Twin Cities birth photographer Gwendolyn Waite shares the beginner’s guide to birth photography today on the blog.  Her gorgeous work in the birth photography field makes her the perfect candidate for sharing how to get the gig, how to photograph the gig, and how to avoid making common mistakes you might make during the gig.


Birth photography. You mention it people, and they either get it, or they don’t. Some people will you all kinds of crazy. Birth photography is certainly not everybody. But for those folks who do choose to document their in photos and who appreciate the art, beauty, and storytelling birth photography - these images will be their most cherished. ones they run to rescue from a fire. The ones that generations. The ones that bring tears to their eyes. Every. Single.Time. Time.

Having been on both ends of the during the birth process, I can tell you how incredibly these images are to a family. I only have a couple snapshots from oldest kids’ births, but they are still the most amazing, photos of two of the most important days of my life. However, I give anything to go back in time and have a birth photographer our story of those days. All those tiny details I will never be to remember, that were lost in the momentum of the day. When I pregnant with my third child, I knew that I had to document the of his birth more completely. Hiring a birth photographer is one the best decisions I have ever made. Ever. the best decisions I have ever made. Ever.

So why would a family choose to hire birth photographer, instead of having a family member snap away? Simple. A birth photographer will capture all those little that will otherwise be forgotten. The look of relief on mom’s when she’s made it through another contraction. The clock two in, seven hours in. Grandma, waiting patiently in the hallway. A of support on mom’s shoulder. Dad’s face when he makes the phone call announcing the birth. All of those small moments would slip by, unnoticed. These photos, woven together, tell story of the birth day. story of the birth day.

A birth photographer will also free everybody else at the birth to support mom. After the baby is born, dad can focus all of his attention on mom and the baby, and those first incredible moments knowing that the story is captured. captured.


Some of you as photographers will drawn towards this type of documentary photography, but might not sure how to get going. Here are some tips about how to get started a birth photographer. a birth photographer.

  1. Know the birth process and out.

If you haven’ given birth, then talk to people who have. Read or listen to birth stories. Become familiar with the process so you’re not by surprise at the birth. by surprise at the birth.

  1. Start shooting.

Talk to you know, and tell them that you’re hoping to photograph a birth. Find a friend who is pregnant, and see if you can shoot her birth. Talk to a midwife or doula in town, see if they know anybody would like to have their birth photographed. Post a model call your blog, like this fabulous Philadelphia birth photographer did.Talk to people.

Talk to people.

Everywhere you go, mention that you would like photograph a birth. Someone’s up for the adventure. photograph a birth. Someone’s up for the adventure.

  1. Talk with the parents.

If you don’t the parents, meet them before the birth. Give them a chance to get know you a little bit. Nobody wants a total stranger at their birth. Even if you do know the parents, talk with them about what to expect. Let them know how you’ll turn into a fly on the wall at the birth. How you’ll capture the most incredible moments of their life making a big production. making a big production.

Discuss they want “the shot.” You know, the one. The crown glory. money shot. If they want you to photograph the baby crowning, it before the birth. it before the birth.

You don’t want to be asking permission to be in a laboring woman’s business between pushes. Trust me. in a laboring woman’s business between pushes. Trust me.

Show the some photos of another birth you have photographed, or better yet, slideshow set to music. Show them how beautiful these photos will be.Not graphic. Not intrusive. Simply extraordinary. Not graphic. Not intrusive. Simply extraordinary.

  1. Get a signed contract.

Birth is like no other photography out there. There’s no way to relive day if you don’t make it. And seriously, there are a million why you wouldn’t make the birth. The baby could come early. could be complications, and they might need to do a C-section. might be a very quick birth. You might not be able to get child for your kids. You might not be let into the hospital room. You to be covered legally in case you miss the birth. Get a rock- contract, and have your client sign it before the birth. in-between contractions. Before.  Here is one resource for a birth photography contract .


  1. Be prepared.

First of all, your camera. The lighting can be not only less than ideal, it can downright horrific. Know how to handle that. Things move really when the baby comes out and you don’t want to be fumbling around your camera settings. your camera settings.

Second, arrangements to reschedule your life when you’re called in for birth. That might involve child care, rescheduling photo shoots, changing appointments. You will be on call 24/7 for up to four weeks,possibly more. Be ready to drop everything. possibly more. Be ready to drop everything.


Stay tuned for part 2 of this guide from Gwendolyn Waite next week, nation!  And don’t forget to leave Gwendolyn some love, pretty please. 

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