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Professional Birth Photography?

By Rebekah Kuschmider |

I’m not exactly a prude. I majored in drama in college which meant lots of costume fittings and backstage changes in front of cast- and crew-mates. In my 20s, when I was much hotter than I am now, I did a stint working as a figure model for an art school to earn extra money. Even since I became a mom, I did a sexy boudoir photo shoot as a gift for my husband’s 35th birthday. And I breastfed in public like a champ. So, I can confidently say that my body issues are under control and, in appropriate circumstances, I’m not afraid of letting it all hang out.

But there is no freaking way I would allow a photographer in the room while I’m giving birth. Nope, no way, nosiree, not no how. I may be in a minority of pregnant women, some of whom are eager to bring professional photographers into the labor room with them.

I’ve written already about how I won’t be using social media to document my upcoming birth because I consider this a very intimate, family affair. I have the same knee-jerk reaction of “That’s private!” after reading a New York Times article about the rising popularity of having professional photographers document labor and delivery.

Apparently, birth photography is a growing specialty as demand for documentation of the experience of birth expands beyond the photographic capabilities of a birth partner or friend brought in to snap a few shots of the big event. It makes sense that if you’re going to have pictures of labor and delivery, they should at least be good pictures and not blurry camera-phone snaps more suited for Instragram updates than for framing and setting on the mantle. And birth is indisputably a transitional moment in anyone’s life, moreso even than a graduation or a wedding, events that are photographed extensively and without question.

Birth photography gets tricky because birth itself is tricky. Photographers can miss the big moment by not arriving fast enough, hospital rules can prohibit photography, or a delivery might not go as planned resulting in the photographer being excluded from the big moment. There’s also the cost factor: one photographer interviewed charges $700 for a first-time mom. Another mother said she spent over $1800 for birth photography.

I understand the impulse to record a baby’s first moments of life because they are fleeting and precious. I was just recently cooing over the poorly lit, blurry snaps of my son’s first bath in the hospital when he was only an hour old. There are also some very sweet photos of him asleep on my shoulder the next day. But do I wish there was a picture of me grimacing through contractions or being wheeled into the c-section room? No, I do not. The sweet, snuggly shots taken by my husband while we all bonded as a family after delivery are good enough for me.

What do you think about professional birth photos? Yay or nay?

Read more from Rebekah at Mom-in-a-Million, The DC MomsThe Broad Side
Follow Rebekah on Facebook and Twitter too!

Photo credit: photo stock

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About Rebekah Kuschmider

rebekahkuschmider

Rebekah Kuschmider

Rebekah Kuschmider is a writer and mother with an over-developed sense of irreverence, who has socialist tendencies and a blog. She lives with her husband and two kids outside of Washington, DC. You can read her work regularly at Stay At Home Pundit and The Broad Side. Her work has also been seen at Salon, Redbook, and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Rebekah Kuschmider's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “Professional Birth Photography?

  1. Katherine says:

    I’m 100% with you on this one! I’ve got my sister lined up to come in with my camera to document our older daughter meeting baby sister for the first time, helping w/ the new baby’s first bath, footprints etc. and that’s it. She’s good w/ a camera, but by no means a photographer, but I want it to be about my girls together for the first time, not about me giving birth, or going through contractions. Just no.

  2. Anna says:

    I wouldn’t change my decision to have birth photography for anything! My births were all at home, so no fighting with hospital personnel. Also, it’s important to understand, there typically aren’t crotch shots during birth photography, it’s tasteful. None of mine show any pink – haha! only those first precious moments of my daughter’s life and the entire family gathered around her. Precious moments I’m eternally grateful to have as a keepsake for a lifetime.

  3. Mindy says:

    I personally can’t afford “professinal photography” for my birth but I see nothing wrong with it. Like everything else, it’s a personal choice. It doesn’t make you weird to want it or not want it. However, I think some people get “birth photography” confused with the movie scenes of obnoxious husband sticking a video camera under the blanket while wife is in stir-ups. This is very far from the truth; professinal photos never include va-jay-jay shots. Chances are a photographer who has only met you a few times doesn’t want to see your stuff no more than you would want it photographed.

  4. Annie says:

    You can totally do it yourself and save a crap load of money. However, I am all for it and all for documenting every little minute of it all. I’m an over-sharer, an influencer, a people person. I love reading birth stories and looking at newborns. Bring it on. In fact, we made a little video of our last cherub’s birth and he is 2 years old today! Bring on the birth photos, but just do it yourself!

  5. Rebecca says:

    I think the previous poster may be missing the point of hiring a professional….most people take crappy, blurry, poorly exposed pictures at any time of day, let alone a dark hospital room or bedroom. Sure, go ahead and do it yourself & save a crapload of money. But the quality won’t be as good, that’s for sure.

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