Birth photography can be expensive and you may wonder why. After all, it’s just one day (or night) of shooting pictures. The truth is, it is much much more than that. A birth photographer has to first and foremost be dedicated. By this I mean, as birth photographer, I need to be on call day or night two weeks prior to your due date and 2 weeks after. We all know these babies have their own time table. Dedication means no family vacations and no late night parties with too much wine during this on-call time. It doesn’t matter if it is a holiday, my child’s first theater production or if my high school girlfriends pop into town unexpectedly. You are the priority. You have paid me to be on-call and on-call is what I will be.
All of that on-call time leads to one beautiful day (a day that can last 24+ hours). Afterwards, there is culling and then editing. It takes time. It’s much much more than just one day of “taking pictures”.
This isn’t a blog post about the sacrifice it requires to be a birth photographer, but the value of the service I provide. If photographing the birth of your child is not of value to you, then it wouldn’t matter what I charge. However; I do find that educating people on what birth photography is goes a long way in adding value. Birth photography is real moments, real people bringing a beautiful child earthside. It isn’t a bunch of pictures of “icky stuff”. These images are your moments, moments you may not even remember happening, that help you relive that glorious day years down the road.
In a way it seems odd to me to put a price on birth photography and early on I felt sheepish when I quoted prices. Perhaps I felt this way when people looked at me and gasped birth photography? Are you serious? I felt their anxiety and didn’t stand behind what I felt was the most important photographic experience of a persons life. I crumbled, didn’t educate, and slunk off to my own little happy place.
I am not sure what exactly changed inside of me or when it changed, but I came to a point where I realized I was worth it. I value what I do and I am good at it. I see no shame in saying that. I also realize that this is what I was put on earth to do, but I was also put on this earth to take care of and nurture my family and I could not do that, or do that well by making $10 an hour (after deducting equipment, taxes, education and so forth).
I started to value myself and this incredible service I offer. There will always be bargain shoppers, as a person and business owner I fully understand that. I, myself, look for bargains, but not on everything. Some things I want to invest in especially a luxury item. I am not saying those that are just starting out or who charge a lesser amount are not any good. I am saying that as an industry, birth photographers should know their value and the service they provide. I, as a mother and birth photographer, am here for you. I want you to be comfortable with me. I want you to feel secure knowing that I will capture your moments authentically, with respect for you and your birth space. I want you to know I am dedicated to this work. It’s not something I take lightly.