Is it any wonder that the idea of hiring a birth photographer is soaring in popularity? The day you usher a baby earth side is the day you and your partner are truly and physically bound together for eternity. It is the day your family life begins and your legacy is built. In one instant you go from being two independent beings to a unit, wholly responsible for another life. Sure, your wedding day was (or will be) unforgettably beautiful, but your child's birthday is a whole new level of magical. A day that, no matter how imperfect it was or what else happens in this life, will always remain among your most treasured memories.
Maybe you're still on fence about inviting a virtual stranger in to such an intimate and private moment. Maybe your spouse or partner is against the idea or the cost. Maybe you feel the pictures you will all take on your smart phones will be good enough. Pictures are pictures right? Wrong.
I've been photographing births in Pensacola and the greater Gulf Coast area for the majority of my career as a photographer and there are a few things that my families tell me (over and over again) made hiring a birth photographer 1000% worth it. I'd like to share the top six reasons my moms have given for deciding to hire a birth photographer.
FOR THE WHOLE STORY
When my first baby was born I, like all first time moms, had no idea what to expect. I remember being astounded by just how intense and busy birth is. So many things happen simultaneously in a well orchestrated flurry of doctors and nurses. It is mentally (not to mention physically) exhausting and impossible to take in all of the details, even in the best and easiest of labors. To say nothing of the more complicated cases that take your baby completely out of your sight for minutes, hours, even days at a time.
As your birth photographer I can go where you can't go and see what you can't see. I am constantly looking to capture the important elements of the birth environment and emotional moments between you and your family that tell a complete story of your birth experience. Your spouse, partner, doulas and nurses have their hands full, and picture taking tends to take a backseat to making sure you have what you need, when you need it. Not to mention how hard it is to capture you and your partner working together as a team to bring this baby into the world, if one of you if holding the camera. When you let go, immerse yourselves in the experience, and leave the documenting to me, I am able to capture a progression of images that completely narrates your baby's WHOLE birth story. Everything you remember, everything you don't, and everything you didn't get to see.
FOR YOUR PARTNER
Birth can be an emotional roller coaster for BOTH parents. Having a birth photographer gives you both the freedom to focus on and enjoy the ride. Without a dedicated birth photographer, the job of documenting has most often fallen to the non-laboring parent. This is just so unfair to both parents. Dad doesn't get to be in the pictures because he's taking them all. He doesn't get to be fully present in the moment because he's seeing it all thru a lens. And mom doesn't get the full support of her partner when she needs it the most. Let him support you, hold his baby, and enjoy greeting guests without worrying about documenting it. Bonus, you also don't have to worry that he isn't taking enough pictures.
GIRL! I get it. You feel fat, swollen and very likely the least beautiful you have in your whole life...and even the skinniest of mamas falls victim to the dreaded triple chins when looking down to marvel at the baby that was placed on her chest. While I do my fair share of snapping whatever happens as it happens, I am also actively looking for angles that flatter you. I fix your hair when the bedhead starts to creep in, adjust your clothing when it gets weird and twisted, and yes, help you reposition to get rid of a chin or two. When no one else is thinking about it, I'm doing my best to ensure that you look your best and to capture images of you that you will feel good about.
FOR SUPERIOR QUALITY IMAGES
iPhones and point and shoot cameras are great for capturing the basics. But let's face it, the quality doesn't compare to what a pro can do. Birth is hands down one of the most difficult lighting situations to photograph in. Low light, harsh light, oddly colored light...almost never is the light ideal or even just 'good'. As an experienced pro I have the equipment and technical expertise necessary to ensure beautiful images regardless.
Birth doesn't usually go as planned. Not getting the birth or postpartum experience you hoped for can wreak havoc on your emotions and even leave a profound sense of disappointment or failure. Maybe it seems irrational to have a healthy baby and still harbor negative feelings about the birth, but listen...hormones. Being able to relive those moments thru your birth images can go a long way toward helping you to process any negative emotions surrounding the experience. The intense love, joy and connection you'll see in them might even change your perspective entirely.
Besides the new baby you got to take home with you, getting your birth photos back is the BEST thing! The reality of life with a newborn is setting in and sleep deprivation is getting real. Scrolling thru those birth photos takes you right back to that oxytocin high. Every single parent I've worked for has come back to me (usually in a puddle of happy tears) to say "we are so incredibly glad you were with us, we can't imagine not having these, and it was worth EVERY PENNY!" (That includes the dads who weren't keen on the idea of a birth photographer to begin with.)
But perhaps most importantly, photographs are our windows into the past. Our memories might fade with time and age (and babies change SO FAST), but pictures tell the stories exactly how we want remember them. Pictures allow us to share those memories with others. They help our children to know us as the people we were before we were their parents. To know who they themselves were before the times they can remember. Photos connect us to our family by allowing us to see the physical attributes we have in common. They give us a sense of who we might become. They show us how much we have been loved...right from that very first breath.
Now I'd love to hear your thoughts. Comment and tell me:
1) What is or was your number one reason for hiring a birth photographer?
2) If you didn't hire a birth photographer, why not? Do you regret it?
3) If you are on the fence about hiring a birth photographer, what's holding you back?
You might also enjoy this article: 10 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Birth Photographer