Stranger in the Delivery Room: Should You Hire a Birth Photographer?
In honor of my son’s first birthday last week, I decided to share his birth story on my blog. However, as I pored through photos taken on the day he was born, I found only a couple of good ones to illustrate my narrative. There were quite a few of me, still pregnant, smiling bravely from my hospital bed and a bunch of my minutes-old baby wrapped in a hospital blanket. But, disappointingly, there were hardly any documenting the actual labor and delivery.
In all fairness, my husband, who was the designated cameraman for the big event, is not the primary photographer in our family (I am) and not as experienced with our DSLR. He was less concerned about setting up the perfect shot than he was with comforting and coaching me and also didn’t want to witness the birth of his child through the viewfinder of a camera. My husband, bless him, wanted to be present in the moment instead.
So when I read a recent New York Times article about the rise in popularity of birth photographers, I began wondering if hiring one might be a better option for our next go-around in the delivery room. (And, no, I’m not pregnant!). Here are my reasons for and against using a professional photographer during childbirth:
* I would be guaranteed to have a set of photographs from my child’s birth that are not only in focus, but artful, too.
* A professional photographer can document the entire labor and delivery process, including the pushing, as well as capture my husband’s emotions and reactions.
* Assigning the photography duties to a professional would allow my husband to enjoy the experience rather than worrying about f-stops, ISO and focal points. (It would also mean I’d have one less thing to yell at him about during the birth.)
* Hiring a birth photographer can cost $1,000 or more, and their fee may not even include prints or an album. (PS: Insurance is not going to cover this expense!)
*There is no telling if, in the moment, having a stranger in the room snapping away is going to feel invasive. Would I start to feel self-conscious or would I forget she was even there?
*What would I do with all those photos? I only chose to share a few of the photos my husband took during my son’s birth with select people because they were of such an intimate moment, but if I invested in professional photographs, would I feel pressure to show them to everybody? Would I be obliged to put them in a coffee table photo album or in frames around the house?
Would you hire a birth photographer to document your childbirth experience? Why or why not?