. I'm going to help you understand them all and show you how to make the organization features of both Lightroom CC, Lightroom CC Mobile, and Lightroom Classic CC work for you. (Whether you are taking photos with a fancy camera, GoPro, or just your iPhone.) We'll cover all three over a couple of different posts.

The first piece of the suite I want to cover is Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. This is the desktop version of Lightroom, the most functional piece of the suite and my workhorse program. It is what I recommend you start with if you are shooting images on a DSLR or any dedicated camera - meaning you have to take the SD card out and stick it in your computer to transfer the images. Let's dive in...

THE LIBRARY MODULE

Lightroom is composed of several modules that allow you to do different things with your images. We'll only be unpacking the Library module where you can import, view, filter, and organize a lifetime's worth of photos. I'm going to take you thru some of the most useful features. I've created (somewhat rambling and oft interrupted by children) videos walking you thru the features and how you can use them. 

Set up and Importing

The first the you need to do to get started is to set up your catalogue and import some photos. This is easier shown than verbally explained, so just watch the video walkthrough. 


Viewing

The Library module offers several view modes that let you see your photos in different sizes and compare them. 

1) Grid: The grid view displays your photos as thumbnails and gives you an overview of the entire catalogue or specific groups of photos. You can also rotate, sort, organize, and manage images or several images at once.

2) Loupe: The loupe view displays a single photo. Here you can zoom in and out. From the grid view, you can double click a photo to see it in loupe view. 

3) Compare: The compare view allows you to display 2 photos side by side. This is helpful when deciding which photo(s) of a series to keep.

4) Survey: The survey view is like the compare view, but for more than 2 photos. It allows select and view a small group of images and take action on them.

5) People: The people view uses Lightroom's face recognition feature to allow you to tag the people in your photos and search for those people later. As you add names it will suggest names for you to tag. This is brilliant.


Selecting Photos

The left panel in the Library module displays all of the folders of images you have imported. These are mirrors of the folders you have your images stored in on your hard drive. You can use this panel to navigate your folders and easily view certain collections. You can also move images from one folder to another.

Clicking on any image in your photo grid or on the film strip below, makes it an active photo. You can select multiple images by clicking them while holding down the Ctrl key (PC) or Command key (Mac). From here you can set images as keepers or rejects and further label preferred images with star ratings or colors.


Finding and Filtering Photos

When you have hundreds or thousands of images, locating the image your looking for might not be as easy as selecting a folder. This is where the Library Filter bar at the top of the Grid view comes in handy. The filter bar allows you to find photos by various times of metadata: keywords, rating, color label, and more.


Photo Collections (THE BEST PART!) 

Collections are another way to organize photos in Lightroom. They allow you to group photos from anywhere in your catalog in one place for east viewing or performing different tasks. Photos in a collection can be reordered, assembled into a slideshow or used to create a photobook. Additionally, creating and utilizing collections in Lightroom Classic CC is the foundation for syncing images between Lightroom CC and Lightroom CC Mobile.  


READY TO GET STARTED?

CLICK THE BANNER TO START USING LIGHTROOM

Lightroom is a subscription based service. It's $9.99 per month and you can pay that monthly or yearly. Considering how easy it makes backing up and syncing images, attributes, and edits from your phone to your computer and back again, I think it's worth every penny. Especially if you're serious about printing your images or making yearly photobooks of your family photos. There is a 30-day trial available, but only for Lightroom CC (which I will show you next time). Lightroom CC has the same features and functionality of Lightroom Classic CC, but it is cloud based and has a very different looking user interface. 

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

CLICK HERE AND COME TO A MOM WORKSHOP!

This was a ton of information and it's just the tip of the iceberg. If you're interested in learning more, sign up to be notified when I host workshops. My workshops are limited to small groups and there is always plenty of time for questions and hands on help. Click here and be the first to know when the next workshop is.

