Why should I hire a birth photographer?
Hiring a professional to photograph your birth can seem like a foreign and strange concept to those who have never seen or experienced it before, particularly to husbands and fathers. But when you ask ANY mother or father when the best singular days of their life were, they will most likely answer “My wedding day, and the day my child was born.” We don’t think twice about spending a hefty amount to hire a professional on our wedding day, why should it be any different for the birth of your baby? Would you ask your wedding planner, your fiance, or even your mother to take the photos on your wedding day? Having a professional birth photographer capture these moments for you frees up your partner/doula/family member to just be present & free to support you during your birth process. The moments when you need your support team the most are usually when you need photos taken as well. Dad should CERTAINLY not be behind the lens of a camera or fiddling with an iPhone when his baby is entering the world & taking their first breaths! Their place is by their partner’s side, helping to catch their baby, or simply wiping away tears. Professionals also have the equipment and expertise to handle tricky lighting, tight surroundings & fast paced situations. A good birth photographer has discussed with you your desires regarding level of modesty, and knows how to capture the perfect shots from the best angles available at the moment. I cannot tell you how vast the difference is between the shots that my mom, the “amateur photographer,” took at my birth (even with a DSLR!) vs. what I take & edit for clients. You can see a post HERE with my personal birth photos for you to see the difference. Be kind. 😉 The other main component of my job that I offer as your photographer is to capture some of these amazing moments on video, which I use together with your still images to create a beautiful montage set to music. This is the primary product you are purchasing if you hire me as your birth photographer. Imagine sitting down with your child someday, maybe when they are graduating high school or having a child of their own, and watching the day of their birth together. The photos & video selected for your slideshow are as modest as you would like them to be, so that you can feel comfortable sharing it with as few or as many people as you’d like. The greatest compliment I have ever gotten, and yet I have it heard it several times particularly from fathers, is “I didn’t know quite what to expect, but I could not imagine not having this.”
How much does birth photography cost?
My basic photographic package is $1695, and video packages start at $1995.
Do you offer payment plans?
I do. $600 of your session fee is due at the time of booking to reserve your due date, and you can pay however often as you’d like up until 4 weeks before your estimated due date, which is when your final balance is due in full.
When should I book with you?
Because of the unpredictable nature of birth, the immense amount of editing work afterward, and being a work at home mom to a preschooler & a toddler, I can only schedule a very limited number of births at this time to give my clients the best attention I can. Please keep this in mind to reserve the time around your due date as early as possible! Please visit my What To Expect page for information on the steps to booking & leading up to your due date.
How far away will you travel to photograph a birth?
I will travel up to 40 miles away for a birth. I travel up to 20 miles away for a free consult.
Do you do maternity or newborn sessions ?
I have made the difficult decision to no longer offer maternity or newborn sessions to non-birth clients. Because of the need to be on call constantly, it has been proving to be too difficult to handle scheduled sessions in between. Especially for newborn sessions, it takes a great deal of work on the part of the new parents to prepare for their session, and I would hate to have to cancel or leave in the middle of a shoot because I get a call from another birth client. I am happy to refer you to some amazingly talented maternity and newborn photographers.
How, um, “graphic” will my photos be?
I am an extremely modest birth photographer in general. We 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 your slideshow and used in any online publication. We will talk about your preferred level of modesty & I will make note in your contract of specific things you would/would not like me to capture.
Do you use flash during a birth?
I generally do not. I bring my flash with me in case of an emergency, (baby is born in the car, on the sidewalk outside the hospital, in a pitch black room, etc.) but I do everything I can to not use it. 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 ask 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 I can with what light I have. But the photos will have more noise, motion blur, and greatly affects video quality. I find that moms who are investing a substantial amount in professional birth photography are okay with the lights being raised. If you know that you like to labor in pitch darkness, then I am not the birth photographer for you.
Will you be interacting with us at all during labor?
It all depends. In the time leading up to your due date, we will be in frequent communication to establish a relationship so that it does not feel like you have a stranger in the room. I believe it is essential for you to have your perfect, peaceful birth space with the least amount of uncomfortable or negative influences as possible. That being said, 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.
When should I call you if I go into labor?
As soon as you feel ANY changes at all, please give me a heads up!! I cannot stress the importance of this enough. It is always better to err on the side of telling me way too early than to tell me too late. I have a young daughter 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 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 you are about 5-6 cm dilated, that is generally a good time for me to join you. This is not a fail-proof rule, (as evidenced by the 13 hours of labor I attended after rushing to the hospital when a mom was at 8-9 cm upon checking in at the hospital!) but staying in constant communication is the best way to ensure 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 my birth takes a really long time?
