Birth Photography is an investment. Full stop. It's also worth it.
The price has many factors. Once you know more about what goes into the job and what it means to hire a professional, the cost makes a lot more sense. Read more below.
I'll admit that when I started my family a dozen years ago, I'd never heard of birth photography. The idea and the cost would have likely scared me away. "Pictures of ?!, sounds weird and expensive" I didn't understand *what birth photography is or the skills needed to excel at this job. I also didn't know what those days would mean until they were over for me.
Here's what I know now:
Birth Photography has come a long way since the days of old family vhs tapes. The birth photography of today isn't about 'ginas, it's about powerful emotions. It's about memorializing a day that will change your life forever.
Now that my baby days are likely behind me, I yearn for those memories. I don't have many of those photos and I really grieve that. It drives a lot of what I do. I'd pay almost anything to go back and see. To see myself as I labored my babies into my arms; to see my face when we met and see my husband's face through it all.
Those days were hard and unpredictable and the most special days of my life.
"But, can't my partner can just take pictures?"
Sure, they can. The quality will reflect that. Your partner is (probably) not a professional, they are not used to the birth space. I'd guess they don't own a camera that can handle the demands of birth. Asking your partner to document also takes away their ability to be fully present. Would we expect the spouse or husband to take the wedding photos? No, of course not, because it's their day too. You want them to focus on YOU, not the camera.
Another important factor is the reality of my job. I think the most fitting comparison is that of a wedding photographer. In our society it's expected and acceptable to invest in this service. It's a huge milestone you want to remember. You want a professional! You want someone with a great artistic eye who can handle all the details for you. You want to be able to see the moments you may have missed in the stress and chaos of the day.
Imagine if you approached a wedding photographer with these conditions: the event will happen sometime this month. It may be 2am, we don’t know, but we want you to come when we call. We can’t tell you how long it will last. You won't be able to see the space ahead of time. It will be dark or with terrible lighting. The background will be constantly changing, you will spend the whole time on your feet. You won’t really get a break or a meal...
Conclusion: you wouldn't do this. We would never ask this much of someone UNLESS we were paying them fairly for this amount of sacrifice and this special skill set.
For fun I googled the cost of wedding photography in Raleigh-Durham:
Average Cost: $2,241 for four hours of coverage
By comparison, the time I spend face-to-face with my clients is much higher. We do several visits before the birth to get comfortable and do some education. Then I go on call. This means that for about a 2-3 week window per client, I am ready to leave at a moments notice. Bag is packed, my ringer is on loud, I limit my commitments, stay close to home, I make back-up plans and childcare plans if necessary. I'm on high alert. I live a weird life.
Once labor starts, I am communicating and offering you phone or text support and helping you decide when to leave the house. Once I join you, I am supporting you mentally, physically, educationally and documenting the whole beautiful process. I remain with you the whole time, whether it's overnight or into the next day. Sometimes it's 8 hours, sometimes it's 24. I miss meals, I miss sleep, I miss my family. But I do it all happily because I know those memories are priceless and this day is a once-in-a-lifetime event for you.
After I leave, I spend many hours processing your photos and editing them professionally. Birth photography is not like a regular portrait session or a lifestyle session. I don't get to choose the setting or plan for flattering, natural light. I can't limit the people or distracting things in the background. I don't get to take a do-over shot. In order to deliver you a gallery that is the best quality and you will enjoy for years to come, I spend a long time hand picking and editing every. single. image.
I'm not just an extra person in the room, with a camera. I am a highly experienced and certified professional. My prices allow me to invest in professional training and education. I have seen the range of labor experiences. I have spent a lot of time learning and improving my skills in order to deliver a very personal and high quality service. I am familiar with the birthing space and timelines, I understand the process and how to read the room and interact with medical professionals.
This day happens once for you. And it is so worth it. Even if you choose to have more children, each experience is unique and memorable. It is the start of a beautiful relationship and it is worthy of celebration. You deserve to have a professional by your side. One who deeply understands the birth process and is highly experienced to support these very intimate and vulnerable moments. The money you spend will last beyond the experience of the birth. It will allow you to relive your most powerful moments forever. It is your initiation into parenthood. It matters!
Pregnant in the Durham-Raleigh area and ready to INVEST in your life-changing experience? I have several different options for packages and pricing to fit your needs and budget. Get in touch and learn how I can make this happen for you. The day you meet your baby is priceless.