I started to answer this question for my FAQ section but after trying to condense my reasons multiple times, I decided this needed it’s very own post! In today’s age of technology and social media, it is easy to see the event types that people typically hire a professional photographer for (weddings, first birthdays, Christmas card pictures, etc.). With cell phone pictures constantly improving and free access to anything a person could want to know on google or YouTube, it seems that there are even less things that people are willing to spend money on when it comes to documenting important moments and milestones. However, as a mother of 3 and someone who has both paid for professional photos and learned how to take my own, I am here to tell you my top 5 reasons why you definitely want to hire a birth photographer. I could probably write a 300 page book on different reasons that birth photography is so important and will definitely be writing more posts about some of them but this is my top 5 reasons why I think everyone should consider hiring a birth photographer!
This Is One Of The Biggest Days Of Your Life
Whether you are mom, dad, baby, adoptive parents, or anyone else involved in the birth, this is going to be one of the biggest days of your life. As the parent, you have probably read the books, joined the Facebook groups, attended the classes, planned the nursery, agonized over picking names, and everything else you felt you needed to do to plan and prepare for a new baby. From the time we find out our family is growing, we know that this is a huge, life-changing event. So why wouldn’t we want to document it like all of the other big events of our lives? For some reason we have come to believe that because birth is often a private and intimate event, it does not need to be remembered or recorded. However, I know that regardless of how you feel about sharing these photos with others or keeping them for yourself, you will never regret choosing to have this monumental life event photographed. I cannot tell you how many times I have looked through images from my own birth joyfully and have had many friends and clients tell me how much they cherished having the images from their births as well. My favorite comments are always from dads who are usually skeptical at first about hiring a birth photographer and always end up being so happy that they have the images.
There Are No Do-Overs
Not only is this event incredibly life-changing and absolutely worth documenting, it is also once-in-a-lifetime (obviously!). With so many events, if things do not go the way we want we can just re-do them or at least pretend to. I have even seen brides and grooms re-do their wedding photos because they were unhappy with something about the photos taken on their actual wedding day. Well I can assure you there is no way to re-do birth photos. Each birth is so unique and personal that even if you plan everything the same way with every child you deliver, no two births will ever be exactly the same. Birth is wildly unpredictable and if you are like me, you may be trying to plan every last detail of how you want your birth experience to go. So when things start changing or going differently than you imagined, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. If you choose to have your birth documented, you can rest assured that no matter what happens, you will always be able to remember your story as it actually happened. I am SO thankful for the images I have of my second daughter being born because without them I would have no real recollection of what happened or how we looked at each other the first time I held her on my chest. You will never have a chance to re-live that moment and I promise you will want to be able to remember it for the rest of your life.
Everyone’s Focus Should Be On You And Baby
A lot of people ask if their partner/mom/doula/friend can take pictures of their birth and they certainly can. Birth photography is a luxury and not everyone can afford it even with registries and payment plan options. However, for those who CAN afford it you definitely won’t ever regret hiring someone to capture the story for you. Labor is hard. No matter how you get your baby into this world, the physical and emotional demands of birth are overwhelming. When you welcome people into your birth space, it should be people you trust to help and support you through this life-changing event. If someone is responsible for taking pictures then their focus can’t be on supporting you fully. Also, someone close to you may not be able to document the story in it’s entirety because they are too caught up in supporting you or worried about things going on during the process. I have had 3 children and have supported friends and clients during many births so I guarantee that if you hire me, I am prepared to stay out of the way of your loved ones and medical staff to tell your story authentically and unobtrusively. To add to this, if someone is with you during labor in any capacity, they are a part of your story and you will want the images that tell what their part of the experience was as well. You don’t want a million pictures of the same thing and none with your husband or mom in them because they were behind the camera the whole time. Having a birth photographer ensures that you will have plenty of images of everyone involved to look back on and remember the day as it truly was.
Birth Photography Is NOT Easy
Most people know that babies come when they are ready. Even if you plan a c-section or induction, there are many factors that can change when and how you give birth. For this reason, birth photography is incredibly difficult. Cell phones have come a long way but taking pictures in poorly lit situations or rapidly-changing environments is still tricky even with a cell phone. Not to mention the quality of the images taken on a cell phone will not be representative of the significance of your story in the pictures. An experienced, professional birth photographer will know how to utilize ambient light (and artificial lighting if needed/allowed) in order to produce high-quality images that will withstand the test of time and continue to tell your story beautifully for generations to come. Whether you give birth in the early morning sun with the windows open or in the middle of the night with nothing but the spotlight on, your birth photographer will be able to document every detail and focus on the things that matter most. Also, when searching for a photographer, you should be looking for someone whose work you LOVE. Each photographer has their own style and creative vision which is what we use when telling your story authentically so make sure that you hire someone that has experience telling stories like yours whenever possible. When it comes to having pictures to remember the big moments in life, you will cherish anything you have even if it is blurry and dark from your mom’s cell phone. However, knowing that you have beautiful, artistic images to look through after the chaos of birth and having a new baby has calmed, is truly priceless.
And Finally, You Can Share The Story Of Your Children’s Birth With Them!
In my house, we answer all questions with age-appropriate honesty. My oldest daughter is only 4 and we have already been asked many times the dreaded “where do babies come from” question. She has seen mommy carry and deliver her sister and brother so, understandably, she has had a lot of questions over the last couple of years. However, in our house this question is NOT scary or hard at all. Maybe it is because we practice body-positive language and believe in the power of knowledge when it comes to our children having body autonomy but I also think it has a lot to do with having pictures of what actually happened. I have shared the images that I am comfortable showing and explaining and usually having the pictures in front of her answers her questions. Plus, it usually starts a great conversation about her own birth and life as a baby which she always loves to talk about. I really enjoy being able to share these images with her and her sister when they are curious about babies or pregnancy. I wish that I would have had a photographer for our oldest daughter’s birth even though it was a c-section and I truly believe that it would have helped me deal with a lot of the emotions and struggles I had postpartum. I cherish the images my mom took on her camera before and after but they definitely do not tell the whole story and we have to rely on mine and my husband’s (different) recollections of some of the details to tell her story when she asks. But despite that, one day I will use these images to tell my children and their children (if they decide to have them) how they all came to be and that is why I believe birth photography is invaluable and I hope that more people start to appreciate the beauty of birth. My hope is that one day birth photography will be just as appreciated and normalized as wedding photography because birth is just as important and deserves to be shared and talked about.