FAQ: Birth Photography

What’s your availability?

Due to the unpredictable nature birth and of being on call, I am only available to book 2-3 births per month. Therefore early booking is recommended. Contact me to inquire with your due date.

I’m afraid I will look awful and ugly. Why photograph that?

I’m in awe of the strength and courage of a birthing woman. This is not your perfect wedding day or your glamorous maternity shoot, this is the day you bring life forth. I’m not hoping to capture you in perfect makeup, but I am aiming to capture the deeper aspects of what makes you beautiful… the great lengths you will go through to bring your child into the world. I’m a woman and a mama, so I know to focus on more flattering angles. However, what I’m really after is to capture forever the tears, the elation, the tough work, the bond with your partner, the relief, the exhaustion, and the sheer joy of meeting your baby. Nothing could be more beautiful.

What about nudity? What exactly do you photograph?

Birth is a private and sacred event. I aim to honor that. When booking your birth photography, we will meet to discuss your expectations and parameters. Generally, my clients prefer all above the waist shots and modest nursing angles. Some might want the complete vaginal birth photographed. Others prefer I stand behind them only due to cultural or religious preferences. It is up to you. This is your birth experience. We can discuss what boundaries you would like to set. We can talk about what might be best to wear, and various  “what ifs”. My goal is to ensure you feel comfortable.

My privacy is important, what if I don’t want any photos shown online?

I totally understand. About half my clients choose not to share at all. I have a reputation to uphold in my business.  I would be covering your birth story for your memories, not for my portfolio. This is actually a very important question to ask when hiring a birth photographer as many are just starting out and need the images to build their portfolio. If you hire me, my portfolio is vast enough. My website, social media sites and advertising avenues do NOT use photos without family consent. The only exception to this is a completely unidentifiable image (ie: hands holding or a heart rate monitor or baby’s feet). Otherwise, every single image shared of your birth or any other session is done so with your permission.

If you give consent to share images, I also will not post online any images of your personal details or health history without blurring out it. (ie: hospital arm badges, medical charts, etc).

Wouldn’t it be weird to have a stranger in the room?

I’m a birth professional, just like other professionals that you might have in the room who might not be family: doctor, midwife, nurse, doula, etc. I like to meet up beforehand (see below) with all my prospective clients so we are not strangers and we have talked about your expectations. It’s critical that you feel I am a good fit for your birth team. If you haven’t already done so, learn a bit more about me here.

What if my partner is reluctant?

This is very common. I normally hear afterward, especially from dads, how they felt unsure about having a birth photographer but now they are so thrilled they hired me. Here’s a great letter from a dad with candor about how he felt beforehand. It’s important to me that both parents welcome my presence in the room. Often after meeting me at our consultation (read the next question), many reluctant partners feel much better. It gives them a chance to get a feel for me and have their concerns addressed.

Can we meet before the birth?

Absolutely! This is essential for both of us. If you are still undecided, I offer a free no-pressure initial consultation where we meet to discuss your questions, preferences, and expectations. We can meet at a local coffee shop. I will show you a sample compilation video and a portfolio of my work. Your partner is welcome as well. You can book then or later. It is best to arrange this consultation as early as possible to avoid lack of availability for your due date month.

I offer a mini-maternity session complimentary for all my birth clients. This enables us to continue to get to know each other before the big day.

What’s your style? Will you be posing us during our birth?

I use a photojournalistic style, meaning I’m capturing things as they unfold with no posing, no direction from me. That’s part of my specialty. You can just forget I am there. At the end of your birth, just as I am about to leave, I might ask if you want a quick shot of your new family looking at the camera. If you do, it will be 20 seconds or less.

Normally births happen at night or in dim rooms, so there is minimal light. Images might be grainier than usual but I think that adds to the authenticity of the event. We can discuss if you would be open to the use of flash for a few key photos, but I generally do not use it because it can be distracting.

My hospital is saying they will only allow a South African Birth Photographer’s Association photographer, do you qualify?

Yes! As the co-founder of the association, I qualify and adhere to our strict code of conduct developed with hospitals. It’s important when choosing a birth photographer, to consider if they are indeed a member.

What if my planned natural birth turns into a Caesarian?

Whether your birth goes better than planned or not at all what you expected, I will be there to discreetly document this momentous event. As a birth photographer, I am capturing the experience no matter how it unfolds. Some hospitals will not allow a photographer in theater, but I will be right outside ready to photograph your baby’s first moments, meeting other family, and the mother-baby reunion. Here’s an example of a birth like that. As a mother whose first birth experience resulted in an emergency Caesar, I cherish even more those photos of my daughter and my husband together while I was still in recovery. Those are moments I never even got to see personally. No matter how your birth turns out, I’ll make sure you have the memories beautifully documented.

Can I hire you for a planned Caesarian?

Yes! Of course. I would still be on-call for you as with any other birth, in the event that labour happens spontaneously.

Where are you available?

I am available primarily in Cape Town. Occasionally I am flown into Johannesburg births. I’m open to traveling as long as it’s near a major airport and we would need to discuss the specifics, contingency plans, etc.

When will I get my images?

High Resolution images on USB will be professionally edited and available in about 2-3 weeks.

Because I know you will be eager to show off your baby, 2-3 images of your newborn or new family will be available by email SAME DAY for you to share with friends & family.

What does it cost and include?

 See here for package details.

Do you charge by the hour?

On principle that a woman needs no outside pressure when she is in labor, I do not charge by the hour. The last thing you need is the feeling that you need to hurry up. If for some reason your labor is stalled and your midwife or doctor sends everyone home to rest and come back when things are progressing, I’ll do just that.  Birth photography is a premium service where you hire me for a set fee as your personal family photojournalist, to not be bothered by hourly billing.

When are you on-call for my birth?

Once you have booked me, I’m on call 10 days before your due date until you deliver. This means I have my phone on 24/7, petrol is always in the car, my bag is packed, my childcare is on standby, and I haven’t planned anything that can’t be canceled last minute. I’m essentially waiting for your baby to come! Christmas morning? Yep. That’s actually happened once.

When would you come and how long do you stay?

Every woman labors differently, some in less than an hour. Some take days. Call me as soon as you feel labor is imminent so I have ample notice to arrange my childcare. Then we can be in intermittent contact from there. I usually come while you are in active labor or several hours before the baby is born. Should you be delivering at a hospital, that’s usually around the time you are headed there. I am able to liaison with your midwife, doula, or birth partner on this while you are in labor so you don’t have to think about it.

Generally, I stay a couple of hours after your baby is born to capture all those first memories. These photos are often the most special for my clients. I then leave so everyone can get some rest.

If you are having a scheduled caesarean, I would join you at hospital reception upon check in and stay until two hours after your baby is born.

What happens if my baby needs to go to the NICU?

Once baby is stable, I am sometimes permitted to join a parent in the NICU to take photos. It will depend on how your child is doing at the discretion of the hospital staff. Alternatively, I can come back later for a NICU session.

Do you have a back-up photographer and gear?

Yes, you can rest assured if for whatever reason I can not attend your birth, I have a qualified South African Birth Photographer’s Association back up I can call in. In my years of covering births, I have never needed to call up on my back-up’s services but a plan is in place.

I shoot with quality professional gear and a back-up camera as well.

What if I’m interested in birth photography and another session (like maternity or newborn)?

You’re not alone. Most of my clients prefer this. Birth packages include a mini-maternity session complimentary. My Skin to Skin package includes a full newborn shoot as well so your story from pregnancy to new family is documented beautifully.

I have another question, not covered here. How do I contact you?

Please, I would hear from you. Here are my contact details.


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