I've compiled a list of the top 10 reasons preventing you from hiring a birth photographer and how you can overcome them. Let's see what made it into the top 10.
Number 1: Too Expensive
But what do you consider to be expensive? We all have our limits and we all value things differently. Why not take a peek at my previous blog is birth photography really worth the investment. When we see something we want there is a process we go through, you might have gone through it to find the right wedding photographer. Firstly, you do a lot of research, you visit lots of websites, and you might meet up with one or two of the photographers. We usually do all these things before we commit and hire them. You should be using this exact same process to choose your birth photographer. Birth photography can seem expensive if you've left it until the end of your pregnancy. Why not plan ahead, most birth photographers these days offer payment plans and a gift registry which can help make it more affordable. Also ask yourself, is the quality of the photography important to you? At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Don't let this be your number one reason for not hiring a birth photographer.
Number 2: My husband/partner doesn't like the idea of a birth photographer
I hear this quite a lot sadly, and it's something that frustrates the living daylights out of me. Hiring a birth photographer will not only benefit you and baby, it will benefit your husband/partner too. They are an integral part of the birth story. I offer free consultations in the comfort of your own home and insist your husband/partner takes some time out to join us before dismissing the idea of birth photography. Taking a moment to look into something that clearly resonates with you is not asking too much. Birth photography can capture so much more when you are both relaxed, connected and onboard with having a photographer around. Read some husband/partner perspectives here
Number 3: I might poo myself during labour
This is a very common worry, but listen, its just part of giving birth. I totally understand that you might not want images like this and you can rest assured I will respect that. Even if there was a tiny bit, I will use my Photoshop ninja skills and remove it (no problemo). Unless of course you're not bothered at all and completely embrace all the rawness of birth. I will endeavour to do what pleases you and what makes you happy and comfortable. Please don't allow this small detail which is perfectly normal at birth, stop you from hiring a birth photographer.
Number 4: I don't want my images all over the internet
I get it! I would NEVER hit publish for any work I have done without a signed model release form and the approval beforehand from my client. Birth is a very private and intimate place to be and I acknowledge that. I would like to add that I'm also a huge believer in the importance of sharing these images. I believe they help women and contribute to raising awareness of women's birth rights. Above all, these images provoke and open doors for women and men to have conversations about birth. Ultimately, whether you allow your images to be shared or not is your choice.
Number 5: The crowning shot
It's a fact, babies either come out of your vagina or your belly! The crowning shot is actually a very small part of your birth story (tiny in fact). Whilst the majority of women request the crowning shot, I respect the fact that other women might not. It's your call, but don't let the thought of having someone down there with a camera sway your decision. I always listen and adhere to my client's request and comfort levels. If the crowning shot is not wanted, an experienced photographer will seek other perspectives within the birth space, that's when we can get really creative! So, take a deep breath and if this is the reason stopping you, reach out and talk to a photographer about your preferences and comfort levels. We can work something out.
Number 6: Having another person in the room might spoil the atmosphere and natural flow of birth
This essentially boils down to who you hire to photograph your birth. This is where it's paramount you do some research and meet beforehand. The photographer you choose should at least have a basic understanding of each of the stages of birth. Be sure to read their testimonials, visit their websites and look through their gallery. They must be able to work quietly and unobtrusively (if you've requested no interaction of course) If you hire a photographer who can read the birth space, see the shot, take the shot and then disappear into the background, you'll have nothing to worry about. As birth photographers, we respect your space and this intimate time.
Number 7: You might miss the birth
Birth is unpredictable and we have no control or know how your birth story will unravel. No two birth stories are ever the same. Quick and precipitous births happen and therefore they are not the fault of the photographer or the client. There are a couple of measures you could take that might avoid missing the birth by telephoning the photographer as soon as your contractions have started. Giving the responsibility to call the photographer to someone else in your birth team and having the photographer's telephone number in a place everyone knows. If the actual birth is missed, most photographers (I certainly do) will still come and start documenting your story the moment they arrive.
Number 8: Worried things might go wrong or there are complications
None of us knows how your birth story will unfold and occasionally there are complications. I always ask my clients "would you like me to continue documenting if complications should arise". Whatever their answer may be I will respect it. This is a really difficult situation. In my humble opinion, I know that I would want moments like this documented and preserved. I know that one day there would come a time when I would want to see those images.
Number 9: You've convinced yourself your partner or friend can take some photos instead
You're right, they could and I'd rather you have some photographs of your birth than none at all. However, ask yourself is the quality of the images important to you? Do you want your partner in the images? Do you want them to enjoy the birth through their own eyes or through a device? What images have you seen of birth that have blown you away and prompted you to look into birth photography in the first place? I can say with some confidence that the images of birth circulating on the internet today, have been taken by professional birth photographers and not on mobile phones. Remember that this event will only happen ONCE.
Number 10: I'm worried I'll hate the way I look in the photographs
Truth is you WILL see yourself differently. You might not like the images straight away, but there will come a time when you will love them for the way they portray you and show your strength. Birth photography is not about making you look glamours, there's no posing or setting up a shot involved, it's pure documentary. There is something immensely captivating, witnessing a woman doing something utterly transformational. How your hair appears or whether or not you had time to apply some lippy is irrelevant. This is YOU, in your zone, in your emotional raw and bloody magnificent self - embrace it wholeheartedly because you are amazing, let me show you!
On a small personal note, my children are 14 & 10 years old, and as I dig deep into the wonderful possibilities that birth photography provides, I can't help but feel insanely jealous that this opportunity has passed me by. That my children will hear of their birth stories from fragmented recollections instead of actual photographs that show them the day they were born.
Wait, don't go just yet...
Do you love Instagram? (particularly birth photography accounts) Then you'll LOVE this!