The Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Birth Photographer

newborn baby

With all of the expenses that come your way, you might be tempted to opt for a cheap photographer to save yourself some money. If this is the route you plan to take, proceed with caution. Cheaper is often not better, and there are risks involved in hiring a cheap photographer. Will they show up? One of the reasons that birth photography has a high price tag is because of the on-call time put in. A higher-priced photographer spends weeks at the ready, to come whenever you call. And I’m sure you want someone who is going to show up.

 

Before you book a consultation with a photographer, you should check out their website. Look for someone who has a portfolio that really resonates with you. Check their prices.

mom breastfeeding newborn baby

So, you’re thinking about hiring a birth photographer. That’s great! Now it’s just a matter of finding the right person to photograph your birth. Finding the right fit for you is important. The people you allow into your birth space should be able to respect your wishes and act accordingly. Do you prefer quiet and serene? Then the person you choose should be capable of being quiet and letting you labor without interruption. Choosing who to allow into your birth space matters.

 

As with any professional service, when you hire a birth photographer, you are investing in reliability, knowledge, and experience. Finding someone with those qualifications can carry a higher price tag. Having a baby is expensive, there’s no getting around that.

dad with newborn baby

Not all photographers have their prices listed on their website, so you may not know just from a look at their website. For me personally, that is a deal-breaker when I am looking to hire someone. I don’t want to go through extra effort to learn your prices. Just show them to me. However, that may not be the case for you and you could be happy with waiting until the consult to find out how much they charge. Then you should also look at reviews and testimonials. What kind of experience have people who have worked with them had? Are the reviews mostly positive, or are there a couple of bad reviews that you just can’t ignore? All of these things are subjective and are just based on how you feel. If you feel good about the photographer, take the next step and go in for a consult.

Below I have listed the top 10 questions to ask your birth photographer when you go in for a consult. These questions should give you an idea about who they are as a person and how they would be as a professional at your child’s birth.

Question 1: Why did you become a birth photographer?

The answer to this question doesn’t really matter except to help you get to know this person and their motives. Whatever photographer you hire should actually be excited about shooting your birth! You want someone there who has made doing birth photography a priority because they love it. The way that you feel after they answer this question should give you a good idea about whether or not you want to work with them. I became a birth photographer because birth photography is my passion. I ran a portrait photography business for years and just never really found any enjoyment in it. But the births that I attended were impactful and amazing experiences and I want to do it as many times as I can.

huntsville crestwood hospital

Question 2: How do you navigate low-light situations?

Births are often in low-light environments. Mothers in labor often find that they want a dark space to labor in. A good birth photographer knows how to handle low-light situations and still gets wonderful photos. Some photographers may use a flash. This is not an obtrusive, in-your-face, flash. It is generally bounced off of a wall to give light to the room. I use a flash because the pictures are significantly better, more clear, and sharp. No flash means high grain and generally results in pictures that aren’t as sharp. Either way is valid. Just know that it is rare for a laboring woman to complain that the flash is bothering her. Most of the time they do not even know afterward that it happened. This one is really your own personal preference.

newborn baby crying

Question 3: How long have you been a photographer? How long have you been photographing births?

There is no magic number that should tell you a photographer is worthy to be hired. Every photographer has to start somewhere, so even if a photographer has not done any births, but is experienced in other areas of photography, they still might be worth the hire. Maybe they’ve been doing birth photography exclusively for ten years. Or maybe they are just opening their business, but have been doing photography for friends and family for years. There are all kinds of answers to this question that can still mean a photographer is worth the hire. The more important question is whether or not you trust in the experience that they do have. Have you seen their portfolio? Do their pictures stand out to you as high quality? Then they are probably a good bet.

birth photography example

Question 4: What is your process for a normal birth?

