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Birth Photography FAQ

birth photography


What is birth photography?

Birth photography is about documenting the arrival of your baby, whether this is at home, in hospital or a birthing centre, vaginally or belly birthing. My focus is on raw connections between partners and the love-filled intimacy in the room. Labour can be a complete blur and while we think we will remember everything…. we just don’t. This is where a birth photographer freezes all moments for you, big and small and you can relive meeting your tiny human for the rest of your life.

When will you arrive at our birth to start photographing?

As your birth photographer, I will join you when you are in ACTIVE labour and while every birth is different, this “typically” is when your contractions are approximately 5 minutes apart, lasting one minute in length with increasing intensity where you are struggling to move or talk through your contractions. If you are having cervical checks, you might be around 5-6cm dilated at this time.

How long will you stay?

The beautiful thing about birth, is that every story is different. No two births will be the same! Some will be short and some will be long. I will stay the entire duration of your labour and approximately 2 hours after baby is born. This allows time for first snuggles, skin-to-skin, breastfeeding to start, meeting of siblings, and the newborn exam to document baby’s weight and height.

When are you on call?

I am on call 24/7 to arrive at your birth from 37 weeks onward. Meaning that the weeks surrounding your due date, I am available to join you no matter when you call me… whether it is the middle of the night, a weekend or during the day. You will contact me in early labour to let me know that labour has begun. I will be in touch with you frequently to get updates on progress and using my expertise, I will join you when I believe is the right time.

What if I want to labour in the dark?

Many women like to give birth in a dark environment. My camera is equipped to handle low light situations. That being said, I do need SOME light to capture those incredible moments. If I feel like there isn’t enough light in your birth space, I may make some small adjustments. If these bother you, please let me know. During birth, I will often bounce my flash off the ceiling so I can capture the quick and fleeting moments of birth. My external flash is very different from the flashes that most people are accustomed to. The flash will never be directed near or towards your face and most of my clients aren’t even aware that I’m using it. 

Why should I hire you when I can just take a couple photos on my iPhone?

As a professional photographer, I have spent many years perfecting my skills. My gear can handle extreme low light, awful hospital lighting and I know how to change my settings quickly when a situation changes. As a trained birth doula, I also know the birthing process and how to respect your sacred birth space. I know where to be and when. I document how your entire story unfolds and include beautiful images of everyone involved in your birth story.

What if you miss my birth or get sick when I go into labour?

As a respected and professional birth photographer and doula, I work closely with a few other local photographers and can call for my backup to join you. In the case, where you just have a precipitous (VERY rapid) birth, I will still arrive at your birthing location to join you to take photos and we will arrange to set up a Fresh 48 session (within the first day or two of birth in hospital or at home) or an in-home newborn session.

Do you share all births on social media?

While I love sharing empowering birth images on Instagram, Facebook and my website, I always respect and honour my client’s wishes if they wish to keep their story private. These shared images are what probably led you to find me and by sharing these gorgeous stories, we can change the way our culture views birth. During our consultations, we can discuss what you would and wouldn’t like shared! I will always respect your wishes.

Is it hard to be my doula and birth photographer at the same time?

NO!! It is such a beautiful marriage of roles. Having me support you AND document your birth allows for less bodies in your birth space and you feel safe and comforted. I know exactly when to pick up my camera and when to be near you to support you physically and emotionally. Over the years, I have figured out how to tell your birth story without taking 10000 photos. I recognize the KEY moments.

How many birth clients do you take on each month?

Since birth can be so unpredictable, I like to only take two to MAX 3 births per month. I want to ensure that you receive my full time and support.

What is pricing for birth photography?

Birth photography is a luxury and while I wish I could document every family’s story, I simply can’t. My average client investment for birth photography services is between $2000-$5000, depending on the products purchased. If you would like to read more about why birth photographers charge what they charge, please check out this blog post: https://erinstonemanphotography.com/understanding-the-cost-of-birth-photography/

Do you do payment plans?

Yes! Absolutely. I require 50% of session fee at the time of booking to reserve your birth space and the balance is due at 36 weeks prior to you going into labour.

At what point in my pregnancy should I be looking to hire a birth photographer?

I always suggest the earlier, the better. I only take a limited number of birth clients each month, therefore can book up very early. Most clients book me between 6-20 weeks. On some occasions, where many births happen early during a given month, I may be able to sneak you in as a last minute client, so please don’t hesitate to ask!

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