Initially, I thought I'd write this blog so people will understand all that goes into birth photography and why your investment is a little higher than the average photo session or costs almost as much as a wedding. But, then I started combing through my past 6 years of images to find one that was just right for the cover up top and decided I wanted to write this blog to describe what it's like to be a part of a family's birth experience instead. People will understand all on their own why the cost is higher and don't need me to explain the make up of my pricing structure. You see . . .
When someone hires you to document their baby's arrival you become very closely entwined in each other's families. It's an exceptionally personal experience to witness and document one of the most important events in a family's life . . . the birth of a new baby. The family in the cover image has become part of our family. I've been there for both of their children's births. Their toddler and I cuddled at 2 am while waiting for his sister to arrive, while I rocked him so mom and dad could get some sleep. I've baby sat them so mom and dad could attend their squadron Christmas party for a night out. The oldest little shares the same birthday as my youngest daughter. These events are unforgettable!
The bird's eye view, from behind the camera, in a labor room is different for every family that you work with. There have been c-section births where I was not allowed into the OR, but I was there for the pre-surgery stuff and right after. Pictures like the one of a big sister moved to tears by the sight of her brand new baby sister through a glass window to the nursery are irreplaceable.
It's a great privilege to be invited into a labor room to capture these special moments. Let me take you back . . . to when it all began: August 24th, 2015.
Zola was my first birth story. This family is special, as I was Zola's big sister's daycare provider. They are like family to us so when Gabby asked if I wanted to capture baby number 2's arrival I was more than excited.
The Rest Is History!
That was all it took! One baby! I was hooked! Birth photography was really just beginning to become popular and the time investment and on-call time is soooooooo incredibly stressful, especially when you still have children that are dancers and martial artists whom you're carting from one activity to the next. While on call you never go anywhere without the camera bag. The batteries are always charged and your memory card is always formatted and ready to go. I can still remember one of my youngest daughter's dress rehearsals. I sat there with the ringer to my phone off but had it on vibrate face down so no one see the screen light up in the theatre. My baby momma was a few days past due and ready to go at any time. A couple days after our recital I got a call in the way early hours in the morning that they were heading to the hospital. This was the only birth I've ever missed because the baby came too fast and I didn't have enough time to make the drive from Rapid City to Spearfish. I walked in and baby was already swaddled and hanging out with her family! :(
Stressful or not, I wouldn't trade this job for anything in the world. Sometimes labor is crazy fast and sometimes it takes a day or two. I come with snacks, my iPad (for when mom is resting & I'm not shooting), or I bring the laptop and catch up on work and editing! Many of the parents have said, "I feel bad, you just have to sit and wait." Well, to be honest, it's not ever a hardship. It's the one time I have quiet around me and can concentrate. LOL!!!!
All The New Peeps You Meet . . .
Like I said before, this genre of photography is never the same session twice. I've been in a labor room with fellow photographers turned friends, a family that had one shot at having a baby after a long, hard fertility journey, and I've gotten to be a part of this momentous event when a couple welcomed their baby via surrogacy. Do I have the best job in the world or what?
What's It Like In The Labor Room?
Well, that all depends on how the laboring momma is feeling. I go in with a fly on the wall kind of frame of mind. If mom is up to chatting, I guarantee you I can chat your ear off about anything and everything. Sometimes however, you just have to know when to be quiet. Hard as that is for me, I try my best. Sometimes, I'm helping mom get her hair up in a pony tail or making a food run. Or, as mentioned above, rocking special little toddlers at 2 am. But, those are the best times ever. Also, sometimes I don't find myself in a labor room. Sometimes you find yourself in a client's home. One of the best pix ever is the one below!!!!
In The End . . .
To answer the question: Why is it such a sizeable investment to hire a birth photographer?
Well, your memories documented that day are priceless, but just so that a person can relate to the time investment: I truly spend more time with my birth clients than I ever do any of my wedding photography couples. And we all know how expensive wedding photography is. ;)
Ok, off to the grocery store I go!!!! If you want more info about birth stories, follow the links or message me below!!!!! I'd love to show you the books I've printed and tell you more!!!!