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April 5, 2021

Why Birth Photography Costs So Much

baby and mom after birth, baby holding mom's finger, mom kissing baby's head full of hair

I’m aware that I’m probably the 532nd birth photographer to write a blog post about why birth photography costs so much. And as much as I don’t want to write things that are already available elsewhere on the internet, I do think this is something worth discussing so here I am. I want to shed light on why birth photography might be deemed “pricey.” So let’s break down what’s included when you hire a birth photographer:

My on-call time

Starting at the 38 week mark and continuing until your sweet babe arrives, I am on-call 24/7 for you! That means I don’t go out of town, I’m have my camera bag ready to go, I keep my car filled with gas, and I keep my phone next to me and on loud all the time, even at night. It can also mean that I miss important family days: birthday celebrations, holidays, first days of school, etc. It’s hard and it’s a lifestyle and it’s not for everyone. Sometimes I think it’s not for me, but as soon as I arrive at a birth, all that melts away and I realize why I do this work.

My unlimited time at your birth

Some birth photographers offer X amount of hours for X amount of dollars with the potential of charging hourly past that. While that works well for lots of people and there is a lot of validity in why they do it, it’s just not for me. I have made the decision to charge a flat fee for unlimited hours at your birth. The way I try to avoid being at a birth for many many hours or days is doing my best to time my arrival well. This leads right into reason #3…

My experience and knowledge of birth

My knowledge and understanding of birth is KEY to my success as a birth photographer. When I started photographing births, I’d done tons of research on all types of birth as well as having my first baby. Since then, I’ve become a certified doula and learned tons from my experience attending 40+ births. When I hired the LJP associate photographers, we went through a training with a local doula to be sure that they felt confident and could be supportive in all types of birth spaces. I’d say this is the number one piece of advice I give to new birth photographers: MAKE SURE YOU KNOW BIRTH WELL!

My experience and knowledge of photography

This one may be obvious, but photography knowledge and experience is also very important. Photographing a birth can be difficult as many times, women birth in the middle of the night or in a dimly lit room. Navigating low light is one of the hardest things to master as a photographer – ask any wedding photographer about shooting a nighttime reception. I’ve learned a lot over the years and have passed on my knowledge to my associates so that we are all confident shooting in many different lighting situations. That said, we also talk with our clients beforehand about potentially needing to turn on a light or two during your labor.

My editing time

After you give birth to your baby, I then go home and spend many hours culling and editing your photos. This can actually be so fun for me because I get to re-live the little moments and every birth is just so special and unique. But I want to acknowledge the time I put into this. I look through EVERY image (usually hundreds) and hand pick, carefully edit, and deliver a beautiful gallery to you.

So when you’re considering hiring a birth photographer and you find yourself having sticker shock, think through all the reasons why we charge what we do.

I absolutely ADORE this work – it’s not just a job, it’s a calling and a passion for me. And in order for me to continue to do it and avoid burnout, I need to be sure I’m making a living wage and being paid for my dedication and time. Now that all that money talk is out of the way, let’s get your due date on my calendar so I can capture your memories! I can’t wait!!

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