Parents who choose to hire a birth photographer do not necessarily fit into any particular category. Although many parents who hire photographers tend to have midwife-assisted births at home, many also choose to deliver at the hospital. Parents who choose birth photography have the mindset that they want the birth documented, and that’s what motivates them to hire a photographer. It is important that both parents-to-be are completely open to the idea of having the birth photographed, otherwise, it can cause tension during the labour and delivery time. If the birth is occurring at a hospital, the parents must find out the photography policies of the hospital and/or doctor prior to hiring a professional birth photographer. This will avoid any tension during the labour and delivery.
These questions should include:
- How many births have you photographed?
- How many years have you been in business?
- What is your backup plan should you become ill when I go into labour?
- Are you registered as a business, and do you have liability insurance?
- Are you a member of any professional organizations?
- Do you have daycare arrangements for your own children when it’s time to have my baby?
- What happens if you miss my birth?
- What happens if I end up having a c-section?
- How much do your services cost?
I suggest interviewing at least two photographers before deciding which photographer to hire. Make sure you review not only their birth portfolio, but their overall portfolio also.
Look for the following:
- Image quality – are the images in focus? Do the colours look right? Do the black and white images look good?
- Types of images – does the photographer’s portfolio appeal to you?
- Presentation of images – does the photographer present the images in a slideshow or in another way?
I left Dawn’s house completely enamored by what I had witnessed and felt so completely blessed that I had been allowed to document this beautiful miracle.
When I am contacted by a potential client, we have a consultation meeting 6-8 weeks prior to the expected due date. At this meeting we outline all the expectations we have of each other and discuss when I should be notified that labour has begun.
When a client calls to say “it’s time”, I head off to their place of birth and quickly sink into the shadows as the labour and delivery unfolds. If I sense that the laboring mother wants some privacy, I leave the room and return when she’s given the ok. After the baby has been born, I stay for an hour or two (take a lookhere), to capture the first moments with mom, dad and any siblings. This all goes into a carefully created slideshow that will become a keepsake for mom and dad for years to come.
The birth of a child is an extremely intimate time in the lives of a new mother and her partner. Documenting the birth of a child, regardless if you hire a professional photographer or not, is an act of love. The memories of the labour and delivery may diminish over time, but photographs help keep those moments alive in our hearts, forever.
Jennifer Gilbert is a child and family photographer in Toronto, ON.