Over the past couple years that I have been documenting births, I can’t even tell you the number of times I have received an inquiry for birth photography services and families are a bit shocked at the investment. I understand that we all have different financial priorities so I wanted to educate you on WHY we charge what we charge!!!
FIRST I want to talk about wedding photography…. another HUGE milestone in your life that the average Canadian spends between $2500-$3500 to document their special day.
NOW, pretend a client called up a potential wedding photographer and said:
“Hi there, I’m looking for a photographer to document our wedding. I’m not totally sure when it will be… but it’ll probably be within a 3 week window. I also don’t know what time it will be at… it could be in the middle of the night OR it might be in the day, but I’ll call you when it all starts happening and you MUST be here within the hour. You also might be there for 4 hours or potentially 24 hours? You won’t have a ton of room to move around and you’ll have to be super creative with your angles to ensure you aren’t in any medical professional’s way. There might be zero lights and just a couple candles as well… I hope that’s ok? AND you may go home with someone’s bodily fluids on you? Are you available?
Now, I LOVE what I do, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world… but it comes at a cost. And just because I love what I do, doesn’t mean that I am going to give away my services for free. What a lot of people don’t realize is the amount of work that is required to document your birth. From marketing to initial inquiries, consultations, to actually documenting birth, then editing and revealing images to clients and ordering products… it all takes time.
Another thing to consider is the client load per month… your birth photographer wants to ensure they can be there on your birthing day, so they cannot take on an unlimited amount of births… a professional and successful birth photographer will often only take 2-3 clients per month.
Here is where I explain what on call lifestyle looks like this: your photographer is on call 24/7 for 2-3 weeks prior to your estimated due date and until baby is born. This means that they don’t go anywhere farther than an hour from where you are delivering in case they get the “call”. They have made peace with the fact that they might miss big family events such as: Christmas, graduations, birthdays, friend’s weddings or school performances, etc. Their bags are always ready and sitting by the door. Their phone can never leave their side or have a dead battery. They check their phones 100 times before bedtime making sure their charger is working, their ringer is on and LOUD enough to wake them in the middle of the night.
Don’t get me wrong…. WE LOVE OUR JOBS!!! and while this job fills our souls with joy, inspiration, hope and love, it also takes from us as well so in order to be sustainable, we need to VALUE our services.
Birth photography is a worthwhile investment for sure. It is one of the most important days of your life… arguably the MOST important. There are no do-overs… you only meet your babies ONE time… so, while you may find photographers who will do the job for a very low cost, you often “get what youp paid for” and you MAY not be completely satisfied. Make sure you are hiring a professional that knows what birth looks like… they understand the process and procedures that happen during labour. Make sure they have THE BEST gear and understand what on call life actually looks like. But most important… make sure they will document you in an honest and authentic way that represents exactly who you are!
When you are planning on having your birth documented, budget for it as you would your wedding photographer… because your birth photographer is WORTH EVERY PENNY!!! We need to value their services much higher than we do today!!!!
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