"Why birth photography?" This is the question I am asked the most when I talk to people about my passion for this type of photography. Birth photography is a rapidly growing field because of the incredibly powerful, emotional, and meaningful photos it produces; but many people still aren't familiar with what it is and how it works. In these FAQs I hope to answer any questions you may have about birth photography; but if I've missed something please feel free to contact me so we can chat!
Why should I hire a birth photographer?
When asked what the best day of their life has been, any mother or father would answer: the day they got married and the day that their child was born. We don't think twice about hiring a wedding photographer because that is such a monumental day -- so why should the birth of a child be any different? I'd say that's a pretty monumental day as well!
Hiring a birth photographer frees up your partner or support person to focus on their most important job for that day - to be there for you, to encourage you, to bring you ice chips, to hold your hand. They've got quite a lot of duties during labor and delivery -- don't give them the added stress of trying to handle a camera too.
A professional birth photographer has the expertise and the equipment to be able to work in tight quarters and with tricky lighting in order to capture all of the details and fleeting moments of the day. The end result will be your child's birth story told in beautiful, touching, high-quality images. You won't have to worry about missing out on anything -- it will all be there for you to look back on afterwards and share with your children as they grow up. Each family is unique and each birth has a story behind it. It would be an honor for me to be there to document yours. I promise you will never regret having those moments captured.
How much does birth photography cost?
I am now booking for births with due dates in 2022. My current rate for births is $900. This rate is good for births occurring within a 30 mile radius of Jackson. This is a flat rate so all photos and unlimited hours of coverage are covered with this one fee. You will not pay extra for anything listed in the package. I do offer an optional add-on of a 2-minute birth story highlight slideshow for $50.
What are my payment options?
In order to reserve a due date on my calendar, I require half of the fee to be paid upon booking with the remainder due four weeks prior to due date. The remainder can be paid all at once at that time or can be set up to be paid in installments over the course of the pregnancy, to be paid in full by four weeks prior to due date. I take all major credit cards and also offer gift certificates. In fact, I have had a number of clients add me as one of their "registries" for baby showers so friends and family can help pay for the birth photography service!
When should I book with you?
Because of the need for me to be on call beginning two weeks prior to your due date, I ask that you book as early as possible in your pregnancy so that I can be sure to have a clear calendar during the time I'll need to be on call for you.
How far will you travel for a birth?
My coverage area includes Jackson and surrounding areas, Memphis, and Nashville. My travel rate is an additional $50/hour for travel outside of Jackson.
How, um, "graphic" will my photos be?
This, no doubt, crosses everyone's mind when considering birth photography. I will never be unnecessarily "all up in your business" but I am up for capturing whatever you want me to. We will discuss your preferred level of modesty prior to your due date. For the most part I will be positioned behind your shoulder to document the moment of birth from your perspective. I've found this is an ideal vantage point for capturing both baby's first breaths as well as your and your partner's first reactions.
When should I inform my doctor about you?
I encourage you to discuss your plans to have a birth photographer present during labor and delivery as early on as possible with your doctor so there are no surprises on the day of. If they or any of the other staff do not want their faces shown in photos, I can certainly work around that. In addition, if they have any other concerns about my being present, I will be happy to speak with them and answer any questions they may have.
What is hospital policy regarding photography in the delivery room?
Jackson-Madison County General does allow photography in the delivery rooms. Both hospitals have a limit of two people allowed in the delivery room and the photographer counts as one of them so if you will want more than one other support person in the room we will need to do some switching out throughout the day. Obviously you will want me in there to capture the actual birth so you will need to decide which other support person will also be in there during that time. As far as hospitals in other surrounding areas, Memphis, or Nashville, it will be your responsibility to inquire as to what their policies allow.
When should I call you if I go into labor?
As soon as you feel ANY changes at all, please give me a heads up! I cannot stress the importance of this enough. It is always better to err on the side of telling me way too early than to tell me too late. I have two young sons I may need to find care for and may need to move around my schedule. With that being said, I will head to your place of birth when you are in active labor. Please designate a support person to stay in contact with me and keep me updated on where you are in labor. When you are about 6 cm dilated, that is generally a good time for me to join you. This is not a fail-proof rule, but staying in constant communication is the best way to ensure I get there in time for your birth, while at the same time not hovering around you needlessly and making you feel like a watched pot. We will discuss this more at our pre-birth meeting, which I typically try to schedule about four weeks prior to your due date.
Will you be interacting with us at all during labor?
