Giving birth can simultaneously feel like the longest few hours of your life, and like it goes by in the blink of an eye. As much as you want to soak up every moment of this life changing event, the pain and the chaos of a busy delivery room could very well end up distracting you. That's why some moms make sure to take plenty of photos during delivery, even hiring a professional to do so. If you're intrigued by that idea and want to know how to find a birth photographer, there are some questions you'll want to make sure you ask before you hire anyone.
"The most important part of hiring a birth photographer is connecting with them. Birth is intimate, so you want to ask a few questions to get to know them and make sure you feel comfortable with them in your birth space," says Minnesota-based photographer Brooke Walsh, who's been doing birth sessions for a decade. In short, feeling at east together is essential. And it's true: A birth photography session isn't like any other shoot you've ever done. You may be in intense pain, you might be scared and nervous, and course, you'll be half naked, sweaty, and messy. That's why it's important to find the right photographer for the job. This person is going to witness one of the most amazing moments of your life, and they're going to see you at your most vulnerable.
These questions can include everything whether they've worked at your birthing location before, to whether they've been present for the kind of birth you're planning, explains Walsh. "Home, water, birth center, c-section, surrogate, etc."
You'll also want to go over with your photographer just how much you want captured. "I specifically ask about breastfeeding and crowning or surgical pictures and give them the choice to have them taken and kept private, have them taken and are fine with sharing, or not have them taken at all," says Walsh. "More and more women want to have these images to see the raw power and beauty of their bodies in this epic moment, I find."
Your medical team may also want a say in what your birth photographer is doing. During such a busy and potentially hectic time, Walsh says it's important that your photographer knows how to work the room. "I have the utmost respect for care providers at a birth. I always let them know that they can ask me to move out of the way if I am in the way. Sometimes I even joke they can shove me if we are getting close to the birth and all trying to find our spot."
Moms who had someone snapping pics in the delivery room for them say they absolutely cherish the photos. Lindsay Walters says it's the best money she ever spent. "Those are moments you will never get back and I love reliving them. You are in the moment and don't see all the details when it's going on so it's great to have another view." Walters said she got some pushback on hiring a birth photographer from people who found the idea "disgusting", but wouldn't change a thing about her experience. On the flip side, mom Shaina Kubissa says she wasn't comfortable with the idea of having a photographer present while giving birth, but now regrets skipping it. "Afterwards I understood it and wish I had pictures. If I was able to I'd do birth pictures over newborn pictures any day."
Though the idea of having a stranger in the delivery room may freak you out at first, it might be worth it to capture the memories of a lifetime. Walsh says birth photography is definitely becoming more common, and with good reason. "Almost everyone hires a professional to shoot their wedding. The birth of their child is just as important."
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.