Well, first of all, there are no “normal” births. Every birth is different and has different challenges. Any birth photographer is going to have a different process for births. In general, though, for me, I go on call for you when you are 38 weeks along. This means that I am available for you at any time after that point. When you do go into labor, you progress at your normal pace until you are around 6 cm dilated. At that point, you will call me and I will head your way. However, not all births progress at a steady pace. I tell parents to keep me as up-to-date as possible with how labor is progressing, because if it is going really fast and you don’t tell me you’re in labor until 6 cm, I may end up missing the birth, and neither of us wants that. I let my clients know that they need to give me a two-hour window to arrive, so communication is key.

birth photography example

Question 5: What does your on-call time look like?

Hopefully, the answer to this question will be the same for pretty much any photographer. At around 38 weeks, I go on-call. This on-call period is the same as you might expect from other professions that also do on-call time. I am available 24 hours a day for you. I do not leave my house without my equipment. I do not make plans that cannot be canceled. If I take my children anywhere, I have someone at the ready to come to get them if I have to rush to meet you. Basically, I am at your beck and call from 38 weeks until your baby is delivered.

newborn baby supplies

Question 6: What if my labor lasts a really long time?

Most photographers that you interview will have the same answer to this question: it doesn’t matter how long it lasts, I will be there for the whole thing. There are caveats to this answer, however. At some point, I need to eat. And sleep. So if your labor goes for too long, I may have to call in a backup. I won’t ever leave if there is no one to take my place. There will always be someone there to capture the birth, even if it takes 24 hours for that sweet little newborn baby to get here.

sleeping newborn baby

Question 7: Do you have backup equipment?

A good birth photographer knows how to prepare for the unexpected. There is always something that could go wrong. A camera could fail to turn on. An SD card could corrupt. There are so many things that can fail, and they always need to be prepared for things to go wrong. I have so much backup equipment. If you are interested in what gear I bring to a birth, check out this blog post. I make sure I have backups for everything. Anything that can break has a backup in my bag.

newborn baby sleeping

Question 8: What happens if you can’t make it to the birth?

The answer to this question is non-negotiable. Any good birth photographer will have a backup. Hopefully more than one. Their backup should be as skilled as they are and be ready to jump in when needed to make sure that your birth is photographed beautifully. There are circumstances in which your birth might be missed, such as it happens too fast for a photographer to make it in time. But for most situations, your birth photographer should have you covered.

holding hands during labor

Question 9: What if I don’t want graphic/nude photos posted online?

Allowing someone to be present during such an intimate moment, and especially allowing that person to take pictures, can make you feel especially vulnerable. When it comes to sharing your photos, I respect your wishes. I never post anything graphic in nature, so you don’t need to worry about that. While I do need photos for my portfolio, as that is what helps keep my business going, I will always listen to you when it comes to how you feel about sharing your photos.

birth photography example

Question 10: What do you charge? Are there any hidden costs? Do you offer payment plans?

While cost is certainly an important factor, it’s probably not the first thing you should worry about. You want to find someone who fits your style, and also someone who fits your budget. Different photographers use different pricing strategies, so it’s important to know what you are getting. Some photographers charge a base fee up front and then you pay an additional fee for your digital files at the end. Other photographers charge one flat price for the entire session and all of the digital files. That’s how I like to do it. I’m not a fan of making people pay for a session but then not giving them the digital files unless they pay more. You want to make sure you are getting the fine print so you are not surprised by an extra charge at the end. A lot of photographers will also offer payment plans so that you do not have to pay for the full amount all at once. I also offer a “gift registry” option, where friends and family can put money towards your package. There are so many different payment options and perks depending on the type of photographer, so just be sure to find out what your choices are.

mom holding newborn baby

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a good start in separating out the good from the not-so-good. Every birth is different, and every birth photographer is different. After your interview, you should ask yourself how you feel. Were you happy with their answers? Did what they say resonate with you? How do you feel about their portfolio? Are you absolutely in love with the images that you have seen? If so, you are probably on to a winner.

 

I would love to sit down with you and answer all of your questions. I know that there are so many questions that come with getting birth photography for the first time. If you are looking for the answers to more questions, check out my FAQ page. It lists many of the common questions that women have when considering birth photography. And if you’re ready to have an interview, be sure to book a consult. It is free, and there is no obligation.

Ready to sit down and talk?
About the author
Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

clear formSubmit