I will try my best to answer the most frequently questions asked here but if there is something I have missed, please contact me. Also know that I request that we meet prior to the birth. This allows us to talk everything over and for you to become more comfortable with having me in the birth room.
Why birth photography?
Why not? It's a life changing event. It cannot be recreated. It's also a lot like a wedding in the respect that it goes by so fast, that a person misses most of the details and moments that they would like to remember. And think about this, most parents take pictures throughout their baby's childhood. Doesn't it make sense to start from the very beginning?
I am nervous about having another person in the room. My husband I want this to be a private and personal experience. What can you tell me?
I get that and sincerely respect this wish. This is why it is important to meet prior to birth. This will allow you to decide if you feel comfortable with me. I'd like to think that I am friendly and easy going, but sometimes not all personalities mesh. You may also find out that after talking, a different approach would be preferable.
But I can assure you that I will be very discreet and unobtrusive. Think of me as a fly on the wall...just with a camera. I will follow your lead as far as how much interaction you want during delivery. If you are want to talk with me, that is great but I will not attempt to make idle chit chat. I usually leave the room during exams and will also try to give you and your birth partner as much time alone as possible. At a certain point, due to the contractions and all the other activity going on, you probably won't even notice me there.
If the idea of birth photography is still too overwhelming, you may want to consider doing just a "First 48" session. More information about it can be found under 'Pricing & Packages'.
Should I get the approval from my doctor or midwife about having photographer present?
Yes, please. While birth photographers are actually guests of a hospital patient, it is still best to let your medical provider know ahead of time your plans, especially if you are having a scheduled c-section. Your doctor should inform you of hospital policy regarding photography (and be sure to stress just photography - not video). If only one support person is allowed during the c-section, ask if an exception can be made. It is your responsibility to make sure your doctor and hospital or midwife will allow photography during your labor and delivery. Please do this before booking.
Will you shoot births at home or in a birth center?
Absolutely! These can be some of the most amazing birth stories and images. So whether it is at a hospital, birth center, or home, it makes no difference to me.
What if I need an emergency c-section?
As with all births, everyone needs to be flexible with their plans and expectations. Policies can vary between hospitals and even with each doctor as to how many will be allowed into the operating room. As listed above, you should discuss this with your medical provider ahead of time. In the event that I am not allowed into the room, I can either give your support person a camera if they want or I will do my best to still capture your birth story, as it is more than just the actual delivery. Some people think that just because they are having a c-section, there isn't much to capture. On the contrary! While a mom is being prepped or is recovering, she can miss out on some of the best moments. She may also be pretty groggy and as a result, won't remember the moments she is present for. All good reasons for having a birth photographer.
When should I book my "birth session"?
I only take on a limited number of births for each month so the chances of missing a birth are limited. Reserve your spot as early as you can. A non-refundable "hold the date" booking fee is required.
When do you come and how long do you stay?
Each situation can be different but if giving birth in Mankato, I will request that you call me when you are around 4-5 centimeters, although I would certainly appreciate a heads up when you decide to go to the hospital. It helps lessens the chances of a missed birth. If the place of birth is outside of the Mankato area, I should be called as soon as you and/or your midwife determine active labor. Please know that I would rather get a couple of false alarm calls than miss a birth, so call when you want to. And no matter how long your delivery takes, I am in it for the long haul with you. That's why birth photographers typically charge a fee versus charging by the hour. (No labor should be dictated by someone else's time clock.) I will stay about 2-3 hours after the birth in order to get images of the newborn happenings. If you would like pictures of siblings or other family members first meeting the baby, we can discuss that.
What if I go into labor in the middle of the night?
As a birth photographer, I expect this. So do not hesitate to call at any time, like I said in the previous answer, I'd rather get a couple of false alarm calls than miss a birth.
What if you don't make it on time?
This is always the possibility. However, if I unable to attend your birth due to no fault of my own (for example: not given the recommended proper notice from client, it was a very rapid birth, the hospital or birth center won't allow me admittance, etc.) your booking fee will not be refunded. In this case, a First 48 will be available to you if desired. Since each situation is different, be assured that I will work with you and the situation. If I am severely ill or if I need to deal with a personal situation/emergency, your booking fee will be refunded.
What happens if you have two clients in labor at the same time?
If this were to happen, preference would be given to the client who called first saying that they were in labor. If the second client's birth has been completely missed, the booking fee will be returned and a complimentary First 48 session will be given. If both births are at the same location, it still may be possible to capture both.
Will the images be in color or black & white and how many can I expect?
I typically take all pictures in color and then process each image into black & white. I feel this makes the images more powerful and the story being told is clearer without distraction of color, especially in this situation where some of the harsher realities of birth are subdued. As far as the number of images you can expect, it can vary due to factors like length of labor, lighting conditions, lack of space, etc. Also I always shoot more than you see because I quickly eliminate any blinks and excessive blurs. With all that being said, you can expect somewhere between 100-200 images. Regardless of the the exact number, I will do my best to make sure they tell your birth story.
Will I have any control over the images posted on your portfolio and/or blog?
Yes, while I do reserve the right to use images for display, publication, or other purposes, I will honor any requests for not using certain images. With every birth package you will receive printing rights that will allow you to reprint images for personal use. You still may not sell these images or use them for any commercial use without my written approval.
What if I change my mind after booking?
Your comfort and well-being is of great concern of mine, moreover than even getting the images. I do not want anything that I may do interfere with a positive and healthy birth experience. So if you decide at the last minute you do not want me in the room, it will not hurt my feelings. I understand. Nevertheless, the initial booking deposit is non-refundable.
How far will you travel?
I will travel up to 30 miles outside of Mankato. Other locations are open for discussion and an additional charge for mileage. Also please keep in mind that the further the distance, the greater the chance I could miss the birth especially (in winter months).
When will I receive my images and the products in my package?
Expect about 4-6 weeks to receive access to images. While my goal is always to have them done sooner, life sometimes gets in the way. I will let you know when your password protected gallery of images is ready. This gallery can be shared if you decide to share the password. Ordering is also available through the gallery for family and friends.
If ordering albums, prints, or other special products, please expect more time which is dependent on image selection (yours) and the product company from which ordering from.
If you choose, I can post or email a couple of low-resolution, watermarked images. Any images posted to my website, blog, and Facebook will be family-friendly.
Why is birth photography priced the way it is?
I think this blog post by Nicole Noelle Photography of Woodlands, Texas says it better than I ever could, especially her the quote from Lexia Frank.
What if something, heaven forbid, doesn't go right during labor and delivery?
While no one wants to think about, this is something that we need to touch on during our meeting. Sometimes having images can help when trying to process a traumatic birth experience. The type of emergency will also dictate the situation - if I'm in the way or if staff doesn't want pictures taken or if it just doesn't seem appropriate, I will adjust accordingly.