BIRTH STORY FAQ
Who should hire a birth photographer?
Most people don't think twice about hiring a photographer to be present at their wedding.. but what about when it comes to the birth of a child? This is a major, transformative event in your life, as well! To be able to look back on the excitement, the tears, the small moments maybe otherwise missed in between it all, and everyone who was there to welcome your babe into the world is a priceless gift. Birth photography may seem uncommon or foreign to some who have never seen or experienced it before - especially to husbands! - but if you ask any parent what the best day of their life was, their answer will likely be "the day my child was born." Having a birth photographer present on you & your child's big day frees up the hands and minds of your spouse, family members and anyone else who may be present to help welcome your little one into the world! This allows those people to offer you their undivided attention and support when you may need it most. A professional birth photographer also has the right equipment and experience to capture precious photos that are sharp, not blurry, and to manipulate lighting and tight spaces so that no important details are lost in the dark!
How many births do you book per month?
I am currently only accepting 1-2 on-call birth clients per month.
Will I meet you before birth?
Yes! If you are birthing at home I would like to come over to your house to meet you so that I may scope out the space that I will be working in, get a feel for lighting, etc. If you are birthing in a hospital we can meet for coffee, in a park - wherever is convenient for you. I like to meet my clients and maintain a relationship in the weeks before you give birth so that it doesn't feel like you have a stranger in the room on your big day. I think it is very important that you have the most peaceful, perfect environment during labor and delivery with the least amount of stress and negativity as possible.
When should I book you?
Since I am only able to accept a certain amount of clients per month, it is best to contact me and pay your initial retainer fee as soon as you decide that you'd like me to attend your birth so that I can reserve your due date in my books.
How long will it take to get my images?
Unless you have declined a model release form, I will post a 'happy birthday!' sneak peek of your babe within about a day of his/her birth for you to share with family / friends on social media with your permission. I will also provide you with a few additional sneak peeks for yourselves and to share with any friends / family members within the following few days. Your complete collection will be ready within 4-6 weeks after birth - sometimes sooner!
Will my images be in black & white or color?
This is up to YOU! If & when you decide to book your birth story with me you will receive a questionnaire in your e-mail to complete along with your contract. One question that I ask is which you prefer - color or black & white. Images that are taken in very low light may only be provided in black & white.
What is the difference between on-call + off-call birth story packages?
The main difference in on-call + off-call packages is just what it sounds like - on-call time.
When I am on-call for a birth client, I do not travel outside of the local area, I do not schedule other on-call birth clients or weddings in the weeks surrounding your due date and I will up + run from my own family functions, events and even reschedule other portrait sessions in order to attend your birth. If I am sick or for some other reason unable to attend your birth I will contract + utilize my backup photographer to attend and photograph your birth (I would still edit and deliver your gallery!)
When I am hired for my off-call package my clients simply contact me once active labor begins + say something like, 'hey, I'm in labor - are you available to come document my birth?' If I am not at another session, in the middle of a family function, out of the area, etc. I respond, 'yes,' send an invoice to the client for the remaining $500 to be paid and then head in to photograph their birth as soon as payment is submitted!
If I am NOT available, I simply respond as such and ask that they please let me know once baby arrives so that we may schedule a day/time for me to come in for their Fresh 48 (which at this point is what their contract would default to and has already been paid in full via their retainer fee!) Backup photographers are NOT contacted or utilized at all if I am unavailable when an off-call client goes into labor.
When should I call?
As soon as you feel any changes at all, please text or call me! I cannot stress this enough. It is always better to err on the side of caution and end up telling me way too early than telling me too late! I have young children of my own whom I may need to find care for, and may need to move around my schedule. That being said, I will head to your place of birth when you are in active labor. Please designate a support person to stay in contact with me & let me know where you're at. Depending on your labor choices, (i.e. not getting checked often/at all for dilation,) you will just need to listen to your body & let me know when I should come. If you are getting checked & find out that you are 5-6cm dilated, that is generally a good time for me to join you. This is not a fail-proof rule but staying in constant communication is the best way to ensure that I get there in time for your birth, while at the same time not hovering around you needlessly and making you feel like a watched pot.
What if I go into labor before my due date?
Many people do! Please do not stress over this - simply contact me as soon as possible. I will likely still be easy to track down and have a very reliable and local backup photographer whom I work closely with and can contact if you are an on-call client.
If you know that you will deliver early due to multiples, medical reasons, etc. please simply communicate this to me in your initial contact - although I am technically not on-call for clients until 36 weeks we can adjust this if we are aware that you will be delivering sooner with no problem!
