This one's kind of a long post, so for the TLDR (Too long didn't read) version, go here: http://greatexpectationsbirth.com/2015/03/08/6-reasons-to-hire-a-birth-photographer/
For the full version, lets get started. ;)
Before my first child was born and before I ever considered even doing birth photography, I was completely oblivious to the fact that such a thing existed. When I began planning my first birth, I was pleasantly surprised to find that that not only are there birth photographers, but there are many. Since joining the ranks, one thing I've noticed is that us birth photographers are notoriously dedicated to our craft. Our dedication to giving you the birth of your dreams is right up there with midwives, doctors, and doula's. We want you to have that perfect moment where your baby comes into the world, and we want to photograph you looking amazing while you do it. We want to empower and we want to inspire.
I believe that hiring a birth photographer is an essential addition in creating a well oiled machine of a birth team. You may think that the last thing you'd want at your birth would be some person running around with a camera, photographing all the intimate details of your life, but here are some reasons you might want to reconsider.
1. It can help you have a good grasp on the timeline of the events that took place.
It's easy to look at birth and think you'd remember every second of it. How could you not? The funny thing is, the brain sends signals to your body and tells it to cope with an overwhelming situation physically, and it's kind of got all hands on deck, to do it. Your focus is on nothing else but inward coping mechanisms and finding that zone inside yourself, where the warm fuzzies live. It's hard to focus on anything but the task at hand. A good birth photographer will have great shots of each location and memorable moment, in the order the events took place. It's nice to have something to reference, when you need a reminder of what happened and when. Birth photography helps fill all the little gaps, as well as adds an extra level of immersion to the story by giving a visual aid.
2. Your friends or husbands equipment and knowledge for this kind of thing is probably not that good.
Sorry, I know. That sounds mean, but it really tends to be the case.
Birth photographers have specific gear meant to capture low light situations in the most elegant way possible. We are often trying to find creative ways to bounce light, in a tight space. When we move through a room, we are thinking like a light meter. We are thinking things like, "If I bounce this light off this ceiling and wall, from this distance, will my subject be illuminated enough for a proper exposure?" We are also constantly weighing things like "I have 10 shots left, and my subject is in pushing phase. If this baby starts crowning, I could run out of memory, and miss the big entrance. I'd better reload". These types of instances are commonplace for us, but foreign for your average non-birthy person. Has your friend or husband been to a birth? Do they know how to read the subtle moments where a laboring mama needs some space and time to progress? Do they have the equipment and knowledge that it takes to get the shot, no matter the circumstance? If a woman births in the woods but no one is around to shoot it, does she still get photos? Chances are, the answer to most, (if not all) of these questions is, no.
3. No matter how much time members of your birth team think they'll have to take photos, chances are, they won't have much as much as they think.
This one kind of goes with the last one, but I feel it needs to be separated and emphasized, because of the misconceptions that arise prior to having your first kiddo. I totally did this too, with the birth of my daughter. I thought I could just set up a tripod and my husband or anyone in the room could just click the shutter. Yeah, none of that happened. The camera never left the bag. Also, birth is extremely organic. Birth moves. Birth doesn't stay in one place. Birth don't care.
The first time you have a baby, it is rarely the he way you envision it in your head. The entire process can be just as unpredictable for dad, as it is for mom. While there may be plenty of time during labor to capture some beautiful moments, there is most likely very little when it comes to the pushing phase. That's go time. Everyone has a job to do. When that time comes, the best place for the birth support, is holding a leg, or supporting mom, not taking pictures. That's what birth photographers are for.
4. A New Perspective.
There's something really interesting about watching your own birth from another persons perspective. It's like all of the sudden, you get a glimpse of what it must've felt like as the husband, doula, family member or onlooker. It can change the way a mother may have felt during the experience. When I had my second, it was a tough birth. He was a big baby and I had a lot of negative feelings during the birth; feelings that I couldn't do it; feelings of fear and apprehension. Seeing the images, after the fact, helped me come to terms with the event in a new way. I realized that all those negative feelings and emotions were mostly internal. They weren't caught on camera. They weren't externalized nearly as much as I'd thought. The feelings that were caught on camera were feelings of true effort followed by intense joy. They were feelings that were there too, even if I wasn't giving them the spotlight, in my own mind.
I have had clients who ended up with unexpected c-sections who were afraid to see their photos because they didn't get the birth they originally envisioned, but once they got to see the images, it gave them a new confidence that most of the fears they had during the event, were on the inside, and seeing how beautiful the final results were changed their entire outlook and gave them the sort of closure they needed. I think that's important, and it's something that can only be given through photography or videography. You can't go back and relive it through someone else's eyes without photos or video. That new perspective can change everything.
5. It's a once in a lifetime moment.
I know. Duh. I'm not reinventing any kind of wheel here, but allow me to elucidate.
According to "The Knot" The average wedding photographer costs $2440.00 as of 2013. Many people view their wedding as the most important day of their life. For me personally, it was my birth. I could have a million weddings and not reach the intensity of effort or the emotional and physical elation I felt after my children were born. The payoff of satisfaction was in spades. I'm glad birth photography exists so that it could be captured, and the experiences I had was what drove me to completely switch gears from wedding to birth photography.
I know that our field is not quite where weddings are, in terms of cost, but I hope one day it will be. It deserves to be. I hope people are beginning to see the value of having professional quality images from their birth. The service is truly priceless. I promise, if you hire a dependable, experienced professional, you won't regret it. Keywords there being "experienced professional". You WILL get more than your moneys worth. The old adage "you get what you pay for" most definitely applies in birth photography.
6. Wouldn't you love to see the day your were born?
I know I would. I really, really would.
I would give anything to see the looks on my moms face while she labored. I would probably cry when I saw the look on her face right after I came out. I know that viewing those images would probably strengthen our relationship. I might even revert to them in my head, when we had a scuffle or disagreement. It would be a healthy reminder that I was once her baby and that she once had the same feelings I do about being a mother, to love someone unconditionally, and to put your everything into another human being. Sadly though, I'll never get that chance. No one was there to document my arrival. Hospitals were much more restrictive to that sort of thing and in many cases, even the fathers weren't allowed into the rooms, let alone a birth photographer. The idea would have been crazy to many. The great thing is that times have changed immensely since then. Now you can have the ability to hire whoever you need for your birth and have them with you the entire time. Why not add a photographer to that list, to capture those once in a lifetime memories?
Can you think of more reasons? Leave them below in the comments! I'd love to read them!
- Bailey Nicole Photography