I’m in it for the long haul! I do reserve the right after 10 hours to leave to take care of my daughters and/or freshen up and get some food, but I don’t want you to be worrying about how much you are paying hourly after a certain point. All packages include unlimited coverage.
How long do you stay after I give birth?
Usually 2 hours. If you have a quick labor though, I will stay longer after the birth to get more footage, possibly capturing things like extended family meeting baby.
What if I require a Cesarean birth?
It is your responsibility to communicate with your care provider & to advocate to have me in the operating room if you wish. If it is an emergency situation, there is no time for communication, and I am not allowed in the OR, if possible I will hand my backup camera to someone who will be there so that they can capture the birth as best as they can, and I will resume taking footage as soon as baby has been stabilized and with dad.
What if I schedule a Cesarean?
Again, it is your responsibility to communicate with your care provider & to make sure it is okay for me to be present in the operating room. I cannot stress enough how important it is for YOU and YOUR PARTNER to be the ones to request my presence should you need to enter the OR. It is ultimately your doctor & 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 homebirth to scheduled c-section.
What if something goes “wrong” during the birth?
We will discuss this during your client meeting, but unless otherwise specified, and if the situation allows, I will continue shooting. If something traumatic happens, those photos will be put into a separate folder in your gallery, in case you are not quite ready to see them when they are done. While hard to see, these photos may be very helpful during the healing process after a traumatic birth experience.
What if you get 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 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, vomiting, have a new cough, sore throat or congestion. If I am recovering from a cold, I will voluntarily wear a mask. I have an incredible network of backup photographers that can be called on in an emergency.
How does it work if a backup photographer has to attend my birth?
While I have yet to enlist the help of a backup (the one birth I missed was 6 weeks early, while I was out of town serving as maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding, and baby was born within 30 minutes of arriving at the hospital, so a backup wouldn’t have made it anyway,) and I hope to never have to, there are a few things we cover in regards to that situation. Beforehand, we will discuss who you would prefer to shoot your birth in the extremely slim chance that I would not be able to make it. (I provide you with a short list of available backups around your due date after you have paid your deposit and booked.) If a backup has to shoot your birth, they hand the RAW photos over to me for editing, and I handle the rest from there. If you have booked a video package, you will be refunded $400 if a backup has to shoot your birth, since none of my backups currently shoot video. There is no refund for a basic photography-only package.
How many images can I expect to get?
Usually 100-150 edited images, depending on the length of your labor.
Will my photos be in color or black & white?
Most of your photos will be come in both color and black & white versions, but all of them will be in color. I prefer to edit in color, and in fact, if some photos are a little too dark, you may receive only the color version.
Can I get copies of the raw video you take?
Sometimes it is great to see & the experience the raw moments I have captured for you, without any editing or music overlay. I take this footage primarily for use in your slideshow or film, but you can purchase 20 raw video clips as an add on to your selected package, which will come on your flash drive with your edited photos as well.
Are you going to post my photos on the internet?
All clients are offered the opportunity to receive a discount when a model release is signed, allowing me to share your final film and a select number of photos online. That being said, you will make any decisions regarding publicity and marketing permissions during our client interview, and reserve the right to change your mind after the birth. Only modest photos & video will ever be posted, and all slideshows/films are reviewed & approved privately before published.
Do you have doulas that you recommend?
Being new to the area, I do not know any yet that I feel comfortable recommending. I will update this page when I do!
Do you offer gift certificates?
Yes of course! What a wonderful gift it would be to receive coverage from a professional birth photographer and videographer at your birth! Until I have an electronic system set up, please contact me for more information.
Do you offer family or children’s sessions?
I sometimes offer mini sessions in the summer. Watch my Facebook page for details.
Do you offer mentoring for birth photography, videography, and editing video?
I do! At this time, I offer 2 hour sessions on Google Chat. The first session is $350*, which includes a questionnaire prior to your session, an outline of what we will cover, and post-session critique of your work from one future birth. Subsequent sessions are $300.* Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for availability and scheduling. I will also be teaching at the 2017 Off-Call Birth Photography Conference in Clearwater, FL. Join me there to learn all about color correcting for low light birth images!
*prices subject to change at any time*
Los Angeles Birth Photographer & Birth Videographer