Why hire a birth photographer?

You found out you were pregnant and suddenly there is an entire world that opens up to you. There are so many things that you need to think of before this baby comes. You want to be a great parent and so you absorb as much information as possible about taking care of a newborn. You watch videos and plan and shop. You are excited and scared and happy and a bunch of other emotions you can't really pinpoint. Birth photography may not be something that you have ever thought about until you saw a book with photos in your doctor's office when you went for your first ultrasound, and suddenly you are wondering if you should book a photographer to capture your baby's birth. Won't it be weird? A birth space is a very personal space to invite a stranger into, you think. One night, as you were scrolling through social media, you see photos of a friend's birth and suddenly you begin to think that this might not be such a bad idea. The images and birth stories are rich in emotion with sharp focus and you find yourself drawn in by the whole experience. You might not be convinced that you want it or you might wonder whether it is worth the investment, so here are some good reasons why you need to consider hiring a birth photographer to record the moment of birth:

1.Things don't always go according to plan

pregnant woman on theatre table in surgical theatre operating room nurse in background baby warmer surgical pendant

"My husband will be there with his phone. Technology these days is amazing. He can take pictures."

Oops... husband passes out and phone lies on the floor with a broken screen.

You might have a detailed birth plan neatly written up in a folder with pictures and a music playlist... only to end up in theatre with an emergency c-section instead of a natural birth because of something you had no control over. Plans are great when they work, but when things don't go according to plan, you want someone experienced in birth photography to be in charge of capturing these memories for you. No matter what happens in your baby's birth space, it has probably been something your birth photographer has seen before and knows how to deal with. Fainting dads are quite common during hospital births, so you might just have a picture of him on the floor in your collection too.

2.Dads should be in the picture

father kissing his baby girl's fingers newborn baby baby warmer midwife tagging hospital tag to baby's arm and leg

There are many moments during the birth experience that your overwhelmed, excited husband will not think to photograph. He will not take pictures of the tears on his cheek or the first time he touches your baby's tiny toes. He should be in those moments, in those pictures, absorbing the experience... instead of running around with his phone or camera trying to photograph the events of the day. I always smile when I see a dad suddenly remember that he hasn't taken a single picture and frantically grabbing his phone to snap a picture for his mother-in-law who is waiting for news. This is how it should be. He should be available at all times during the birth to support you and to enjoy the amazing beauty of birth.

3.Memories fade

overhead view of woman on surgical table with newborn in arms husband talking to her surgeon stitching

Having a baby is so much more than pushing something the size of a watermelon through something the size of on orange. You will most likely be at the hospital full of strange sounds, sights and smells. It is not your familiar surroundings and your overwhelmed brain will be focussing on many things besides the contractions that bring you closer to meeting your baby. You are filled with anticipation, excitement and fear. This fantastic cocktail of hormones and adrenaline will make sure you focus on the actual birth but you will not have capacity to remember much more than the most significant moments. All the memories, however, will come back to you as you look at the birth photos afterwards. There is so much you miss or forget, but photos keep those memories safe and fresh.

4.Babies change quickly

woman holding newborn baby in theatre while having c-section
newborn baby girl in white wrap on wedding dress and flukati rug white headband

Your swollen, pale newborn baby (that you think is just beautiful!) will change tremendously in the first few hours after birth. You thought you were in love her tiny fingers and hilarious frown, but by day 2 she will look completely different and you will lose your heart to the tiny hairs on her shoulder and the smell of her hair all over again. It always amazes me when I see a baby at birth and then get to take the newborn pictures a week or two later... it often looks like a completely different child altogether.

5.Technical expertise

Surgeon holds baby after c-section while doctor cuts umbilical cord baby raises hands fists

The light changes fast in theatre the moment the bright overhead lights are switched on. Suddenly the gap between the image of your husband holding your hand and the first image of your baby's hair are worlds apart. Your photographer knows how to compensate for the light and will calculate the difference in settings when your surgeon is tall and have the lights higher or when the lights are brought lower causing blown out highlights all over your baby's image. Have you ever seen images that are mostly white with hardly any detail? Yup, that is what you want to avoid and a birth photographer knows how to do exactly that. There are no second takes at a birth. The birth team can't put your baby back in your belly to get another try at the photo that blurred the first time. Having someone with experience will give you the joy of crisp, clear pictures with all the details surrounding your baby's safe delivery.

6.Things you miss

father looking through window of baby room blue scrubs head net face mask

There is a moment after birth when the baby is warming in the incubator and the chaos of the birth is over, when the dads stand staring at the new baby through the nursery window. The moms never see this. It is a quiet moment of contemplation when the man you married watches like a soldier on duty over the most precious possession you will ever own. His reflection in the window is stoic. His whole life changed. He loves it. He is excited. He is scared. He will never be the same. He just went on dad duty and will go off shift the day he dies. I love quietly catching this moment.

There are many more magical moments like this, all with its own magic and wonder. The walk from theatre with the newborn to the nursery. The weighing and measuring of your baby. Dad giving his baby skin-on-skin, holding the naked little body agains his chest. You get to be a part of it all when you hire a birth photographer.

7.Telling your story

father holds newborn daughter in theatre under baby warmer lights baby cries

A picture really is worth a thousand words... probably even more. We live in a very visual world where every story is told in pictures or videos or both. Your baby's birth will have plenty of photos that you can share with your family and friends and an experienced birth photographer will know how to string those moments together in photo sequences that cover the aspects of birth. This might be your first, second or third baby, but your photographer has attended hundreds of births and knows exactly what to expect and what the best angles are to tell your beautiful story.

8.A life-changing moment

family laughs and cries while holding newborn daughter in theatre after c-section

You had a photographer at your wedding, didn't you? Why? Because it was a big moment in your life that you wanted to celebrate and remember. It is exactly the same with having a baby, but with a few extras. You will learn more about yourself in this one day than in 10 weddings. You have no idea how strong you really are, how deeply you are connected to this baby that you have yet to meet or how incredibly protective your husband can be. You will experience things you have never dreamed of and no video or book can prepare you for the wonder that fills your being the moment you hear that first cry. Having a baby is worth capturing and celebrating.

Book a photographer.


Lizelle and Charlotte

2 birth photographers holding cameras in purple scrubs blonde brunette