Frequently Asked Questions: Birth Photography
by Meredith Westin
WHEN SHOULD WE BOOK YOU?
As soon as possible! Because of the on-call nature of birth photography, I choose to accept a limited number of clients per month. If you want to book a Birth Story Session or a First Glimpse Session, you should let me know ASAP before my calendar fills up.
Do hospitals/birth centers usually allow photographers?
They do! It's your responsibility to make sure your particular facility will allow me to be there and to let me know what their rules and restrictions are. My experience has been that as long as I am viewed as part of your birth team, you're allowed to have me there.
What if it takes a really long time?
Then I'm there for a really long time! I come prepared for anything – I’ll have my own version of a hospital bag at the ready, full of snacks, books, and comfy clothes – and I usually have a bit of photo editing work to do. This is the nature of being an on-call Twin Cities birth photographer. Sometimes things take a really. long. time.
How graphic will the photos be?
I can document as much – or as little – as you want me to! Most people choose to have me document everything. This way, there aren’t any regrets about not capturing the whole story. The birth story that I capture for you will end up being more about emotions and small, sweet moments than the graphic images that first come to mind when most people think about birth photography. I'll capture your baby crowning if you want me to, and while I'm at it, I'll capture a few images that you'll be able to share with friends and family if you want – ones where the more private parts of your anatomy are obscured by members of your birth team or objects in the room.
Do I get a say on which photos you post publicly on your site?
Absolutely! I'll send you a password-protected sneak peek post for approval, and only after I get the go-ahead will I post your photos on my website. If you are absolutely opposed to me posting *any* of your images on my site, that's fine! I have a special package available for my more private clients.
AT WHAT POINT IN THE LABOR DO YOU JOIN US? WHEN DO WE CALL YOU - AS SOON AS CONTRACTIONS START?
Text me when you feel contractions starting. You will be texting me throughout your pregnancy with updates so checking in with me will be second nature by time your labor begins. Let me know when you're heading to the hospital. Call me once you're checked in and know your room number. We'll stay in touch as much or as little as needed. If you're having a hospital or birth center birth, it's my goal to be with you by the time you reach 6 cm. If you're birthing at home, I'd like to be there by the time you reach 4 cm.
Bonus! What if I go into labor early?
Tell me. I'm here for you.
Wait! I still have more birth photography questions!
Great! Please contact me. I can’t wait to hear from you!
HAVE YOU HAD PRIOR EXPERIENCE WORKING AROUND DOULAS/MIDWIVES/OBS?
I have! Every birth I've shot has included some combination of the above and I am adept at staying out of the way, offering help where it's needed, and contributing a positive energy to the room. I have also partnered with a few doulas in the area, and I would love to recommend them to you if you're interested in adding a doula to your birth team.
WHAT IF I HAVE A C-SECTION?
I'm up for documenting it if you want me to! You will likely have to advocate for me to be in the room, but I am experienced at C-section photography and I would love to cover this portion of your birth story for you.
I'M PRETTY SHY AND MODEST. IS THIS FOR ME?
Yes! Let Katie tell you why.
WILL YOU BE IN THE DELIVERY ROOM THE WHOLE TIME?
Maybe! If you have a long labor, I'll probably step out to the waiting room once in a while to rest, read, or work. If things are progressing quickly, I'll stay in the room to make sure I don't miss a thing. My clients have found my presence unobtrusive - many have forgotten I was in the room, and most didn't realize I was documenting a portion of their birth until they saw the photos later.
WHAT IF YOU GET SICK OR DON'T MAKE IT TO MY BIRTH?
If I'm sick, I will do my best to find a replacement. If I miss part of your birth because you didn't contact me in time, you'll get a portion of your money back.