Birth Photography Misconceptions (Part 2)

There are so many misconceptions about birth photography that I could go on all day! Let’s be honest, what first comes to mind when you think of birth photography? I’m pretty confident that any concern you’re thinking of is addressed in at least one of these 10 misconceptions. If you missed it, the first 5 misconceptions concerning birth photography are in this blog post, and you are currently reading the continuation (Part 2) of that blog post. So let’s dive right in and keep addressing all of these misconceptions!

Honest Misconception #6

6. Misconception: Birth photography is not worth it.

Myth Busted:

Do you have any images of yourself when you were first born? I have only ONE image of my mom holding me at the hospital on the day I was born, and I cherish it. In fact, I think it was probably taken the day after I was born. 🙂 Boy, would I love to have an emotive image of my mother looking at me for the first time.

Imagine having photos of your grandparents holding your mother or father for the first time! To be able to see the look of shock, surprise and love on their faces would be priceless. And think about this, what a gift to pass on to future generations! To be able to give your children that gift–a beautiful image of the first time you saw them, the first time you held them, the first time they entered the world.

My kids love to look at their birth photo albums and see how tiny they were on the day they were born. The love to hear the story of how they came to be. And when they grow up, I’m giving them a copy of those albums to keep and pass down to their children.

Birth photography captures emotions. It’s storytelling, and it’s something that only happens once. You will never regret hiring a birth photographer. But you might regret not hiring one!

A mother laying in a hospital bed is holding her baby for the first time. She has a calm look on her face with her eyes closed, taking in the moment. This is an amazing example of overcoming honest misconceptions about birth photography and shows how birth photography is beautiful and worth the investment.

Honest Misconception #7

7. I’m a modest person, and I don’t want a bunch of crowning images.

Myth Busted:

This is probably one of the biggest, most honest misconception about birth photography. When most people think of birth photography, they think of the crowning shot. Think about a wedding… When the officiant announces you an official pair, everyone thinks of the kiss. But there’s so much more than that! My favorite wedding images from my own wedding are not the first kiss, but the first look, the one of me walking down the aisle, the one of my husband and I laughing together, the one of my cousins dancing together and celebrating…and so many others.

It’s the same with birth photography. Some of your favorite images may be ones that you never expected to be your favorites! Maybe it’s your partner tearing up. Perhaps it’s your reaction and your “I did it!” facial expression. Maybe it’s your child meeting their new sibling for the first time!

At our consultation, we will go over the shots that you absolutely want and the ones that you don’t. In fact, many of my clients don’t want the crowning shot.

During delivery, I will be at your shoulders getting the first looks of baby as your provider hands them to you, unless you have other preferences.

A doctor is pulling a baby out and up onto it's mother's chest. This image is discrete and shows that honest misconceptions about birth photography are only misconceptions, and that birth photography can be discrete, without showing graphic and private parts.

Honest Misconception #8

8. Another misconception about birth photography is that any photographer can take my birth photos.

Myth Busted:

This one is tricky, because there is some truth to this. Yes, any professional photography might do a fantastic job; however, they may not have experience with some things that are very important in the birth setting. For example lighting is very difficult to maneuver. In hospitals, the lights are constantly changing, and when your baby is about to be born, often a doctor/midwife will shine an additional bright light on the baby, which makes a photographer need to constantly adjust their camera settings.

Babies love to come earthside in the middle of the night, so whether it’s a birth at home, a birth center or a hospital, a good understanding of low-light photography and the use of a bounce flash is an important ability that a professional birth photographer knows.

Also, knowledge of birth stages, and birth etiquette is important to be aware of. A professional birth photographer knows how to act when emergencies arise and how to document in a discrete way to help with emotional processing and healing down the road.

Professional birth photographers also specialize in skills such as knowing when to arrive, what images to take that tell a story and how to be quick to capture emotions. (Think fast/high shutter speed!)

This image, an example of overcoming honest misconceptions about birth photography, shows a mother holding her baby after undergoing a c-section birth at EvergreenHealth Maternity Center in Kirkland, WA. This image was taken by Seattle birth photographer, Becky Langseth.