We will be in regular contact in the months leading up to your birth to establish a relationship so that you do not feel as if there is a stranger in the room during labor. And if, on the day, we are playing a waiting game in the delivery room I do like to chat with you and offer little encouragements while taking advantage of the downtime to photograph details around the room. I like to maintain a positive vibe in the delivery room so I will certainly not be sitting there like a bump on a log. However, when it comes down to time to push, my goal is for you to not even notice me. Your partner's and the medical staff's voices are the only ones you will hear because I do not want to intrude or interrupt anyone and also because I will be focused on the job at hand.
What if my birth takes a really long time?
The birth of my first son took 32 hours so I certainly know how that feels and I would never want you to worry about paying for extra hours. My birth photography package includes unlimited hours so I'm with you from about 6 cm on! I do reserve the right to take breaks periodically during down times in the day while remaining close by.
What if I have a C-section?
If you know in advance that you will be having a C-section, I encourage you to speak with your doctor beforehand to advocate having me in the OR with you. Every hospital's policies are different regarding photography in the OR, but your voice carries a great deal more weight than mine would when asking to have me present. You can let them know that I have been in the OR for multiple C-sections and know the rules and protocol. I will say, however, I have attended C-sections where I was not allowed in the OR and was still able to capture memorable moments that the families treasure, including family visiting prior to surgery, all the prep for the surgery, family waiting anxiously in the waiting room and their reactions when they receive news of baby's arrival, dad's first cuddles with baby in recovery, mom's first bonding time once she joins them, older sibling(s) first time meeting baby, and family coming in to ooh and ahh :) I'm also always happy to edit any pictures Dad takes in the OR and insert them in with mine to complete the birth story.
How long do you stay after the birth?
Each birth is different but I usually stay 1-2 hours after to capture those first snuggles, brand new baby details, and the family meeting baby for the first time. If the birth occurs in the middle of the night and older siblings or other close family members are not able to be there at that time, I am happy to try to coordinate to come back the next day to capture those special moments!
How many and what types of images can I expect to receive?
I typically deliver anywhere from 250-500 images depending on the length and circumstances of labor, with most clients receiving about 300-400. Images will be delivered in jpeg format on a USB drive for long-term storage. See my Birth Story videos for examples of images - these include just a fraction of the total images from these births but will give you an idea of how birth photography can tell the story of your child's birth.
Will my images be in color or black and white?
I prefer black and white images for births because they create a timeless effect and also because the "colors" of birth and the lighting are not always very attractive. Therefore, most images will be in black and white. However, if there are certain images where the colors are important these will be in color as well as some of the images of your sweet newborn.
Do you use flash during a birth?
I prefer to use available light for births in general, although I do always have a flash on hand should it become absolutely necessary. Because flash photography can be so distracting and I never want to use it in a new baby's eyes, I will do everything in my power to avoid using it by simply opening a shade or turning up other lights in the room. I usually do not want to interrupt labor to ask permission to turn lights up but if, at any time, you want them turned down I will certainly oblige -- although you should be aware that extremely low light will affect the quality of your photos.
Will you use my photos for marketing purposes?
Because birth photography is still unfamiliar to some people, sharing beautiful examples of this type of photography is a great way to make it more commonplace. In addition, having these images in my portfolio helps future parents who are considering hiring me for their births. However, only modest photos will ever be shared and you will be consulted before I post anything. If you do feel very strongly against having any posted at all, please let me know and I will certainly respect your wishes.
Do you offer gift certificates?
Absolutely! What an awesome gift for expecting parents to receive coverage from a professional photographer at their birth. I have even had clients add me as a "registry" for their baby showers so friends and family can help pay for the birth photography service! Please contact me for more information.
Do you do other types of photography?
Yes! I also love newborn and family photography. Being able to follow my families growing through the years is such a beautiful honor. See my Birth and Beyond page for more details.
Check out what past clients are saying about their experience with birth photography by Grasshopper Studios...
"Our experience with the sweet and talented Emily was exceptional and amazing. She's such a wonderful person in general, and her work is beautiful. The memories she captured from our birth will be cherished for a lifetime."
- Whitney Wright, 2014 Birth Client
"I highly recommend Emily to anyone in the Jackson area looking for a birth photographer. Having Emily there allowed me and Ian to be 100% in the moment and never worry about taking a photo... I was able to be in labor, and be a mom, and enjoy those first moments of life and not worry about what photos were being taken. To me, that's absolutely priceless. The photos mean the world to me. They show the true love story of me and Ian and the day we became parents."
- Starla Holl, 2015 Birth Client
"I have fallen in love all over again with my precious little family thanks to Emily Taylor, the owner of Grasshopper Studios, who was able to capture such a monumental time in our lives! I would highly recommend anyone that is pregnant or plans to have a family in the future to consider having a birth photographer! It is definitely an investment you will not regret!"
- Kaeli Powell, 2015 Birth Client