Why should I hire a birth photographer?
Besides your wedding, having a baby is one of the biggest, most important days of your life. These are moments that simply can't be replaced and deserve to be documented in a way that preserves the beauty and importance of the occasion.
By hiring a professional, you are freeing your spouse to fully support you. It allows him to put down his cell phone or camera and be there for you. It includes him in the images themselves.
Not only that, but an experienced professional sees details that other people don't see. They have an ability to convey your story in ways you never thought you wanted, but will forever treasure.
How do the pictures themselves look?
In general, my goal is to photograph events as they happen. When your husband is holding your hand through an especially strong contraction, I want to focus on that connection. When your nurse is holding a cool cloth to your forehead, I want to show her compassion. I will capture a few frames of the ultrasound machine. The clock. Visitors who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of your little one.
I make every effort to avoid using flash and instead utilize the available light in the room. Many images are presented in black and white, as we find it to be classic, while still softens sometimes harsh lighting and the graphic nature of the actual birth.
Will you take pictures of my privates?
This is probably the most common question I have. There have been times that I’ve been positioned immediately to the doctor’s right during delivery. You can imagine that I had quite the view! It is amazing and beautiful and breathtaking to be able to watch a new life enter the world. With that being said, I can photograph your labor without showing any of your private parts. I can photograph the delivery itself without photographing your genital area. This is something we will discuss in greater detail.
Will I meet you before the big day?
Yes! I will invite you to my studio in Downtown Statesville so we can discuss your vision for the day. This will give us a chance to meet and make sure that we are a good fit. After all, I will be with you through some pretty emotional and incredibly personal moments; we need to make sure we connect with one another.
Do I need to talk to my doctor to see if he/she will allow a photographer?
Absolutely! It is your responsibility to make sure your doctor and hospital will allow photography during your labor and delivery. Your hospital or doctor may have strict policies on the number of people allowed in your room, and they may also have definitive policies regarding professional photographers. Please verify the official policies with your doctor and your hospital, which might differ from one another.
If you are have a scheduled c-section, it is possible that they will grant permission for your spouse and a photographer, but again, this is your responsibility to verify.
If your doctor/hospital does not allow permission during the actual delivery or in the OR, there are still lots and lots of opportunities to capture amazing moments and details. If you're in a c-section, I will stay as close as I'm allowed to capture your support person coming out to announce the birth, plus I'll be able to photograph your family as they anxiously await news. If you deliver in the room, and policies restrict me from photographing the actual delivery, I'll still be there before and immediately following the delivery.
Keep in mind that in the event of an emergency or any unforeseen circumstance, the safety of you and your baby are paramount. I will still stay nearby and will resume photographing as soon as I am allowed. As important as these photographs are, it is supremely more important that you and your baby are safe and well cared for, and ultimately, your doctor and nurses make all the final calls.
What if I go in to labor at 2 am? Will you be there?
Of course! I only commission a few births per year, which allows me much more flexibility than if I did multiple per week/month. I'll ask that you stay in touch with me as labor begins. I like to arrive when your labor is confirmed, you've been admitted to the hospital, and you're at about a 5-6 cm dilated. Since there's so much that's up in the air with birth photography, I do ask that you call in the early stages of your labor so that I can be prepared to leave as labor progresses.
As your due date draws near, I will make sure that all my batteries are charged, memory cards are cleared, and the camera bag is ready to go. As prepared as I can be, I will still need as much notice as possible when things start happening.
How long will you be with us?
There’s no real way to answer this accurately. Babies definitely come on their own time and each birth is different. I don’t put a time limit on how long I’ll be with you for the delivery. I generally stay about 60-90 minutes after delivery to document those first precious moments.
What if something does go wrong, what happens then?
This goes back to our discussion above – it really depends on your doctor and the hospital policies. I will do everything I can to capture everything I can, but ultimately, I will respect the instructions of your medical team. We will discuss your wishes in this regard, too. You’re your birth plan, we’ll have a birth photography plan. We need to discuss the what-ifs before hand, so that we will be as prepared as possible should the unthinkable occur.
How many images will you take?
That is something that is almost impossible to gauge. I will be shooting much of the time that I’m with you (but I also will be doing a lot of observing). Your final gallery will typically yield 100-150 edited images.
How long will it take to receive the images?
I will send you a few watermarked images within 1-2 days of delivery so that you can share them with friends and family. With your permission, it would be my pleasure to announce your baby’s arrival on my Facebook page and will tag you so that your friends and family will be able to see those, as well.
Your final gallery will be completed within 5-7 days. I will prepare your product selections for ordering and those are generally delivered in 1-2 weeks.
What are your fees?
Our birth photography session fee is $325. We require a $100 non-refundable retainer to secure our services. The balance is due by your 36th week of pregnancy.
We offer heirloom products such as fine art albums, Forever Keepsake Collections (image boxes with folio prints), Classic Keepsake Collections (image boxes with loose prints).
You can see our product pricing here. We are happy to offer interest free payment plans and we accept cash, check, credit/debit, and PayPal.
We recommend selecting one signature item prior to delivery so that I can prepare it for printing without having to bombard you with questions. The last thing you’ll want to do in the 2 days following the birth of your baby is weigh the attributes of an album versus a folio collection versus loose prints versus a disc of images!
Does my gallery have to be public/Do you have to share on Facebook?
Absolutely not. You have the final say on any images that are shared (or if you want no images shared at all). Should you decide to keep your gallery private, I will be happy to provide a password protected gallery.
It seems like it will be weird having a stranger in the delivery room.
I have had 4 babies! I’m a mom. I have been present for two of my grandchildren’s births, and I’ve have the honoring of photographing several. I’m not an expert, but I am comfortable with the birthing experience.
Over the last decade of being a professional photographer, I have had the pleasure of being with people during the most important an emotionally-charged moments of their lives. Births of babies, weddings, and even end-of-life sessions and memorial services. People trust me in their most vulnerable moments and I don’t take that lightly.
It’s unlikely that you’ll know the delivery staff at your hospital prior to admission, but you’ll likely trust them implicitly. I hope that you’ll put the same trust in me.
While I will physically be at the hospital for the duration, I’m not going to be “in your face” the entire time. I make a point to remain as unobtrusive as possible. I invite you to ask me to leave the room at any time and will only return upon your request.
Is it possible you might not make it before the baby is born?
Yes, it’s possible. As I mentioned above, I only take a very limited number of births per year. However, I am also a wedding photographer. There is a chance your baby could come on one of the Saturdays or rare Sundays that I have a wedding. In this case, I would make every effort to have a trusted, experienced photographer who would be willing to step in if available.
In the unlikely event that I would not be able to make it to you before the baby arrives, and that is not due to any fault of your own, and you have kept me updated on your labor progression, and I cannot provide you with another photographer, you will receive a full refund of any monies paid (including the retainer). Sheri Allison Photography is only liable for the amount in actual money paid.
What if I change my mind at the last minute and don’t want pictures?
That is no problem at all. However, your $100 retainer is non-refundable. Any payments made beyond the $100 will be refunded within 30 days of cancellation.