What if you are sick or can't make it to the birth for some reason?
While I do not get very close or touch your baby during a birth story session, I believe the delivery environment should be as free of germs as possible. I will not attend your birth if I am running a fever, have a new cough, sore throat or congestion. If I am recovering from a cold I will voluntarily wear a mask and double check with you that you are comfortable with me attending. If I am too sick to attend, I will first contact my backup photographer to see if she is available. If she is not, all payments will be returned in full. I am generally a very healthy individual and this has yet to ever happen, however - so do not stress over it!
Will you interact with us during labor and delivery?
I am perfectly content to stand back in the shadows and not make a peep, but there may be times that we will have more interaction. Particularly depending on the intensity & stage of your labor. I do not do any posing or adjusting, unless it is for modesty purposes, helping you to fix your hair if it has gotten a little crazy, or quickly getting a great first family photo after birth!
How long will you be at my birth?
Since birth is so unpredictable, I don't like to set a time limit on birth sessions - but I am in it for the long haul! I do reserve the right to leave to take care of my children and freshen up if birth is not imminent or labor is stalled. I will come back, and please do not worry about having to pay extra for me to make more than one trip. I, myself, have been in & out of the hospital countless times with preterm labor with my own children and understand that these things happen!
I will also stick around for 1-2 hours after baby is born to capture your first moments with baby, weights + measurements, etc. Before I leave I will check in with you to make sure there is nothing else that you'd like captured.
What if I want you to leave during labor or delivery?
Simply ask! This is YOUR labor and delivery and you get to choose who is there - you never have to worry about hurting my feelings! If you need some private time, just let me know!
What if something goes 'wrong' during the birth?
We will discuss this when we meet before your baby's birth, but unless otherwise specified, and if the situation allows, I will continue shooting. I have, unfortunately, been faced with these situations in the past and am very aware of what is appropriate and allowed to be photographed in our local hospitals and will follow such guidelines. If a loss of life occurs, post-birth photos will be put into a separate folder in your collection in case you are not quite ready to see them when they arrive. While hard to see, these photos may be very helpful during the healing process after a traumatic birth experience.
What if I require a cesarean birth?
While I have formed incredible relationships with many local hospitals + medical providers in the area, it is your responsibility to communicate with your OB & to advocate to have me in the OR if you would like me there. If an emergency situation were to arise & there is no time for communication and I am not allowed in the OR, if possible, I will hand my camera to someone who will be there so that they can capture the moments inside the OR as best as they can, and I will continue taking photos as soon as baby has been stabilized and is with your support person, in the nursery, etc. It is especially nice to have a birth photographer with cesarean births because mom misses a lot of moments once baby and your support person come out of the OR & you are still being cleaned and stitched up! Instead of having to merely rely on others to tell you the stories of those moments from their own memories, you will also have images of those moments to help you better experience them.
It is ultimately your medical staff & the anesthesiologist who make the decision and your request weighs infinitely heavier than mine. I am overjoyed to be present at every birth experience - from home births to scheduled cesareans.
How modest are the images that you will take?
I am a fairly modest birth photographer in general. We will discuss all of this at your client meeting, but from my experience most moms like having some graphic photos taken at the moment of birth, but only modest photos are used in any online publication with signed model releases. We will talk about your preferred level of modesty, specific things you would/would not like me to capture, etc.
Are you going to post my photos on the internet?
You will make any decisions regarding publicity and marketing permissions when signing your contract & filling out your client questionnaire. Please know that any images shared publicly will be 'appropriate for grandma's eyes,' and, also, approved by you first. You are certainly welcome to simply decline signing a model release - there is an option listed for families who wish to go this route on your paperwork!
Do you use flash?
I do not use a flash during birth stories unless absolutely necessary. I have invested in professional grade equipment that allows me to shoot in low light conditions. If there will be a significant difference in the quality of your photos, I will simply turn on/up as little lighting as possible and gently as you if it is OK. Of course, you reserve the right at any time to tell me to turn them down, and I will do the best that I can with what light I have, but the photos will have more noise, motion-blue and greatly affect quality without a light source. I find that moms who are investing a substantial amount in professional birth photography are OK with the lights being raised when necessary. If you know that you like to labor without any lights on at all, then I am not the birth photographer for you!
Do you offer a gift registry or gift certificates?
Yes! In fact, birth photography is now a popular gift at baby showers for parents-to-be! Please contact me if you would like more information on this.
If you have any other questions or concerns that I have not covered in the above information please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail or the contact button here on my website! I look forward to hearing from you very soon!