Congratulations!! Whether it’s your first bundle of joy or your fifth, you are probably a little overwhelmed with decisions. The opinions and advice of kind hearted family and friends is enough to make your head hurt, and of course, all of the information your care provider sends you home with in the infamous packet is enough to make anyone feel bogged down. What you thought would be easy tasks (choosing a doula, a childbirth class, a birth photographer, a newborn photographer) seem to be just as difficult as deciding on nursery colors or a baby name (I had to hide our car keys so my husband couldn’t go to the gym until we decided on a name). But they don’t have to be! Here’s a quick list of five things to consider when choosing your birth photographer (this can also be applied to choosing your newborn photographer, doula, or even midwife!)!
Does the photographer you’re considering have an extensive birth portfolio? What other images have they included in their galleries? Are the images consistent or are they all over the place? These are all important questions to ask when browsing through photographers you are looking to hire . If they don’t have many (or any) births in their portfolio, it’s likely they aren’t well experienced with them. When my husband and I decided to hire a photographer, the first thing I looked at while browsing the hundreds of birth photographers in Nashville were their portfolios. I think I’ve seen just about every birth photographer portfolio in the Nashville area. I had very distinct things that I was looking for. For instance, I love color. I’m a colorful person, and my own images reflect that. I didn’t want a birth photographer who shot exclusively in black and white because it didn’t fit me or my family. I wanted beautiful artistry that told and enhanced our story, not just snapshots or lucky shots. I’m pretty picky, but when it comes to birth photography, you need to be.
When it comes to birth, there are no do overs. Each child’s entrance into the world is as unique as the child itself. As part of your birth team, your photographer should have experience in all types of situations, from fast deliveries to slow labors and everything in between. They should know when mom needs peace and quiet and when she could use a dash of encouragement. Having an experienced birth photographer will ensure those all important first moments are captured artistically and modestly, preserving each moment seamlessly to tell your full story, a story of strength and power. An experienced birth photographer will know when and how to use a flash, how to compose images so they retain the details of the moment. An experienced birth photographer will leave you feeling confident that this birth, the only birth of this child, will be treasured and remembered for years to come.
A baby is never late, nor is he early. He arrives exactly when he means to. Everyone else must adjust to your baby’s timing, whether it’s middle of the day or middle of the night. This point was especially important to me when choosing my own birth photographer. The chances of me delivering early (pre 37 weeks) were fairly high, so my photographer had to be willing to be there, even if it fell out of her official on call time (which it did). Being on call means being ready and willing to drop the kids off with the sitter and speed… er… drive carefully and consciously to you. Birth photographers have to be available day and night and afternoon and evenings, Saturday’s and Sunday’s, to be ready when baby makes his or her arrival. Also, be sure they have a back up photographer! This is something I can never stress enough, and if you are currently pregnant and reading this and thinking about hiring a birth photographer, please please please make sure they have a back up system in place! If your photographer for any reason can not make it to your delivery, a back up is there to take their place, so no matter what you will have a photographer there. The back up will likely have similar experience and portfolio as the main photographer, so you should have no reason to worry!
How far away from you does your birth photographer live? How far away from the hospital? One of the questions I’m asked the most in interviews is, “What happens if you miss the birth?” Chances are, I won’t. But it’s a possibility and reality that ALL birth photographers face. The further out you live, the higher the chance that your photographer will miss it, especially if you wait to call them until you’re pushing. If your photographer lives further out, make sure you go over options available for you if they miss the birth. Will they still come out and photograph after delivery? Do they offer a fresh 48 if they miss it? Is it covered in their contract? When working with a birth professional who is coming from out of town, make sure you give them plenty of notice so that they can be ready to go. Communication is key for every birth professional to make certain you have a smooth experience!
If you didn’t like your dentist, would you be comfortable enough with them to pull out a wisdom tooth? Likely not. Your labor and delivery are very private, very intimate moments. Those you invite in are privileged to be there to witness it. If you are not comfortable with your birth photographer, your doula, your care provider, it can muddle your experience as a whole, sometimes even causing anxiety during your labor and delivery which can lead to multiple drawbacks. Hiring a photographer you mesh well with and connect with on a personal level will see to it that you leave having had the best experience she could offer. Personality is so important when choosing your birth photographer! Don’t be afraid to interview and re interview multiple birth photographers before deciding on one. You may love their work, but once you meet with them, discover they have an awkward quirk that you can’t stand! For instance, I’m pretty outgoing. I’m 100% an encourager. If I see someone struggling, I’m the one that will give you a verbal boost. This has never bothered any of my mom’s in labor and many have thanked me for that single encouragement. Interviewing any birth professional is so important to the success of your overall birth experience!
These are just five important tips to help you get started on your way to hiring your birth photographer! These can be used really when hiring any birth professional or even your newborn photographer! The birth of your child is a once in a lifetime experience, and following these tips when hiring your birth photographer will help you make it a positive one! All of the above tips were incredibly important for me when I was hiring our photographer. As I said, I was picky, incredibly picky, and that’s okay! It’s your birth, you need to be picky about your birth team! Interview your birth photographer and even ask them out to lunch to meet your doula and/or midwife!
If you’re looking for a birth photographer in the Nashville, Clarksville, or Fort Campbell areas, hit the contact button above and let’s set up an interview! I’d love to meet you to discuss your birth plan and how what I offer can enhance your experience!