15 Birth & Photography Tips For New Parents

When I sit down with a client to get to know them and be sure I am a good fit for their photography needs, I always ask “What questions do you have about birth photography?” Sometimes I am met with blank stares. Not everyone is sure of what to ask! All they know is that they want the most special day of their lives as parents documented.

It goes without saying, that by the time you’re interviewing birth photographers, you’ve seen their portfolio and know who’s work you like best. But here are 5 other important things to cover in that initial consultation.

•How much experience do you have?
•How many births do you take per month?
•Do you have backup gear?
•Do you have a backup photographer?
•What’s your policy on sharing?

Obviously, a birth photographer with a few years experience is better than one with none. Because birth photography is very niche! You also want a photographer who is going to have time for you and not put you on an assembly line. So asking how many births they take per month is very important! Backup gear is necessary because life happens. Knowing your birth photographer is prepared can give you peace of mind. This means having a backup birth photographer as well, in the event that they are sick or an emergency arises preventing them from attending your birth. Ask who they use so you can check them out as well. Last but not least, be sure you are comfortable with their model release. A good birth photographer lets you have the final say in what is shared, and where.

I am often asked if there is anything a parent needs to do to “prepare” to have their birth photographed. Here are 5 key points to consider.

What to wear 
•Water births – a dark bra is recommended because it isn’t see through when wet (N/A if modesty is not an issue for you). Be sure to pack a dry one as well, for after the birth.

•Hospital births – there are lots of beautiful options besides hospital gowns. Just search Etsy!

•Home births (not water) – nightgowns & sundresses are great both for comfort and for photos.

•Have Dad wear something comfortable and neutral, like a grey t-shirt (without crazy graphics on it).

•Make sure there’s a light source in your birth room, even if you prefer a darker/moodier environment. There HAS to be light coming from somewhere. Otherwise your photographer will need to bounce flash.

•Your birth team needs to know ahead of time that you’ve hired a birth photographer, not for permission (it’s completely your choice to do so), but out of courtesy.

•Ask friends and family to leave their cameras at home, you will have a professional there for a reason! Well meaning grandmas sometimes get in the way.

Don’t forget dads 
•Prepare dad to get comfortable in front of the camera. They often think birth photography is for moms only, but they are part of the story and the photographer will want to include them as much as possible. So prepare them to not dodge the camera and just be in the moment with you.

As a bonus, I’ve included some items to include in your hospital bag that you might not have considered.

•Music – This is generally soothing during labor, but also a great distraction during intense contractions.
•Affirmations – Words of affirmation can help you through difficult transitions during labor.
•Comfortable post partum wear – Don’t forget a robe, slippers, nightgown or nursing tops/bras. It’s really nice to have your own clothes on after the birth!
•A plan – Birth plans aren’t for everyone, but it certainly helps to have decided ahead of time what’s negotiable and what is not; think in terms of both your body and your baby’s needs. If you DO want to make a birth plan, there’s a great free one HERE.
•Your favorite snacks

*BONUS tip – a heating pad or reheatable sock filled with rice for sore muscles post-birth

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