Anchorage, Alaska Birth Photographer - Moss and Myrrh Photography
Birth photography is still fairly new to the game, in the photography world that is. Until recently, not many had heard of birth photography, let alone considered having their birth professionally photographed. With that comes a lot of confusion as to when to book, what to expect, and how everything works in general. I'm hoping this blog post will help some of you that are on the fence, some of you that have no clue when you need to book, and some of you that have literally no clue as to what to birth photography even is.
These answers are coming from MY business model and my experience as a birth photographer, I'm not speaking for anyone else in this genre of photography.
What is birth photography? How does it work?
I think the term "birth photography" is pretty self explanatory. It's your birth, photographed. I capture your emotions, the steps leading up to the birth of your baby, the moment your baby arrives, and the most important bond you'll ever create between another human being and yourself. Your birth will go SO fast. You think you'll remember every little detail, including the face of your child the first time you see them, but you won't. Eventually, memories fade and you'll forget every detail you swore you'd remember for the rest of your life. Birth photography documents that for you. You'll forever have portraits to remember the birth of your child.
One question I get over and over.."Do you take *those* pictures"? You know..straight on in places you surely don't want photographed? NO! Lol! And if you come across a birth photographer that can't artistically photograph your birth without *those* pictures, run for the hills! Birth photography is an art. It's real emotions, real pain, and real joy. I strategically maneuver myself the majority of your birth (at least for active pushing), and nothing is seen that you don't want to be seen. So, no, none of *those* pictures. Ha!
How it works.
1.) Pre Consult. This is hands down the MOST important part of our relationship. Yes, we'll have one of those, a relationship. Birth photography is intimate. I'm seeing a MAJOR moment in your life, something only a handful of people will see. I want you to like me, I want to be a good fit for you, and I need to mesh well with you. The last thing you want is someone you can't stand being with you during the most intense moments of your life. At your pre consult we'll go over where you're birthing, what to expect, when I arrive, when I leave, but mostly..we just talk. I want to get to know you and I want you to know me. Sometimes at pre consults you can just tell we won't mesh well. That's no ones fault, really. Some people just don't mesh! In that case, I'll refer you to another photographer who can give you amazing portraits as well.
WARNING: I keep my birth clients forever and ever. Lol! But seriously. I'd say there's a 9/10 chance you'll forever be a part of my life in some way. So, unless you're ready for random coffee chats and texts long after your baby is born, you might not want to book me. Ha!
2.) Contract. Once we've both decided we'll work happily together, you'll be sent a contract with an invoice attached for your birth. PLEASE read your contract. It goes over everything we went over at your pre consult, but it legally protects both of us. I will not book your due date without a signed contract. Your invoice will be for your retainer required to hold your due date. Basically, this is to be sure that you're serious. There won't be any last minute backing out. Due to the nature of birth photography, I don't book more than one birth per month. So, if you were to back out, I'm out of money..out of paying my bills and feeding my fur kids (and they're fat, they need money!). Your retainer goes towards the package of your choice. You'll pay the remainder of your session fee 2 weeks before your due date.
3.) On Call. I'm on call for your birth 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your due date. That's an entire month of being on call! Once you hit 38 weeks, you'll pay the remainder of your session fee and we'll be set, just waiting on your little to make their arrival. This can be a stressful time for you, especially if your baby is taking their sweet time showing up. At your pre consult we'll discuss this, but it's absolutely necessary you have someone who can contact me once labor begins. Whether that's Dad, Grandma, or your Doula, someone needs to keep me updated. Usually Dad will shoot me a text (you will have THE most annoying ringtone known to man on my phone, so I won't miss it!) so I know to get ready. Don't worry if it's 2 am, seriously, I'm used to it.
4.) Labor. FINALLY, your baby is coming! This is when everything you've planned for is happening, quickly. Every birth is different, every person is different, so gauging when I'm going to come will be different for everyone. As a general rule, I try to wait until you're about 5/6 cm dilated, depending on how fast you're progressing. I'll be documenting your pain, fear, excitement, and joy when you hold your baby for the first time. Relax, live in the moment, and forget about getting those cell phone shots. I'm here so you can be present right now.
5.) After. Your contract will state that I stay a maximum of 2 hours after your baby is born. This is usually enough time to capture the bond between you as a family as well as photograph your baby getting their measurements and weight.
6.) The Wait. This is the hardest part, the wait. I do my best to get your birth edited and your proofs sent to the lab as quickly as possible. Depending on how busy I am, we usually schedule your viewing appointment around 2 weeks after baby is born. This is when we'll watch your birth story slideshow, ooooh and ahhh over your proofs, and discuss any additional orders you'd like to make (nothing is required, though).
What is included in the birth story fee?
You'll receive a minimum of 70 images with print release on a beautiful wooden USB. You'll also receive 4x6 proofs in a handmade wood proof box of each image included on your USB.
You'll also receive a discount off any additional product purchases, including birth announcements
Are all pictures in black and white?
This really depends on the light or lack thereof. Generally, I'm able to give you both color and black and white images.
When should I book my due date?
I encourage all clients to book their due dates within the beginning of the second trimester. Due to only booking 1 birth per month, availability is limited.
Are there any package options?
I do offer discounts for booking multiple sessions. Birth stories have an option to add on a newborn session. Any additional sessions will receive $100 off the session fee.
How far do you offer your services?
At this time I offer birth photography services to Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, and Wasilla. Traveling for births is an option though, so if you're out of the state and would like to book me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing information.
Are you part of any professional organizations?
Yes, I'm a proud member of the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers as well as Professional Photographers of America. My business and my photography are anything but a hobby. This is my livelihood and what feeds my soul.
Have more questions?
Let's get you booked for a pre consult!