5 Reasons to Hire a Birth Photographer/Videographer

My videographer, Sarah, captures my midwife as she puts McKay's footprints in a book.

My videographer, Sarah, captures my midwife as she puts McKay’s footprints in a book.

Many women cringe at the thought of having a photographer in the birthing room, but birth photography and videography have been on the rise over the last few years. As women have begun to take charge of their birth experiences, the desire to document birth has increased.

Because of the long hours an “on call” requirement, birth photographers aren’t cheap. When I first started looking at these services for my most recent birth, I admit was a little shocked at the prices. But then I thought about how much I spent on my wedding photographer. If you’re like me, photography and videography were probably one of your biggest expenses! Birth, like your wedding, is a major life event, and hiring a professional to capture it is an investment.

Here are 5 reasons to hire a birth photographer and/or videographer:

They use the best equipment and software

As a doula, I have captured many of my clients’ first photos with their babies. Do you know what I use most often for these photos? A cell phone! It’s true that cell phone cameras are getting more and more sophisticated, but they can never replace high-quality cameras and lenses that cost thousands of dollars. The quality of images that come from a birth photographer with a professional camera can’t compare to a cell phone or even an amateur digital SLR on auto mode.

Your photographer and videographer will also go back and edit the images and footage using software that cost them hundreds of dollars. This gives a crisp, polished image that is perfect for printing and putting on your wall or sharing on your social media accounts. Looking back at the amateur photos from my first three births, I definitely wish I had invested in a professional photographer.

They capture your birth tactfully

Birth photographers and videographers know how to capture the most beautiful, raw, and emotional moments of birth in a tactful way. They are very respectful, honoring your space and only taking photos that you are comfortable with. As a doula, I am sometimes asked by my clients to snap photos during the birth. I’m happy to do it, but it is very difficult for me to get good photos that mom will be comfortable with because I’m not a trained photographer. I don’t know how to use the camera features to zoom in on the important things and blur out things mom would rather not see.

Professional photographers also go back and edit your photos even more to make sure they are exactly what you want. I was so pleased when I watched my own birth film. Every moment was captured in a way that I felt comfortable sharing it publicly.

They stay out of the way

When my second baby was born, I asked my mother-in-law to come and take pictures and video. Big mistake. She had a hard time distancing herself emotionally from the process, so most of the video was a shot of her patting my husband’s back while he comforted me. Not exactly what I had in mind.

A birth photographer stays out of the way, just like a fly on the wall. She knows how to get the angles she needs without getting in the way of the birth staff or making herself known. I remember looking up every now and then during McKay’s birth and seeing my videographer and being surprised. I had completely forgotten that she was in the room!

They are an important part of your birth team

Just like the doctor or midwife, doula, nurses, and family you may have asked to be present at your birth, your photographer and videographer are important members of your birth team. With my first three births, my husband was the one taking video and pictures. This took him away from me at various times during my labor. During McKay’s birth, he never left my side. He didn’t have to worry about camera batteries, tripods, lighting, and shooting the most important parts of the birth. He was right there with me, helping me cope emotionally and physically.

My doula was also able to be entirely present with me because I had a dedicated photographer and videographer to capture every important moment. Each person had a specific, defined role at my birth, which helped me feel more relaxed and comfortable.

They know what to capture

As I look through my photos and watch my birth film, I am amazed at the images and footage. They captured things I would never have thought to ask someone else to capture–the nursery, the outside of my home, the little details of my bedroom, the things I had set up to prepare for baby, the kisses I shared with my husband during labor, etc. I’ll always cherish these details because they help me remember the experience more deeply.

If you’re on the fence about hiring a birth photographer or videographer, I highly recommend doing it! Many photographers offer payment plans and some may even do trades. You can also ask for contributions toward a photographer as a baby shower gift. Look for a photographer that fits within your budget and book her early in your pregnancy. If your finances allow, book a separate photographer and videographer to capture as much of the experience as possible.

As someone who has done it both ways, I can honestly say I do not regret having a professional photographer and videographer at my last birth. They were worth every penny!




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