Birth Photography FAQ
I am truly excited that you are considering birth photography! It is genuinely the most amazing thing that I do, and I would love to have the opportunity to capture your birth story for you and your little one. As the most experienced birth photographer in Iowa, I've been asked a thousand questions about birth photography, and I'm happy to answer them all! If these FAQs don't answer your questions, don't hesitate to call or email. I would love to capture your birth story--genuinely, discretely, and beautifully!
When should I book you for my birth?
I would suggest booking me as soon as you have a due date! That is the best way to ensure that I can accept you as a birth client, before my schedule fills with other births or events that cannot be rescheduled. Of course, it is never too late to inquire about my availability.
What do your packages include?
All birth packages include 2 weeks of being on-call 24/7 for you, an unlimited amount of time photographing your labor and delivery, 1 to 2 hours of photography after delivery as you bond with your precious new baby, and some of your favorite high-resolution digital photos. Most packages also include a beautiful custom photo box to hold the best images from your birth story. See more details in the Birth Packages & Pricing section, including info about the FRESHbaby! session.
Do the local hospitals allow a birth photographer in the room?
There are no policies against having a birth photographer at any of the hospitals in Cedar Rapids or Iowa City. I am very intentional about having a professional, respectful demeanor toward all staff and others in the room, and have been treated with tremendous professional courtesy in return.
Do you shoot homebirths?
Absolutely! I will shoot any homebirth in the area attended by a midwife.
My husband is hesitant (okay, maybe I am too) to have someone else in the delivery room. What should I tell him?
Sometimes it's best to let the pictures do the talking. I suggest getting him to view a couple of my slideshows of birth stories. Most people who actually see what professional birth photography is all about -- that it is beautiful and tasteful and discrete -- have a hard time making an argument against it for their own baby.
Why can't I just have my husband/nurse/doula/mother/sister/BFF take pictures?
Training. Equipment. Experience. Dedication.
I have a degree in fine arts, and have been trained in photography. I teach photography. I know photography. I have professional equipment that, coupled with the training and experience I have, can produce superior images, even in low-light situations and without a harsh flash. I have experience in shooting both in hospital rooms and homes. I have used photographs to tell the birth story of over a twenty little miracles! And I am dedicated to capturing your birth story in photos. I don't have another job to do. Your support persons should be hands-on supporting you, actually experiencing the moment, not watching your labor from behind the camera.
Are you on-call ALL the time?
When you inquire about booking my services, I will notify you of any events I have scheduled near your due date that cannot be changed (i.e. a conference, family vacation, etc.). Once I receive your deposit, I do not schedule anything that can't be postponed for the week before and the week after your due date, and am on-call 24/7 during that time. Of course, babies don't always cooperate with our scheduling, so even outside of that time period, I would do anything I could to attend your birth.
When do we call you?
I ask for as much "heads up" as possible if you think you might be in labor, and then stay in contact to make sure I get to the birth at the appropriate time (usually when you are about 5-6 cm dilated). Ideally, I arrive at the hospital/home during active labor to document the labor, the delivery, and the first hour or so after the birth.
While you're shooting a birth, do you talk and interact or are you quiet?
That very much depends on the situation and the client's preferences. I am naturally a pretty social person, but feel like I have good intuition and can read each situation well. If the parents are asking me questions, starting conversation, and talking with me, then yes, I talk. If not, I don't.
How graphic are your pictures?
I try to provide the most meaningful, yet tasteful, photos I can get. We will talk beforehand about what types of photos you do or do not want so that we are both on the same page. As far as what is taken, unless directed otherwise by the client, I take all the pictures I can. Some moms appreciate “crowning” pictures, others don’t. I can always go back and delete pictures later, with sensitivity toward modesty, but I can never go back and retake a picture I missed in the moment. Either way, I am very sensitive to what images (if any) a client would want shared in any way.
Do you use a flash?
Though I do have the very best equipment for shooting in low light, I don't typically use a flash. I feel like a dimly-lit birth at 3am should look like a dimly-lit birth at 3 in the morning, and preserving the authenticity of your birth story is important to me. I do make sure you know in advance that if you prefer a very dark room while you are laboring, that may interfere with my ability to get the highest quality of images. I also always carry a flash, just in case. We can discuss this before your birth to make sure I understand your preferences.
What if my labor is really long? Do you have a time limit?
No! Some labors are fast, some are slow. I am hired to photograph your birth, long or short. Ideally, I would like to be there for about 2 hours before the delivery, but the more births I photograph, the more I realize how truly unpredictable they are! If the labor is long, I often step out of the room and give you time to labor privately. Sometimes I will leave the hospital for a break, but am never more than a phone call and a few minutes away.
What if I have to have a Cesarean?
Whether scheduled or unscheduled, having a C-section can make photographing your birth even more important. I can capture the story of your little one's arrival that you, as the mom on the operating table, may not actually get to see for yourself! Whether or not I get in to the operating room to photograph your cesarean is usually up to the anesthesiologist and/or the OB to decide, but you and I can let them know how important it is to you that I be there. Even if I am unable to be in the room, there is a lot I CAN document that you will be thrilled to have captured.
How do we go about hiring you?
First, inquire about my availability surrounding your due date. Then I will ask you for a deposit to reserve your EDD, and provide you with a birth information form that gives me all the details of your birth.
Can we meet beforehand?
I highly recommend a pre-birth consultation so that we have a chance to meet, sign the contract, and to make sure we understand each others' expectations before I arrive in the delivery room. Although meeting in-person is best, it can be done via phone if necessary.
What if you can't make it to the birth?
In the very unlikely event that I am unable to make it to your birth, due to sickness, emergencies, or previously-discussed unavailable dates, etc., I will do my best to secure a back-up photographer to cover your birth. If my back-up is not available during the contracted on-call time, your balance will be returned in full. If I do not attend your birth through no fault of my own (I was not called and informed of the birth, the birth goes too quickly, etc.) your deposit will not be refunded, as I can still be there to capture those precious moments while your newborn is truly newborn! In some circumstances your deposit may be transferred to cover a newborn session within two weeks of your delivery.
Will my pictures be posted on the internet?
Most clients are anxious to get a beautiful sneak peek of their birth story on Facebook following their big day, but the bottom line is that I respect your privacy. If you do not want any photos posted, let me know before your birth and I will accommodate your request. However, there are advantages to allowing your photos to be posted. You are allowed to tag and share any photo I post of your birth. You may use it on Facebook as your profile picture or to announce the arrival of your new little blessing on FB. Also, if you sign the model release on an OHbaby package or above, I will create a second, "G-rated" version for you to share with friends and family. Please know that I am very sensitive to both privacy and modesty issues!
Do you offer gift registry or gift certificates?
Yes! I have found that many moms-to-be feel that having friends and family purchase gift certificates to be used toward birth or newborn photos is one of the most practical and desired gifts for a baby shower. You can register with me, and let everyone know that you are registered at New Creation Photography, and I would be happy to help them get a gift certificate that will help fund your precious birth photos.