Honest Misconception #9

9. I’m having a scheduled c-section, so I don’t need a birth photographer.

Myth Busted:

This is another major honest misconception about birth photography. Cesarian births are births nonetheless. A child is born, even if they come out via an incision. More and more hospitals are allowing birth photographer into the OR, and from what I am learning, it often comes down to the anesthesiologist on duty.

A couple of things you can do in advance is to advocate for yourself, and talk to your provider at your OB appointments about your desire for a birth photographer, regardless of a scheduled c-section or an emergency c-section. Ultimately, you are the customer, and you are paying for the service that your doctor and hospital provide. There is really no reason that a birth photographer should not be allowed in the OR. You can share that a professional birth photographer is completely compliant in the OR, and always sits/stands where they are told. Honestly, any photos in the OR are better than no photos, no matter the angle.

Most hospitals in the Seattle area currently are allowing 2 support people + a doula (as of September 2022). Cesarean clients have just as much rights to support no matter their birth choices. Additionally, if you want to press further, you can require for an ethics consult to have some help navigating that conversation without hostility!

All this being said, even if your birth photographer is unable to join you in the OR, birth photos before and after your c-section are priceless, as seen in the c-section birth below:

Honest Misconception #10

10. The final birth photography misconception is that your birth photos will be posted all over the internet and social media.

Myth Busted:

I get it. Honestly, I really do. I only post birth images with permission. Your do NOT have to share any of your images if you wish to keep them private. These images are for you! They are memories of a moment in time when you welcomed your little one into this world. And as much as I love to share and advocate for the power and beauty of birth, I do not do so, unless I have your permission. However, I do believe that it’s important to normalize birth, birth photography and the beauty of birth, so I may ask you about specific images to share. And then you have the absolute freedom and authority to say yes or no, because I always respect your privacy. All the images on my website and blog have been posted with permission.

A brand new dad leans over a hospital bed to kiss his wife who is holding their newly born baby at Overlake Childbirth Center. This beautiful image is an example of overcoming honest misconceptions about birth photography and shows the emotions and power of birth photography, captured by Becky Langseth, Seattle birth photographer.

Once again, these birth photography misconceptions are just that–misconceptions.

Birth photography IS worth it. Birth photography is NOT just about crowning images, but so much more. It’s the storytelling, the details, and the first moment you hold and meet your child. A professional birth photographer is invaluable, because they specialize in low-lighting, knowledge of the birth process/birth etiquette, in addition to being a professional photographer. Cesarian births are births too, and deserve to be documented. And if you choose to not share any of your images publicly, you can choose a birth photographer who will respect your desires to remain private. Like I said, these previous understandings are all misconceptions about birth photography!

If you haven’t read my blog post on the first five Honest Misconceptions About Birth Photography (Part 1), here’s a little recap: 1. You will look beautiful in your birth photos 2. You can afford birth photography 3. Birth photography is not gross; it’s amazing, and you can talk with your birth photographer about your preferences 4. Your partner has freedom be fully present and experience your birth when you hire a birth photographer 5. And your birth photographer will be a quiet & respectful presence at your birth, just like all other birth workers involved.

Want to schedule a call?

Fill out my form to start the process/check availability in my calendar for your estimated due date! (I take on a limited number of births each month.) We will meet for a no-pressure consultation either in-person or via zoom to see if we are a good fit! And if not, I’m connected to several other local Seattle professional birth photographers that I can confidently recommend.

If you are located somewhere other than Seattle and the greater Puget Sound area, check out the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP) to find a birth photographer near you!

Still not sure you want a birth birth photographer? That’s okay! I also offer newborn photography.

  1. Molly says:

    I would have LOVED to have images like these from when my twins were born. As a mama who received an emergency c – just knowing I could have portraits before/after surgery would be so incredibly worth it. Reading about these common misconceptions surrounding birth photography was really helpful!

  2. What a great article! You really opened my eyes to the possibilities of having an experienced birth photographer!

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