Friday Photo Adventures | Pensacola Photographer

I am constantly trying to be more intentional about taking photos of my own kids. You know, with the fancy camera I use to take everyone else's pictures as opposed to just my iPhone. It's a struggle. I'd love to take it everywhere, but it's heavy and expensive. When there are other goals for the day, like having fun or making sure kids don't get lost/hurt (I'm a total helicopter mom), the last thing I want to do is lug around a piece of equipment and worry about it getting lost, stolen or damaged. 

pensacola-photographer

I had this idea to start taking them on mini local adventures, with the singular goal of capturing them exploring and having fun. And keeping it short so I'm not committed to lugging a camera around for an extended period of time. 

pensacola-photographer

For this first one, we stuck close to home. Our neighborhood is a new development and there are large pieces of land on either side also awaiting development. Every time I drive by, the glorious afternoon light catches my eye. Checking out my sun positioning app, I noticed that one of these properties had what must have been a driveway that extended much farther than it seemed from the road. So I grabbed the kids one beautiful Friday and dragged them out for a little hike. 

pensacola-photographer
pensacola-photographer

Isla was actually pretty dang unhappy about the whole thing. She hates having her picture taken and is at that age where there is just attitude about everything. This day was no different and there was a lot of sulking (and me telling her to suck it up and act happy for 10 minutes). But once I got her running and twirling the blanket all around, she started to have a little bit of fun and give me the carefree expressions I was hoping for. Whew!

pensacola-photographer
pensacola-photographer

Jack-Jack is always happy to ham it up for me though. He takes direction well and is never stingy with his smiles. He had such a great time chasing his sister around.

pensacola-photographer
pensacola-photographer
Pensacola-photographer

We only spent about 20 minutes walking around and exploring this great little spot. The light and texture of the underbrush yielded some pretty awesome images. I'm already looking forward to our next photo adventure. 


 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Sweet Caroline | Milton Newborn Photographer

When a family books me for a newborn session, or any in home session, I always ask about their style and decor. It helps me to begin to visualize the session in advance and coordinate any wraps or blankets I might want to bring, just in case the family doesn't have something they want to use. 

When I received April's questionnaire back, she told me that they don't really have a style. They just decorate to their tastes and interests. She also told me about her cat Tugg, who is a treasured family member. April was excited to be having a girl and decorating the nursery with a cat theme. HOWEVER, some of the decor was being hand made by a grandmother and April hadn't seen it, wasn't even sure if it would be done before the newborn session. 

I'm sure you're probably thinking the same thing I was...a handmade-by-grandma cat themed nursery has the potential to veer into the realm of 'yikes'. 

Well hop on over here and have a slice of humble pie with me, because it was the most wonderfully fun and adorable nursery, with such a genuine feeling of warmth and sentimentality. Like an heirloom quilt that you just want to wrap yourself up in on a cold day. The custom felted wool cat mobile was my absolute favorite. 

milton-newborn-photographer

April and Ray were just as genuine and warm as the nursery. April claimed they would probably be awkward in front of the camera, but NO. Everyone was perfectly natural and ultra snuggly, which is always the best. They were a complete joy to hang out with and photograph for the morning. 

milton-newborn-photographer
milton-family-photogrpaher

Big brother Charlie was a ridiculous ham. We bonded over our shared love of avocado toast. And naturally, baby Caroline was perfectly sweet in her ruffle butt bloomers. Check them all out and, if you would, take a moment to leave a quick comment at the end. You will help April & Ray earn a free mounted 8x10 print from Caroline's newborn session. Fifty commenters are needed.

milton-family-photographer
milton-family-photographer

 Photo credit: Indie Pearl Photography

Natalie is a lifestyle family photographer serving Pensacola, FL and surrounding areas. With a passion for capturing candid family moments, she specializes in birth and newborn lifestyle photography. Natalie lives in Pensacola with her husband and two (very difficult to photograph) children. Besides photography, she has a passion for modern sewing projects and graphic design. 

Photo Credit: Indie Pearl Photography